Me Inside Out is a bespoke programme founded in 2018 designed to empower employees and make them feel supported on a return to work after extended absence or for employees experiencing natural life stages such as the menopause.
The programme enables employees to identify what they need to be at their best and what will help them on their return to the workplace. Each programme, based with a foundation in the five ways to well-being is bespoke and tailored based and incorporates a pre-course questionnaire.
The programmes are typically tun over an 8 week period with two workshop days to attend and consist of a mixture of coaching, practical sessions and talks to allow attendees to increase their “inside” self-awareness, enhance their physical “outside” and create a framework for them to “bounce” back into the workplace.
The courses are designed for absolutely anyone who has had an extended period of time off work, be that maternity, paternity, long term sick leave, adoption leave or people transitioning back into a workplace after redundancy. There are also courses available for people who haven’t necessarily had time away but are experiencing a natural life stage, such as the menopause, and would benefit from a holistic approach to their situation. Find out more here.
As part of our #WomenInSMEs we chatted to female co-founders Julia Hillman and Cat Tierney about their programme and experience as women in business.
1. Hi Julia, Hi Cat – Me Inside Out sounds like a really interesting and important programme. Can you tell us a bit about why you started it?
Me Inside Out (MIO) was born as a concept after Cat and Julia worked together on a project for mental wellbeing. Julia was the co-founder of a project called Thrive in the City and Cat had been drafted in to oversee the comms for the events that had been planned by the Thrive team. A conversation post event where both women shared their experiences of managing people who had returned to work from periods of absence inspired them to set up a tailored programme utilising all the best practitioners for each subject.
2. That’s awesome! What would you say have been your greatest successes and challenges to date?
Cat: Employers often pay lip service to the concept of supporting employees. They put on a little lunch and learn session and feel they have ticked that box and if no one has gone to said session they feel there was no need for it. Other employers have spoken to us about running the course with 100 people in a room which totally loses its point. Having experienced first-hand the somewhat overwhelming feelings connected to returning to work after a period of absence - in my case maternity leave – we realise that one size doesn’t fit all.
I put on my never fail black work dress - and it epically failed because I was no longer the same shape I had been two years previously when I had last worn it. Realising that a year in maternity clothes and then a year in jeans and stripy tops with hardly a scrap of makeup on had meant I had almost forgotten how to dress made me feel like I was going to somehow fail at my job.
Time and time again we hear of people who have built up the thought of going back to work into such a big deal that they spend their first days back off sick. The lost productivity and revenue for so many companies stretches into thousands, yet so often a programme encompassing Keeping In Touch days and being tailored to the companies ethos and values is not seen as necessary. To me that is the most frustrating part.
Julia: Success wise it has to be the calibre of the practitioners working with us. So many have realised why we have created a holistic programme, based around the five ways of well-being. They have supported us with pilot sessions, given us feedback from their sessions and truly helped us to hone the course so it works. Wellbeing is an individual thing, what works for some doesn’t work for others.
By pulling together the best practitioners under ‘one-roof’ we can provide attendees with the widest exposure to a wealth of information, practical sessions and hints and tips so that they are empowered to create their own ‘return to work’ support system. Empowering people, through self-awareness and choice, makes a real difference and creates foundations for sustainable change.
3. And what would be your biggest piece of advice to other female entrepreneurs just starting out in business?
Cat: Stay focused on what it is you want to achieve. So many people are great at telling you why you should be doing everything another way. Don’t let them intimidate you or sway you from your path.
Julia: By gaining greater self-awareness of your strengths (and at the same time, the things that will trip you up), you will find it easier to do great things, inspire others with your passion and understand the things that might be blocking your progress and how to overcome them.
Sometimes reminding yourself of your strengths, even when things see to be going wrong around you, can motivate you to keep on going.
4. Thanks guys, that’s great advice. Lastly, can you explain why you were drawn to the campaign?
Julia: It seemed to resonate so much with the whole ethos of Me Inside Out. Me Inside Out is about giving people the confidence to return to work physically and psychologically prepared (which is a win:win as their employers get the very best version of them and therefore the most productive version of them).
Connect With Me Inside Out
To hear more about Me Inside Out or to request a meeting with Julia and Cat please make a booking.