A Warkworth mum who gave up her high-profile job in advertising in 2012 to pursue her passion for art and creativity has developed her business further to help employers ease furloughed staff back into the team and aid the transition into hybrid working.

Lorna Watkinson formed Rainbow Pottery Painting almost a decade ago and her unique workshops not only helped encourage creativity in young people but also in businesses too by focusing on goals and visions through the medium of pottery. Now, she is still using those skills and more to develop businesses interpersonal and COVID resilience skills through her new company, Vibrant Thinking.

To help businesses connect with their teams working from home during lockdown, Lorna’s creative workshops allow people who have been working remotely to connect with their colleagues and rediscover the benefits of social chat, problem solving and interaction.

The sessions help to identify challenges and solutions and help to improve team dynamics, boost morale and increase productivity. One of the methods Lorna employs is based on her original pottery workshops – something of a logistical problem that has been overcome by her ability to think outside of the box.

“When I have a group looking at work related issues through the medium of pottery painting, I have to get the raw product to each participant, arrange a team Zoom meeting and then carry out the workshop. Once that’s done, I collect the painted piece, fire it and then get it back to the individual. I’m now an expert in organisation and postal packaging but the end results are worth it,” said Lorna.

“I’m passionate about using creativity to overcome challenges and I use pottery painting as a tool in my workshops. You don’t need to see pottery painting as art or requiring any artistic ability: it’s a vehicle for facilitating creative thinking to overcome challenges, with the added benefit of being a rewarding and absorbing activity for everyone. It’s an ideal way to relax your mind and energise your thinking.”

Indeed, the benefits to Vibrant Thinking’s clients include helping to move from a divided team with low morale to a united, happy and more productive team, creating templates for more energised and efficient online meetings and increased productivity.

“We’ve all been through one of the toughest periods in history and many of us have had to adapt to new ways of working. A year ago, the term “furlough” was practically unheard of but now businesses are having to find the best way to integrate furloughed employees back into their teams. There are no precedents and with the possibility of the scheme ending in September many employers now need support and advice,” said Lorna.

Lorna’s impressive client list includes Global Media, The Scout Association, Newcastle University and Team Valley based Geon Training.

Nadia Scott, MD of Geon Training said: “I’ve recently had the pleasure of experiencing first-hand how effective this workshop has been for my business by improving staff morale and productivity. Lorna’s workshop can be applied to any business or group that want to become more productive. It helps individuals breakdown their barriers and facilitates better working environments for employees.”