Written by: Sally Bibb
Director engagingminds™

The ‘Pause…’ programme for people who have been furloughed or who are working from home (and could use some support). 12 modules packed with useful and insightful content to help navigate discombobulating times.

Why did we create this programme?

Our conversations, along with surveys done by some of our clients, revealed a few things about the way people are feeling as they experience working life during Covid-19.  Whilst some are fine and enjoying a slightly slower pace perhaps through lack of commutes or travel or time with family, others are really struggling with the challenges of isolation, lack of purpose, mental health, feelings of disconnection and concerns about their future.  Some also have a real desire to use the time to do some self-development.

Our clients know us as people who are pragmatic and supportive. Some came to us for help because they trust us, so we decided to bring to bear all our knowledge, experience and resources and create this modular programme to ensure people are supported at their own pace whilst navigating this unusual time.

Who are we?

We’re former colleagues who worked together at The Economist. We each run our own business. Liz is based in Hong Kong and runs https://thecareerbusiness.com/ and www.luya-associates.com . Sally is based in the UK and runs www.engagingminds.co.uk

We always got on like a house on fire because we love to make great things happen for people. We’re pragmatic and after one phone call in early March where we discussed our respective client’s current struggles, it took us three weeks to create an online platform and launch ‘Pause…’

How is it relevant to D&I?

We’ve included a module on strengths and personal brand. It’s important because it will reveal people for who they really are – their strengths, values and motivators and allow them to think about how they want to return to work and add even more value. When we do this work with BAME groups, people with disabilities and women a common response is that they feel confident in themselves but not only that it gives them language to talk about themselves in a way that feels right and true for them.

How long does the programme take?

There’s no set time. Each module has content to read, questions to consider and a short video explainer. Some people may give a module a quick read in 5-10 minutes, others will want to spend a lot longer. Everyone will have access to the content, much of which is downloadable, for 12 months, so they can use it once back at work too, or, in the unfortunate situation of any redundancy they can use it to help themselves moving forward.

Is it self-directed?

Yes, we’ve designed the content so that people can work through it when suits them. They need nothing but their device. The modules are broken up into chunks. There’s information, questions, quizzes and short exercises. There’s an ‘explainer’ video with each module so if people want a very quick (less than three minutes in most cases) overview of what’s in the module they can watch the video.

Will the programme help people develop themselves?

Yes. They’ll learn things that they may not have come across before (perhaps resilience, strengths, change, mental health or stress) which are all helpful during this time and beyond. They will deep-dive areas like strengths, giving them a chance to think how they can be more successful and fulfilled. Linked to that, developing their personal brand means they will be clearer about where they make their contribution and how to shape how they are seen by others. These are just a couple of examples.

What will people get from this programme?

Different people will get different things, dependent on their circumstances

  • They will learn some practical ways of managing change, stress, relationships and their time.
  • They will develop themselves. They will learn some new things, discover more about themselves and learn tools that they can carry with them into life beyond COVID-19
  • If they have feelings of isolation, anxiety, or feeling up one day and down the next (it’s normal), there’s practical information to support them.
  • It will give them something interesting, useful and uplifting to do whilst at home

How can organisations access the programme?

There are two ways we can give access.  Either individual logins into an online programme, or by transfer of workbooks (as e-books or pdf) and videos to the client for including in their own learning platform

Here are the topics we cover in the content of ‘Pause…’

  • Introduction to the programme
  • Embracing change
  • Identifying strengths? Find out and discover how they will help now and in the future.
  • Creativity: understand creative styles and how these can help
  • Being resilient in tricky times. Good for future proofing, too.
  • Personal brand and why is it important?
  • Sustaining good relationships. The bedrock of our survival.
  • Managing stress and wellbeing.
  • Structuring our days.
  • Managing finances
  • Mental health
  • One for parents/carers…
  • Preparing for the future: getting ready for the next normal

Why support your people with this now?

We know that there are heaps of free webinars available, we know companies are doing a lot to support people working at home. We also see that there’s a lot of soul searching happening too.  We’re talking to both employers and employees. So we know that many employees aren’t getting access to something personal, or feeling that their employer is really connected. That’s why we produced ‘Pause…’.  It’s personal, written with individuals in mind and also written to help employers show they care and are willing to provide their staff with something that’s useful and helpful to them.

In addition we’ve made it super affordable so employers say yes! (our goal being to raise money for charity and touch as many people as we can).


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