Pexels

The internet has opened the doors to communication and education for many across the globe. Just by going online, you can learn a language or find out how to fix a simple problem with your car. You can even enroll in online courses to earn a degree from anywhere. Unfortunately, these programs still come with tuition costs — a barrier for many. However, there are now plenty of Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) that you can participate in free of charge. One of these platforms is Coursera.

Coursera hosts thousands of courses across various disciplines. They partner with universities around the world — including the Ivy League. They also partner with companies like Google and IBM for more technical courses. You can take as many classes as you want through Coursera at no charge. Want to study Constitutional Law with Yale? Or algorithms with Stanford? You can watch lectures, take notes, and chat with fellow students all for free and at your own pace. You can also access the entire course on any device you choose, making it easy to study anytime, anywhere.

Classes are structured mostly like a traditional college course. You'll have reading and possibly homework assignments each week as well as lectures to watch. Coursera operates on a sessions schedule, which allows students to communicate and discuss the course material more easily. There are weekly deadlines to keep students on track, but you have no deadline to complete the course. If you don't finish the class within one session, you can always re-enroll until you complete it.

However, unless you pay for a specific course or specialization, you won't be able to earn an official certificate that proves you took the course. Some courses won't allow you to get grading feedback unless you pay for it either. If you just want to learn something new on your own spare time, this won't be an issue. If you want to take the course to advance your career, you'll definitely need proof. To help with the funding gap, Coursera provides financial aid. If you're approved for aid, you'll have 180 days to complete the course. If you do not complete the course within that time period, you can re-apply.

If you want to go further than just one course at a time, you can also enroll in professional certificate programs or even earn a full degree. Coursera currently offers two kinds of certificate programs and four Master's degree programs. These tracks are mostly focused in business, management, accounting and computer science. These are offered in partnership with specific universities, making your degree just as valuable as those of students who enrolled on campus.

Coursera is a great resource to learn more anywhere you want. However, its course catalog can be limited in some fields. If you're looking for more classes in a specific subject area, take a look at MOOC-list.com. This website lets you search across various MOOC platforms by subject to find the classes you are most interested in.

PayPath
Follow Us on

Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

Keep reading Show less

Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

Keep reading Show less