Dudley MBC asked ‘How do you #TAKE5 during the pandemic?’ and answered with a Learning at Work Week that encouraged all its colleagues to build learning into their working day. 

The aim of the week was to change perceptions around learning and encourage colleagues to make time for personal development. Colleagues were feeling the pressure of high workloads and lacked time to take a break. The #Take5 campaign empowered and supported colleagues to take time out, prioritise their wellbeing and learn. 

The team interpreted the week’s ‘Made for Learning’ theme as an opportunity to celebrate lifelong learning. Colleagues were encouraged to stay well, remain curious and live longer independently by sharing information on how we can change the way we age. The team wanted to show that whilst each person’s personal and development journey is different, there is always room for growth and engagement. 

To take part in #Take5, colleagues could try lots of different things such as 5 minutes of reflection on recent discoveries, a five-minute YouTube Video or TedTalk, or a few minutes reading an article. The campaign was designed to be inclusive and promote accessible forms of learning to sectors across the Council. 

An array of virtual sessions offered colleagues the chance to hear about personal topics such as Treatment for the Menopause and learn about Mental Health First Aid, Stress Management and Apprenticeships. The team facilitated coaching circles focused on the career lifecycle of a Dudley MBC colleague – from early careers, through returning to work, and preparing for retirement. There were home exercise sessions and a Poetry Corner alongside other ‘lighter’ options through the week. Some sessions were accredited, and some designed internally. Those that have been recorded are now available on Dudley MBC’s private YouTube channel along with links to other resources for on-demand learning. This means that key and front-line workers have been able to access these opportunities too. 

The Counci’s Employee Engagement and Wellbeing Calendar was used to advertise new activities, many of which were drop-in to aid accessibility. To promote the #Take5 campaign, colleagues were asked to write what they’d recently learned on the palm of their hand and take a snap. This created personal and visual ‘5s’ that were used in marketing, including on posters for frontline workers. The Counci’s CEO vlogged about the week and encouraged colleagues to take time for learning at work. Colleagues could find a daily menu of activities on the news tab of the intranet. A daily post highlighted the itinerary alongside a showreel of the ‘5s’ images to capture attention. 

Colleagues have continued to learn following the week and requested resources including more on later life planning. The YouTube channel has had more than 120 views showing that the week has reached the wider workforce. The internal Yammer channel has been reignited with colleagues sharing TedTalk recommendations, gardening tips and more. The #Take5 campaign has helped instigate a cultural shift where colleagues take time for learning and the team expect to see an increase in engagement with learning in the future.