Comms are key

Comms are key

Through social media and emails, we have worked hard during this time to keep all of you, our clients, and our candidates up to speed.   This has allowed us to maintain a high level of engagement for the business from clients and candidates, and has ensured we are constantly registering new high-calibre candidates and able to respond to the changing needs of our clients.

Comms are Key: Visit the Octopus Personnel Blog for the latest Recruitment News

We have and will continue to go above and beyond, offering the same high quality support and guidance, whilst starting to work more flexibly. We are now taking forward the lessons we have learnt over these past months, to continue to offer a comprehensive package of online support as well as operating a physical presence in the office, and comms will remain key.

Repurposing the Office Space

With the business running successfully remotely, we are now stretching forward into our 42 day plan and repurposing the office for the return.  This week, the Octopus space has been completely redesigned with the protection of candidates and the team at the heart of every choice.  Gone are the seating area, computers, extra desks, visible paperwork or anything which could hamper the thorough and regular cleaning of the office.  Now, clear signage and robust procedures, which ensure the safety of all.  Using clearly outlined policies and procedures which all staff members have contributed to, we have tried to plan and prepare for all eventualities.

Image of the front window of Octopus Personnel - Our plan for returning to the Octopus Personnel Office

Our online window

Over the past few months changes to online behaviour has accelerated in pace, with other large-scale changes and, like any other business, it was vital we were able to keep up and meet demand.  The launch of the new Octopus website came at the perfect time for the business.  Although we couldn’t celebrate the launch as we had planned, the website has been the centrepiece of keeping the office running remotely.  From candidate needs (remote registration, job application, timesheet submission etc.) to client needs (registering a vacancy, requesting a callback, or quickly updating the team about ongoing demands) the website has allowed us to continue to broaden our mentoring and personal on-boarding service.

Looking for staff? Visit the Octopus Personnel Website

 

Thank you for the feedback we received last week about returning to the office – the lessons learnt and shared make us all stronger.

We would like to hear from you again and ask: “What has been vital in ensuring the safety of your staff?”

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the job adverts you see to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of the office, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!

 

Meet with us virtually or in the office

As we take the next steps into the #newnormal, we wanted to provide all our candidates with an update.  As you know, the business is running successfully remotely, but we are now working hard to implement steps for us to safely return to the office and we wanted to share our approach with you.

Our target date for opening the office on a part time basis, is the Monday 6th July 2020.  You will then be able to meet with us virtually or in the office.

Opening Times

From this date, the office opening hours will be 10am – 2pm, Monday through to Friday. And we will still be available, as normal, from 8:30am – 5:30pm, Monday – Thursday and 8:30am – 5pm, on a Friday.

Image of the front window of Octopus Personnel - Our plan for returning to the Octopus Personnel Office

Your Safety

If you do come to visit it us in the office, every care has been taken to ensure your safety.  Clear signage, roped off areas, screens and a strict one candidate only in the office at any time, means you can visit knowing your safety is our priority.  Before we open, you will receive a clear email with labelled images and detailed information about how we plan to keep you safe.

Talk to us your way

Our comprehensive candidate care package is designed to fit in with your life and needs.  You can still meet with us virtually using; Zoom, Facetime or WhatsApp and now face-to-face appointments will be offered if no other choice is an option.  All of our paperwork is designed to be completed remotely and returned via email, making it flexible to your needs.

Talk to us your way at Octopus Personnel

Here for all your needs

Our website is a one stop shop for everything you need.  You can search our current vacancies, register, submit your CV, download guides to improve your; CV, covering letter and interview technique, and explore our top tips for job seeking and finding the perfect role in the blog.

Explore the Candidate Support on the Octopus Personnel Website

Please do get in contact if you have any other questions about our return to the office and we look forward to welcoming you, virtually or face-or-face, next time we see you.  Remember to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter for further updates.

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the job adverts you see to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of the office, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!

 

Approaching the new work normal

The whole country is now exploring what the new work normal looks like for their business.  Octopus Personnel, as a team, are now working hard to implement steps for us to start safely returning to the office and we wanted to share our approach with you.

There are so many competing challenges for businesses at the moment and it can, at times, be hard to see the wood for the trees.  To help us, we have moved our focus to a 42 day rolling plan, which is constantly updated by the whole team, and we have used ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’ to make sure all aspects of the team’s welfare is being considered.

A mountain showing Maslows Hierarchy of Needs - the new work normal

A practical approach

Physiological needs are the easiest to meet, but have, in their own right, needed consideration when returning to the office.  Making sure that everyone is able to do their job safely has been the first priority.  From who is using the kettle to how the desks are positioned, everything within the office is being considered to ensure these needs can be met.  We are ensuring that we have a good working environment for all, alongside the right tools to safely perform our roles.

Safety: our biggest concern

Safety is obviously of paramount concern during this time.  Screens, sanitiser, floor markings, routes in and out of the office are all being addressed, but perhaps most importantly all members of the team have access to the plan and can raise any issues they are concerned about.  A Health & Safety inspection is also booked to ensure that every aspect of provision has been thought through.  Everyone’s opinion has been treated with respect, allowing all ideas to be put forward and the best ones developed.

Our continued passion

Belonging is perhaps one of the easiest needs for the Octopus family to meet, as we had such a strong underlying team ethos.  Weekly Zoom meetings help us remain connected and as mentioned, every member of the team is a stakeholder in the return to the office, whether they will be office based or not.  The team dynamic has never been stronger and that is most certainly down to the quality of communication we share.  The same vision for the business continues to be held by all.

Picture of the Octopus Team Business - Team Spirit - the new work normal

 Feeling valued

The challenges, which businesses have faced already and continue to face, are not to be underestimated.  Using Microsoft Teams, we have made sure that each member of the team is recognised for their contribution each day.  Goals have become much shorter focused, as we push the business forward day by day and all successes are shared and celebrated.  From placing temps to completing payroll, every task is being shared and recognised by all to maintain transparency and inclusion.

 Dream big…

This all means that the Octopus team is here and ready to ‘think big’.  Everyone has had the opportunity to be creative, to have a vision for the future, to reinvent, and provide direct input to senior leadership. Creative solutions, the application of technology and a lot of hard work have helped Octopus navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic so far and means we are ready and raring to go as we push the business forward again into the new normal.

It would be great to hear how you have been and how you are approaching the return to the new world of work? Drop us an email to enquiries@octopuspersonnel.co.uk or request a call back here.

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the job adverts you see to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of the office, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!

 

Coronavirus Prevention and Candidate Care

Candidate care is paramount at Octopus Personnel.  Lucie, Office Manager, explains how Octopus Personnel are supporting Coronavirus prevention and safeguarding the wellbeing of our candidates and clients.

Octopus Personnel is working intensively with our clients to ensure all reasonable Health & Safety measures are being taken to safeguard the wellbeing of everyone.  Below is our guidance on COVID-19 and what to do if you feel unwell.

If you have:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough
  • a new loss of taste or smell

You should self isolate for 14 days and you must follow Octopus Personnel’s sickness reporting procedures, calling 01747 825568.

You have an obligation to notify Octopus Personnel if you have travelled abroad in the last month.

Coronavirus / COVID-19

 

Coronavirus Symptoms - Octopus Personnel Candidate Care

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways.  The NHS provide public information about the virus and the latest advice on how to protect yourself. If you need medical help, please use the 111 online coronavirus service.

Symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID 19)

What to do if you have symptoms

Self isolate for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough
  • a new loss of taste or smell

This will help to protect others in your community while you are potentially infectious.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.  You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re self isolating. People who are are self-isolating with mild symptoms will not be tested for COVID-19.

What does Self-Isolating mean?

  • Stay at home for 14 days after your last contact with the person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis.
  • Do not go outside even to buy food or other essentials, and any exercise should be taken within your home.
  • Self-isolating at home for the 14-day period will help protect your family, friends and the NHS. Self-isolating at home in this way can also protect the most vulnerable in society, by reducing the chance of a second wave of COVID-19 in the wider community.
  • If you are living with children, keep following this guidance to the best of your ability, however, we are aware that not all these measures will be possible.
  • Not all these measures will be possible if you, or those you are living with, have significant conditions such as learning disabilities, autism or serious mental illness. Please keep following this guidance to the best of your ability, while keeping yourself and those close to you safe and well, ideally in line with any existing care plans.
  • If you live with clinically vulnerable people or clinically extremely vulnerable people, stay away from them as much as possible, following this guidance. For the clinically extremely vulnerable please follow the shielding guidance.

Coronavirus Prevention – Preventing the Spread of Infection

 

Coronavirus Infographic explaining how to prevent infection - Candidate Care Octopus Personnel

Public Health England (PHE) recommends that the following general cold and flu precautions are taken to help prevent people from catching and spreading Coronavirus COVID-19:

  • try to stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from anyone you do not live with or anyone not in your support bubble
  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • wear something that covers your nose and mouth when it’s hard to stay away from people, such as in shops or on public transport
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

If you are worried about symptoms, please call NHS 111. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment.

Further Information

Further information about preventing the spread of COVID-19 is available on the PHE blog and NHS.UK.

Advice from the NHS on when to self-isolate is here:  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

Advice from the Government to Employer, Employees and Business can be read here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Advice on travel and returning from travel is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus and from the Foreign Office Website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice You should notify Octopus Personnel if you have been abroad in the last month.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public provides further information, including symptoms and the latest advice.

If you have any further concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact the office on 01747 825568 for further support.

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the job adverts you see to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of the office, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!

 

Recruitment and the impact of Coronavirus

Sandra Smart, Octopus Personnel Director, outlines our approach to limiting risk from Coronavirus for candidates and clients during recruitment, and how we are currently adapting our business model.

At Octopus Personnel, we take the care of our candidates and clients very seriously and are taking a government guided common sense approach to preventing the spread of infection whilst continuing to operate as an effective business.  This will be updated and changed in line with changes in Government advice as they arise.

Woman using hand sanitiser - the impact of Coronavirus on Recruitment

Responsible Risk Management

Advice for employers from the Government can be read here.  Following our own internal risk assessment in line with this advice and advice from Public Health England (PHE), we have decided to enable the team to work remotely.  At home, they are still taking the following measures to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • Covering mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not hands) should they cough or sneeze. See Catch it, Bin it, Kill it
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away
  • Washing hands with soap and water often – see hand washing guidance
  • Avoiding contact with people who are unwell and providing all candidates with the government guidance about when to self-isolate
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, including desks, kitchens and toilets
  • Trying to avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth if hands are not clean
  • try to stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from anyone you do not live with or anyone not in your support bubble
  • wear something that covers your nose and mouth when it’s hard to stay away from people, such as in shops or on public transport

Advice to Clients and Candidates about Temporary Working and Coronavirus

We have provided all our candidates currently working with guidance on prevention of transmission of Coronavirus, when to self-isolate and where to seek further information when needed.

We have contacted all our clients to establish if they have deployed any new Health & Safety measures in their workplaces related to Coronavirus (COVID 19) to safeguard employees and businesses to ensure all our candidates are fully briefed before assignment and following all procedures.

We are keeping abreast of Government guidance, which is updated regularly here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Further information about preventing the spread of COVID-19 is available on the PHE blog and NHS.UK.

We have also used the useful information for employers provided by ACAS:  https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus.

 

Person washing their hands - impact of Coronavirus on recruitment

Changes to the interview process

Some clients have asked us if they should be utilising Skype and video conferencing for interviews moving forward, instead of meeting with candidates at their offices.

Skype interviews often allow candidates to fit the interview into their schedule much quicker, as they can be conducted within lunchtimes or before or straight after work.  Whilst Skype is a fantastic tool and undoubtedly the next best thing to meeting with candidates in person, it does still leave a small disconnect.  A candidate doesn’t have the same experience of the business, the culture or the people, which means it’s harder for them to be so invested in the process, not having seen the building, or explored the vibe of the team, or imagining how they might fit in.

So if you are interviewing via Skype, you need to be a little bit creative.  Perhaps allow a second round of interviews where the team dial in for a chat?  Do you have site video candidates could watch?  Do you have a company blog?  Any good candidate will already have researched what is available online, but you might be able to flesh out more of the details of the company ethos whilst you talk, and use the examples they have seen to illustrate your points.

 

Two women looking at a laptop

Will we continue to interview candidates?

Our business model has always included meeting candidates face to face,  but in line with the changes in governmental advice, we are moving to utilise Skype, Zoom and Facetime to enable us to interview candidates online.  All our systems are up and running and we are able to offer the same robust, indepth service we always have.  In order to continue to really understand our candidates and what makes them tick, we use the same methods to interview them comprehensively so we can ensure the best fit for client and candidate, whilst protecting the health of all.

What will happen if the Government’s advice about Coronavirus changes?

We are confident that we can continue to provide an excellent standard of service throughout this challenging period and we are here to offer our clients and candidates the best possible support. Preparations have been made to enable the business to continue to function effectively, with a skeleton team working in the office and others working remotely.  In the short term, face to face meetings will no longer take place.  However, we are fully equipped for conference calls through Zoom and Skype and other modes of online communication, and are exploring platforms to speed up the process and flow of online interviewing.  The telephones lines and emails are working and we plan to continue to operate our service as close to normal as we can possibly can achieve.

We continue to follow government guidelines and updates as they are received.

Image of the Sign of 10 Downing Street

Where can I access more information?

Advice from the Government to Employer, Employees and Business can be read here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Advice from the NHS on when to self-isolate is here:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

Advice on travel and returning from travel is here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

We are here to help!

At Octopus Personnel, we are experts at presenting our candidates to ensure the employer is able to see all the skills and experience you are bringing to a role.  Years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, and grasp of the needs of their business, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to your new role or to the right employee who will drive your business forward.  You can sign up here and call the office on 01747 825568 to arrange an interview.

If you do have further concerns about the interview process or working through Octopus Personnel during the Coronavirus (COVID-19 outbreak, please do contact the office on 01747 825568 and we will support you in finding further information or support.

 

Last Updated 18th March 2020

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.

Stay Safe in the Sun

At Octopus Personnel, we take the safety of our temporary candidates very seriously.  Alice Weeks, Octopus Personnel Recruitment Consultant, explains how to stay safe in the sun when working outside.

 

The sun shining through someone's hand - Staying Safe in the Sun - Candidate Care at Octopus Personnel

Summer is almost here!  Whilst it lifts everyone’s spirits when the sun is out, extra precautions should be taken for outdoor workers, including many of our seasonal and temporary workers.  The Health & Safety of our candidates is always paramount.  For every role we advertise, we assess the challenges of the role, the Health & Safety requirements of the site, the rhythm of the work and fully brief all our candidates prior to interview.  Whilst we might be envious of those who work outside in this weather, there are some basic safety tips that clients and candidates should follow to keep everyone safe over the summer months.  How can you stay safe in the sun when working outside?

Working outdoors can be fantastic, especially in the summer, but it is important to take precautionary measures to protect yourself.  Even working outdoors for a few hours in direct sunlight without high factor sun cream, access to drinking water and a shaded area to cool off can result in serious health problems in the long term. Even in the short-term, things such as sunburn and heat stroke can potentially be very dangerous.  So what precautions can be taken?

 What are the risks of sunlight exposure?

Too much exposure to sunlight is harmful and can damage the skin.  Some of this damage is short-term (temporary), such as sunburn. However, allowing your skin to burn can lead to future problems, such as skin cancer.  There are two main types of damaging ultraviolet (UV) sunlight: UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, damaging the middle layer (the dermis). The dermis contains the elastic tissues that keep the skin stretchy. UVA rays therefore have the effect of ageing the skin and causing wrinkles. UVB rays are absorbed by the top layer of skin (the epidermis). This causes a sun tan, but also sun burn.

Both UVA and UVB rays increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Getting sunburnt is therefore a warning sign that you are putting yourself at risk.  Everyone is at risk of sunburn, heat stress or even skin cancer in the long run.  That being said, those who have fair skin, freckles, red or fair hair and workers with a large number of moles are more at risk of developing skin conditions due to prolonged sun exposure.

What reasonable precautions can be taken to stay safe in the sun?

Factor 50 Suncream - Staying Safe in the Sun - Candidate Care at Octopus Personnel

1.  Apply high factor sunscreen

It sounds obvious but how many times have you been out in the sun and forgot to put sun cream on? If you have thinning hair, either apply sunscreen to your scalp or wear a wide‐brimmed hat. To protect your lips, apply a lip balm with a SPF of at least 15. To remain protected when outdoors, reapply sunscreen every two hours, or immediately after swimming or sweating.  Make sure you apply a high factor sun cream suited to your skin and encourage those around you to do the same. There are thousands of new cases of skin cancer in the UK every year and many of these are preventable.

2. Make sure there is shade for breaks

Lady sitting in the shade on a beach - Staying Safe in the Sun - Candidate Care at Octopus Personnel

We encourage everyone to take their breaks at work and in the UK you are legally entitled to an uninterrupted 20-minute break if you work for 6 hours or more per day.  When you have staff that work outdoors in the sun make sure there is a shaded area to cool down in. This will help body temperatures decrease and it gives a respite from the glaring heat.  You can find or create shade in many ways. Take a break under trees, umbrellas, canopies or head indoors.  Although shade structures can reduce your overall exposure to UV, it probably won’t completely protect you. UV rays can go through some fabrics and reflect off the ground, so it’s still important to think about clothing and sunscreen.  Many organisations have free cold water as well which will help keep everyone hydrated and it will boost morale too.

3. Educate Workers on Heat Stress – teach them to stay safe in the sun

Knowing when and how workers are at risk for heat stress gives employers an advantage in the prevention process. With the right tools, employers can share that knowledge with their employees to create an atmosphere of prevention in the workplace and demonstrate commitment to worker safety and well-being and ensure they stay safe in the sun when working outside. Heat stress is a general category that includes a variety of high temperature related illnesses, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which are especially dangerous for those unprepared for work in high-temperature conditions.

HEAT STRESS RISK FACTORS :

  • High temperatures
  • High humidity
  • Low liquid intake
  • Heavy physical labour
  • Heavy clothing
  • Inexperience working in hot conditions

Sunshine streaming into a lush green forest - Staying Safe in the Sun - Candidate Care at Octopus Personnel

FORMS OF HEAT STRESS

Heat Exhaustion – a condition that arises when the body’s fluid supply is depleted and not replaced with adequate hydration.

Symptoms:

  • Headache, dizziness or fainting
  • Physical weakness
  • Wet skin
  • Irritability or confusion
  • Thirst, nausea or vomiting

Heat Stroke – a medical emergency when the body is unable to regulate its core temperature.

Symptoms:

  • Confusion, nausea, high blood pressure
  • Seizures, convulsions, loss of consciousness
  • Lack of sweating
  • Flushed, dry skin
  • Difficulty breathing

Preventing heat-related illnesses requires having an educated workforce. Before employees can take active measures in protecting themselves from heat stress, they need the right knowledge and foresight to inform their decisions. By creating an environment that promotes heat stress education and awareness, companies empower their workers to make safe decisions before, during, and after work about their clothing, hydration, and water safety.

The HSE has some great advice for how to stay work outside safely and following these basic tips can have a big impact on your overall health.

 

Image of the Octopus Personnel Team: Take the next step with us

How can we help you?

At Octopus Personnel, we have years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients meaning we are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to your new role or to the right employee who will drive your business forward.  You can sign up here and call the office on 01747 825568 to discuss how we could help you.

Alice Weeks

About the author

I specialise in temporary recruitment and I’m always planning ahead, but manage to fill those last minute gaps! I really enjoy the buzz of the Octopus Office and no two days are the same. For me, it’s really important to get to know my candidates so I can support them on assignments and get the best from them.

I love baking so working in the Octopus Office with a monthly bake-off is a dream come true. I am a great listener and I know the power of a well-timed cup of tea and a biscuit!