Australians are turning to online courses in huge numbers to improve their working from home techniques and increase productivity, according to new data from LinkedIn.

With most Australians now working entirely from home and largely indoors due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many people are using this as an opportunity to learn a new skill or improve an existing one.

Others are also turning to virtual learning to gain the skills needed to carry on with their jobs despite the huge and ongoing upheaval.

The top courses viewed on LinkedIn Learn in the last month relate to working from home and using technology to communicate, such as through Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

LinkedIn Learn offers “personalised learning experiences and courses taught by real-world professionals”.

Australia’s top viewed course was on working remotely, which saw an increase of more than 10,000 percent in March compared to February. Coming in second was the time management: working from home course, which had views up by more than 7000 percent.

The third most popular course for the month was focused specifically on Microsoft Teams, which was completed more than 500 percent than in the previous month.

Other sought after courses included leading at a distance, Excel 2016 essential training, strategic thinking and project management foundations.

While most of the top 10 courses for March relate to working from home or software skills, a course on mindfulness practices came in at number eight, with an increase of more than 200 percent month-on-month. This shows that working remotely effectively isn’t just about having the right tech skills, but is also about ensuring you are looking after yourself.

Total time spent learning on LinkedIn Learn by Australians was up 15 percent in the last month compared to February.

In terms of job roles, sales had the greatest increase in the use of LinkedIn Learn in Australia with a rise of more than 50 percent, although every single profession saw an increase in March. Human resources positions used the service more than 40 percent more, while business development was up by 27 percent.

The increase in use went all the way from CEOs to lower level positions too. C-levels used the service more than 60 percent more than usual, while senior leaders were up 22 percent and recently promoted members were up by 19 percent.

In terms of industries, recreation and travel showed the greatest increase and was up more than 50 percent, closely followed by the consumer goods industry which saw a rise of more than 45 percent.

While still seeing an increase, engineering and finance showed the lowest jump in time spent viewing courses on LinkedIn Learn in March.

LinkedIn Learn is now offering nine free learning pathways to anyone. These include for job seekers to “help navigate career strategies in the job market”, for professionals to remain productive and efficient while working remotely, for educators to transition to teaching online and for talent acquisition professionals to adapt to the changing business landscape.

“Our personal and professional lives have been turned upside down by COVID-19,” LinkedIn Learn vice president of product management Hari Srinivasan said in a blog post.

“Remote work is the new normal, many schools are closed, and a wide-range of industries are decreasing their hiring. Through all of this, we’re seeing our community turn to learning to remain productive.

“People are coping with a range of uncertainties and realities that require learning new skills. In some cases, that means learning new ways to cope with stress or remotely manage a team. In others, it means learning entirely new skills in the face of a tough job market.”

There have been a wealth of online learning tools and courses being made free during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

These include through TAFE NSW, Pluralsight, Oracle University, Microsoft Learn and the University of Queensland.