Keith Newman

Member Article

Virtual Secret Santa Launched

**An expert in hybrid working practices is bringing a virtual touch of Christmas tradition to the workplace. **

Lorna Watkinson from Warkworth runs Vibrant Thinking, a company that has grown during the pandemic due to her expertise in helping businesses adapt to the pressures of working both at home and in the workplace particularly regarding personal relationships and team interaction.

In a unique twist to the tradition of giving presents in a “Secret Santa” way, Lorna has now developed an online workshop session which incorporates a fun way of giving and receiving as well as reinforcing the spirit of team bonding.

Lorna bases many of her sessions on pottery painting, a concept she set up when she left her job as a busy executive in a major corporate company almost 10 years ago. Originally formed to provide fun activities for children, the business morphed and developed a niche coaching and consultancy to help people experiencing stress and anxiety at work find an outlet for their creativity. This led to the added benefits of increased production at work thanks to a healthy mental wellbeing and outlook.

The workshops are run via Zoom and just like “Secret Santa,” names are pulled out of the hat and each person paints a pottery mug or a plate for the person that they’ve received in the draw. Kits are sent out to delegates in advance with everything they need to paint the items including packaging so that they can be safely returned to Lorna for glazing and firing in her pottery ovens.

“It’s a bit of fun with a team building slant and you don’t have to be a good artist to take part, as it’s really about expressing yourself and enjoying spending virtual time with your work colleagues,” said Lorna.

Despite the activities being on Zoom, Lorna constantly gets participants telling her that once they start painting and chatting with their work mates online it seems that they are in the same room.

“The experience is almost identical to doing a physical session face to face because the pottery painting focuses you onto the task and the chat between people is just like you get in a busy office, factory or workplace.”

As well as the creative and team bonding side of the “Secret Santa” workshops there is a more serious side which many employers are now turning to Lorna for help with.

“With the pandemic and the threat of new variants emerging, many businesses are cancelling face to face office parties as they are worried about them being super spreader events. With our workshops, no one comes into contact, and everything is provided for them in a safe and secure manner. It’s a great way for employers to give something different to their staff at Christmas. From a participant’s point of view, all they need to do is log on, have fun and reconnect with their team colleagues and try their hand at becoming a budding Van Gogh,” said Lorna.

Secret Santa workshops are available at £65 per person from www.vibrant-thinking.com

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Keith Newman .

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