AM to PM in lockdown with Jan de Jonge

By Anita Jaynes on 4 May, 2020

During COVID lockdown we’re reviving our AM to PM feature which delves into the lives and day-to-day diaries of members of our local business community. It’s great to be nosy and find out how others are coping, structuring their days and getting through these tricky times. 

In this post we put the spotlight on Jan de Jonge.

Jan (pronounced Yan) is a business psychologist with over 20 years’ experience. He set up his company, People Business Psychology in 2012 which helps drive organisational growth.

Originally from Holland, Jan studied his MA in Psychology at the University of Amsterdam before completing post-graduate training in assessment and development management consulting. Jan is qualified to levels A and B in psychometrics and has a post-graduate diploma in talent management / business-psychology consulting.

Jan works internationally and is trusted by some of the world’s leading organisations including Castrol, Hilton Hotels, Sofitel and more locally Bath ASU and Avon Fire & Rescue.

Jan lives with his partner Debbie and her 18-year-old son, Guy.

What is life like during lockdown in your home?

As a trained upholsterer and hairdresser (besides being a strategic sage behind my psychology consultancy), Debbie wanted to be doing some more upholstery from home, and started to read more and more about the struggle in healthcare with scrubs. Early on, she contacted the ‘fortheloveofscrubs’ online group, which grew so quickly that getting fabric for scrubs was difficult. We spoke to a friend locally who donated some money to order fabric and several orders and request came in from various hubs of the ‘fortheloveofscrubs’ group.

Whilst waiting for the fabric, Debbie made 25 face masks for a care home in Marlborough. She has recently finished a batch of 14 sets of scrubs for Greenhill House, a charity-run care home for 38 adults with physical disabilities in Timsbury near Bath – a home in desperate need for PPE. Scrubs are valuable because, they can be put into a ‘scrub bag’ and washed for reuse. Debbie’s son Guy, aged 18 (hoping to be able to start study engineering at Uni later this year..), is also busy 3D-printing several batches of shield visors (now totalling some 75) for several care homes (e.g. Holly Lodge, Pewsey) via the online group Shield Wiltshire. I have helped with ‘logistics’, assembly and communication behind the scenes. This home-based activity is right up Debbie’ sustainable, voluntary, street!

Tell us more about People Business Psychology. What are you working on at the moment?

On modernising the measurement of leadership effectiveness, supported by a few universities. Leadership quality can be measured in more modern, user-friendly ways.

What do you love most about your job?

Business psychology is about the fascinating art of knowing ourselves. Understanding what we do, and why, in order to get better and happier. This drives me.

What’s the worst part of the job?

Many people (me too) want perfection. This can stifle us. Getting people to overcome this can be a challenge. 

What executive tool could you not live without? 

To learn languages, I use Duolingo (hablo español!), and my typing is faster thanks to Dragon “NaturallySpeaking” voice-to-text software.

What are you doing to relax after work? 

I read, go for a run, walk, virtually catch up with friends and family and generally unwind. And I set the world to rights with my nearest and dearest. 

What are your plans post lockdown?

Visit family in New Jersey, and explore business opportunities there. ‘Digital’ is surprisingly borderless.

How are you looking to boost trade during lockdown?

By marketing more user-friendly digital tools, with help from Wiltshire-based digital marketing champions.

Who would you like to connect with in our business community?

Our ideal clients are ethical companies where senior management understands that their staff have strengths that can be nurtured. We help get this process right and improve outcomes for all.

If you changed direction, what would be your Plan B?

My first love was making music… I used to sing in a local band. Winning over the crowd was addictive. Winning over audiences with psychology is my Plan A, B and C, though.

To find out more about People Business Psychology visit:

Watch Jan’s video post on the importance of getting outside during lockdown below.