Mindapples COVID-19 update: back-to-school edition

Hello everyone,

Back in March, before the first major lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wrote about what Mindapples would be doing to respond to the crisis. We have been supporting our commercial clients and continuing our training and webinar work, and the Mindapples Charity launched a public campaign to give people support during the worst phase of the pandemic.

Now, six months on, I’d like to give you another update on what we’ve been doing, how it’s been going, and my thoughts on the next few months. As always, please do let us know how things have been for you: we’re always keen to hear how everyone is doing, how we can help, and your thoughts for the future.

Webinars and e-learning

Fortunately for our business, we have already offered webinars for a few years before this crisis, so adapting to remote working has been fairly smooth for us. In fact, we’ve found our webinars are working much better now that the majority of our clients have switched to home working. Supporting everyone through the transition has been challenging, but it seems people have found the regular check-ins on Zoom and Teams helpful, and we’ve been able to offer content on timely topics like keeping calm, being resilient, staying productive and supporting each other.

Over the last six months:

  • Attendance for our web-based seminars has increased by 90% compared to our previous face-to-face figures (and is still 50% better overall even when compared to our large keynotes). So it seems people really like accessing our content remotely.
  • Webinar feedback has remained consistent with our face-to-face sessions, tracking at around 4.7 out of 5 ratings in participant responses, with 95% of participants saying the sessions are useful for them at the current time. So we are offering people something useful in this time of need, which is really nice to hear.
  • Our e-learning services continue to be popular, with some clients now incorporating our e-learning modules into their management training, to ensure all managers are able to support their teams. We’re getting requests for new e-learning modules on changing habits, supporting people and even (whisper it) being happy too.

Remote working is here to stay

We know that many of you may be returning to work this month, and of course even more of you never left: even during the lockdown, around half our workforce continued to work as normal, despite all the risks. What’s clear though is that the transition to remote working has had some positives for productivity and that there are aspects of this new way of working that may be here to stay.

It hasn’t been easy of course. Many of the people we’ve spoken to have been struggling with homeworking, particularly managers who have struggled to support their teams during the lockdown. People caring for others, particularly with schools closed, have struggled more than most, and of course homeworking is much easier if you have a room of your own in which to work, rather than sharing a workspace with partners or housemates. Overall we’re hearing a lot of people struggling with work-life balance too, working longer hours as work blurs into home life and the old rituals that separated home and office have broken down.

For many of our clients, though, homeworking has brought opportunities, to travel less, spend more time with family, do more focussed work and cut down on wasted meetings and commuting time. Whilst some firms are seeking to bring people back to work, our view is that hybrid working will be the medium-term future for many businesses, with the office becoming a platform for collaboration and individual productivity, but people dialling in remotely becoming a fixture of modern office life.

So we will continue to offer (subject to safety and travel requirements) face-to-face masterclasses and keynotes to anyone who wants them, such as for team offsites and induction events, but we are now offering all our services via Zoom, Teams, WebEx or other preferred platforms, so that remote workers can continue to access them.

We are happy for clients to switch from face-to-face sessions to remote as needed without charge, and we have a few options for hybrid sessions with some attendees in a room and others dialling in – so we should be able to cope with any changes in guidance and regulations. Please let us know what you think you’ll need over the coming months and we’ll do our best to help.

Charitable projects

The Mindapples Charity has been working with a number of partners to bring our content to people who need it.

  • Our schools programme is continuing, and we’ll shortly be offering online champions training for teachers and school staff to help them bring Mindapples into their schools and support their pupils.
  • We’re also offering our first online champions course to anyone who wants to attend, which will run as a half-day of web-based training at some point in October or November. Please contact us for details and to book a place.
  • Over the last decade we’ve worked extensively with universities and student groups to help support student mental health and wellbeing. With the pressures facing students this year, we’re looking for universities to partner with us to develop new digital support services to help students learn about their minds and maintain their wellbeing. Again, please do contact us for details.
  • Finally, we’ve teamed up with our friends at the Hub UK to run a series of web-based discussions to support people in the creative industries, which have been hit so desperately hard by the pandemic. The Balance Series is all available online and you can watch the discussions on the Hub website. We hope to do more with the creative sector, and with all the other sectors most affected by this crisis, over the next few months.

And don’t forget to check out our Youtube channel, Twitter and Instagram, where we’ve been posting videos, links, tips and inspiration to help everyone manage their minds during the COVID-19 pandemic. (We haven’t had the courage to join TikTok yet, but give it time…)

So we will continue to do what we can to help, and we wish you all well in this next phase of the COVID-19 journey. Let’s hope we can keep the second wave at bay, and take care of ourselves and each other while we do it. Please do spread the word about Mindapples, and get in touch if we can help.

Take care folks,

Andy Gibson, Head Gardener