Work & study. How do you combine them?

Thursday 23 April 2020

Combining work and study can be a challenge at the best of times, but how do you manage it in these times? Do you put a wash on while writing an assignment? Or are your days filled with working from home and helping the children with their homework while your textbooks collect dust? René Veneboer, director of Veneboer SPORT2000, is continuing to combine his work for the sports shop with his dual programme Entrepreneurship and Retail Management. René: “I miss interacting in person with the lecturers and business-wise we’re in an unusual situation, but fortunately my studies are carrying on.”

Rene veneboer

It’s a huge challenge

“Most businesses are losing between 70 and 90 percent of their turnover now and we are no exception. This is what we’re having to deal with. But this crisis is so fast that no-one can switch quickly enough. Instead of an economic crisis lasting years, this is a time frame of just weeks. It’s not a case you’ll find in any course, but it is part of running a business. You have to be flexible in different situations. For instance, on a national scale, the SPORT2000 concept is now using social media to focus on outdoor and home exercise, such as cycling, home fitness and running. We’re also focusing more on these categories because that’s where we need to be now. The sale of running shoes, for example, is extra high in this period of corona. People are turning to individual sports.

Environmental factors change but the processes are the same

“The issues we’re facing today mean I have to do things I’d never considered before. We now have a door policy, the loss of turnover puts pressure on our liquidity, and as manager, I’m paying more attention to our personnel. Constantly adapting to new situations takes time and energy. For instance, what do we do if a customer sneezes? How do we work with keeping a 1.5 metre distance from the customer? Communicating with personnel, making business decisions, choosing a direction for communication with the outside world, it all just carries on. The factors change but the processes stay pretty much the same.”

Flexibility is good, especially now

“In theory, I don’t need to change much about how I combine my studies and my work because my business is still open. The corona situation does of course demand more time and energy both on the shop floor and in the back office and that’s time I can’t then spend on my studies, but I can still do my assignments. I do notice that my concentration is being pushed though. It’s sometimes difficult to get into study mode because this situation isn’t just affecting the organisation, but also me personally. Whereas normally I would say ‘I’m going to work on my study for a couple of hours this evening,’ I’m now finding it hard. I have to make a concerted effort to sit down to it.”

“I am still in touch with my lecturer, but instead of meeting up with each other in person, we now use Teams or the phone. I really do miss that ‘interacting in person’ bit because that’s what makes studying at NHL Stenden so unique for me. Luckily, my work and studies are continuing though and I speak to the lecturer twice a week. I’m aiming to still get my Associate degree this year – I’ve got just 25 points to go. But I can imagine that if your business is temporarily closed you could use the opportunity to speed up your studies. That’s when the flexibility of your course becomes an even greater benefit.”