The story of Octopus Personnel – An Unexpected Journey

An Unexpected Journey

Wow, what was I thinking 15 years ago? We were rapidly heading for a recession, and I decide to start a business! I had never planned or had any aspirations to run my own business. A throwaway comment from a colleague who said, “if you were to ever open your own business you know I’d come and work for you don’t you?” was the catalyst for it all. I remember laughing and saying I’d never be able to do that.

However, something must have lodged in my crazy mind as I mentioned it to my family and their response was, “well why not do it? You work so hard for everyone else why not do it for yourself?”

“Passion was not on their tick list!”

I remember getting a notepad and starting to write a pro and con list – getting a dog was very much in the pro column. I excitedly started putting a plan together of what I would need to get started. The list got longer and longer and scarier and scarier – I didn’t have a pot of money ready and waiting so I scrambled together what I could and put together a business plan of sorts and went to the bank. They did not want to know. The bank wanted me to have guaranteed clients – I guess they saw through me and knew I didn’t have a clue on how to run a business. Passion was not on their tick list!

I have since reread that first business plan and it makes me laugh – what was I thinking??!!

My first footsteps

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) ran a course (and I think they still do) – ‘How to run a recruitment agency’so I signed up. It was fantastic, and I still refer to that lever arch folder for snippets of information. Top of the ‘To Do List’ was an office. I knew I wanted to be in the High Street in Gillingham. I had always believed there was an opportunity in the area, but when I spoke to the management team of the agency I was working for, they wouldn’t listen to me.

There were a few options for office space – one in fact was the shop that is now Costa, but a friend heard through the grapevine that number 1 Newbury Court (where Dorset Tech is now) was going to become vacant. I remember speaking to the proprietor and next thing I know I’m signing papers, and I have myself an office. It makes me laugh now when I think about it – I really didn’t have a clue.

A new place to call home

I spent the next few weeks in the office space getting it ready, pulling in favours from friends and family to gut the space and turn it into a high street office. I spent so many hours painting and planning. It was so funny planning where we were going to put desks and office equipment. It was difficult to visualise, so we made life size templates from newspaper to represent the desks, chairs and other necessary items we needed, and moved them around the floor until we had it nailed. We had a small kitchen area, a loo, a front office with floor to ceiling glass windows, and a small back office that became my space.

It was an exciting day going to the office furniture shop in Blandford and ordering 3 desks, 3 chairs and a filing cabinet, and while we were there, we spotted the perfect reception furniture. The shop owner took pity on me, and I got a good price for the lot.

Getting ready for opening day

A date for opening was basically plucked from thin air and then everything had to be sorted for that date.

We used a well-known telecommunications company for our first computer and telephone set up – it took a huge chunk of the money I had and if I had known better, I would have done things differently, but I was green and didn’t know any different.

We did lots of research on CRM systems, we had lots of demonstrations but one stood out, and we are using them to this day! The company has been really supportive, and the system has grown with us. I remember one of the team came to my home in Mere and sat at my kitchen table to show us the system. My daughter Katie was very excited about it, personally I was still old school and liked to work with paper files and index cards! I am delighted to say I have most certainly progressed from those days.

“I still try and use local businesses”

The next thing we needed was a website of some sort. I remember driving around the industrial estates trying to find a company that would help me, and I came across LA Marketing in Shaftsbury. They were fantastic – very supportive and agreed to help with a 2-page website to get me started. During our meeting it also came to light that they could also help with signage and our much-needed window display set up.

I still try and use local people and businesses – I think its so important that we support one another.

“I felt like Super Woman!”

While all this was going on I felt like Super Woman and thought to myself, ‘do you know what, I am going to learn book-keeping and do it myself!’

I enrolled on a course that was one afternoon a week. I lasted 2 weeks! There’s more to my bookkeeping journey so I will save that story for later.

It was just another example of how green I was in those days, my idea was to offer permanent recruitment and then maybe explore temporary recruitment later as I had never ever dealt with temporary workers before – did I have a shock coming!!

To be fair it was so much fun in those first crazy weeks and months. I was so excited about it all but of course I did have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach – the voice in my head was saying, ‘what are you thinking, you are never going to be able to do this’. But I’d gulp and say ‘YES I can, and I will!’

Opening day was rapidly approaching – the carpet was down, furniture was in, and the systems installed. I remember thinking that we needed some plants so I popped down the road to ‘Focus’ (ASDA is there now) and bought these cheap plants thinking they will only last a week or so but will look good for the opening. We still have one of the plants in the office today – it has stood the test of time, a bit like me really! When it’s looking a bit bedraggled and sorry for itself, we give it some nourishment and a drink and its soon flourishing and doing what it needs to do.

Before we opened, we spent every Sunday going door to door delivering small leaflets to let people know we were opening. The leaflet was to be frank, awful, and so small. I remember visiting a client a few years after we opened, and she told me she still had that leaflet on her fridge, which gave us both a giggle.

The Blackmore Vale Magazine was the place to be. For a half page it was £500 and that was an awful lot of money for me. I really struggled with making the decision to go ahead with the article, but so pleased we did. We opened on the Wednesday and the article went out on the Friday. I still have a copy, I was so proud – there were a couple of photos and a nice piece about the company and how I wanted to be different from your average high street recruitment agency. It certainly got us noticed… and then we full speed ahead.

The story of Octopus Personnel will continue….

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.

Octopus Anniversary Party

Ain’t no party like an Octopus party.

We are celebrating 15 years of Octopus Personnel this month and to celebrate Sandra threw a fabulous party with the team and some special people who have supported us through our 15 years.

Rain may have been forecast but that didn’t dampen our spirits and Sandra proceeded with Octopus enthusiasm with our Summer Garden Party!

There was amazing food, garden games, assault course bouncy castle and great company. What more could you ask for? We had an amazing time celebrating Sandra and the team’s fantastic achievement.

Sandra had some special words for the party goers and then the party really got going with most of us being dragged on to the bouncy castle for a spot of special bonding!

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!

 

Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 – Loneliness and the Workplace

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s campaign is raising awareness of loneliness. One of the many effects of the pandemic has been to increase both the frequency and complexity of mental health issues, with people feeling isolated and lonely, even if they continued working.

The Mental Health Foundation created Mental Health Awareness Week 21 years ago, and it has become one of the biggest awareness weeks across the UK and globally. The Foundation’s purpose is to drive change towards a mentally healthy society for all, helping people to understand, protect and sustain their mental health. For 2022, the Mental Health Foundation is raising awareness of the impact of loneliness on our mental health and the steps we can take to address it.

We chatted with Kisi Kent, Service Manager for the NHS Steps2Wellbeing for North Dorset to explore more about people’s wellbeing in the workplace, the impact of the pandemic, and what we can do if we need help and advice.

 

Tell us a little bit about Steps2Wellbeing?

Steps2Wellbeing is a team of NHS Therapists who offer a variety of therapies for mild to moderate anxiety and depression. Work is recognised as a huge factor in people’s wellbeing, and we collaborate with a team of employment advisors to support people to find work or stay in work.”

Why is it important to increase awareness about mental health and wellbeing?

1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace.

“Mental health problems have long been a common issue with a quarter of people likely to experience a mental health problem at some point in their lifetime. We talk to lots of people experiencing mental health problems at work, with around 15% of the workforce likely to have mental health problems at any one time. Evidence suggests that depression alone is the most expensive illness globally in terms of its economic impact through lost workdays, reduced productivity, sick pay, and cost of care. For instance, almost 13% of sickness absence in the UK is attributable to poor mental health.” (2)

What impact on mental health has the pandemic had for people?

“Since the pandemic both the frequency and complexity of mental health problems have increased. For some people, work will have contributed to the deterioration in mental health during the pandemic, particularly if they worked from home. I have seen factors such as the lack of designated space to work from home, the struggle to separate work and homelife, employers using invasive surveillance technology to check work productivity, and feelings of isolation, all contributing to work related stress.”

The toll of the pandemic on women

“Women have been particularly affected by the pandemic. Typically, we have seen that women took the main responsibility for home schooling, whilst still trying to juggle work and running the household. Therefore, it is no surprise that women in full time work are nearly twice as likely to have a common mental health problem as men (3).”

“It is also important to recognise that for many people, working from home has been a positive experience with people not wanting to return to the office. It really does depend on the environment that someone is working in, and the amount of autonomy and support employers give their staff. We know from research that the biggest risk factor for employment burnout is lack of control over work and being micromanaged.”

Why do you think this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is focused on loneliness?

“Alongside unemployment and work-related difficulties being a risk factor for mental health, loneliness also plays a huge role in our mental health and wellbeing. The pandemic resulted in enforced isolation, affecting our connectedness with others. We missed out on seeing our family and friends in a social way, and our work habits changed. Whilst its true to say that working from home can worsen loneliness, it is also possible to be in a busy work environment and still feel isolated from colleagues if everybody is busy with their work, or socially distancing.”

What advice can you give people who are experiencing loneliness right now?

“The first thing I will say is that you are not alone. If you are feeling lonely in your work environment, then it is likely that others will also be feeling lonely. Be brave and try to organise regular lunches or walks with colleagues, others will be grateful for the company too. If you work from home, you can still organise social get togethers. At a team meeting ask people to brainstorm ideas for simple social activities that can be done either in person or via a video chat. I have set up a weekly drop in lunch for my staff so that there is a protected space for people to meet up and have a chat.”

Build connections with the people around you

“If you are discussing a work-related issue with a colleague, take a few extra moments to ask them about how their day has gone or tell them a little about your day. This will help to build connections with your colleagues and make you feel closer to them. If you notice someone is particularly quiet and tends to be very reserved, make an extra effort to talk to them. It may be that they are just shy and need extra support to build connections.”

What if people are nervous about putting themselves out there?

“If all of this feels daunting and you are experiencing negative thoughts such as ‘if I arrange something no one will come’, or ‘I will make a fool of myself’ or ‘people won’t like me’, then remind yourself that these are just thoughts, not facts. Ask yourself what you would say to a friend who was having these thoughts. You can also consider talking to us at Steps2Wellbeing about cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help you shift your perspective.”

 

Together we can tackle loneliness

After the last couple years of being told to self-isolate and social distance, its no surprise that it is having a toll on our mental health and wellbeing, particularly with our work environments going through so much change. Mental Health Awareness Week is a chance to see other people’s stories, gain a new perspective and find support and understanding. You can find out more about the Foundation and this year’s campaign here Mental Health Awareness Week.

Steps2Wellbeing in Dorset

If you would like to learn more about the support available from Kisi’s team you can visit the Steps2Wellbeing website. There’s lots of information and resources available and you can refer yourself to their service by heading to the Steps2Wellbeing self-referral online form. Alternatively, you can call them on 0300 790 6828.

We also offer our temporary workers a confidential counselling service helpline. If you’d like to find out more about this our team will be happy to help.

 

 

Sources

  1. Mental Health Foundation website 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace
  2. Mental Health Foundation website Mental health statistics: 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions
  3. Mental Health Foundation website Mental health statistics: Women in full-time employment are nearly twice as likely to have a common mental health problem as full-time employed men (19.8% vs 10.9%)
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!

 

April changes for Living Wage and National Insurance

There are two big changes for employee pay this April.

The rates for the National Living Wage and the National Insurance are changing.

 

Here’s what you need to know.

From April 2022, workers will be entitled to the new rates. The National Living Wage applies to those aged 23 and over and its increased by 6.6%, to £9.50 per hour.

New Rates for employees:

  • National Living Wage £9.50
  • 22-22 year olds £9.18
  • 18-20 year olds £6.83
  • 16-17 year olds £4.81
  • Apprentice rate £4.81

 

 

This April also sees a temporary change to the employee rate for National Insurance.

For the next year, the National Insurance rate is increasing by 1.25 percentage points to 13.25%.

  • The new rate will last until April 2023
  • It will be spent on the NHS, health and social care in the UK
  • The threshold to start paying into the National Insurance pot has increased to £9,880 p/a from £9,568. If you earn less than this you won’t pay any National Insurance.

To find out more, and which rates applies to you, head to the government site National Insurance  and   National Minimum Wage Rates

Need help? The team are available to chat should you need any advice. Call us on 01747 825568.

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.

10 things I love about temping

Temping is great. Yes, I know I’m going to say that as it’s my job but there are so many reasons why choosing to temp is a great work solution for so many people. For some it’s a way to fit work around their lives. For others it’s a stop gap while they look for a permanent job.

Many employers choose to use temporary workers through an agency. Temporary workers help employers to respond to changing customer demand or to help them deliver a project on time.

There are different ways to temp. You can pick and choose different shifts or events to earn some extra money when you need it. You can pick up a short-term temping assignment that can last anything from a couple days to a few months without committing to a permanent contract. We also have ongoing assignments that can last several months. Whatever your reason, temping can provide you a great way of working around your personal circumstances.

Here’s my top 10 reasons why temping could be great for you.

 

  1. Gain great experience, fast

Temping can give you the chance to gain skills and expertise in a variety of roles, businesses, and cultures at a fast rate. You will become more adaptable and learn new skills rapidly – key attributes that employers look for when recruiting.

  1. Open new doors and network

Temping provides great networking opportunities, and many businesses who aren’t willing to commit to new permanent roles end up creating one for temps who add value to their business. Many organisations bring in temps to help them deliver a project or undergo a challenging period of change or demand on quite a fast time scale. Experienced temp workers are in high demand!

  1. Test out a potential new job or employer

Temping can provide a great opportunity for you to try your hand at something new before deciding whether it’s for you. If you are new to the market, seeking a change of career, recently been made redundant or returning to work after a period of absence, temping can provide you with opportunities to try several different organisations, roles, and projects to find the perfect fit.

  1. Improve your CV

You can quickly improve your CV with interesting temping roles – it shows you have ambition and drive, valuable transferrable skills and demonstrates that you are reliable, conscientious, and able to gel with a team quickly.

  1. Feel part of a team

Being a temp and then being offered full-time employment can be one of the most satisfying and rewarding ways of joining an organisation. Even if you must undergo a period of probation after being taken on full time, you will feel more established as part of the team. You will also get all the support and guidance you need from the Octopus team. We’re here to make sure you are happy in your assignment so its important to stay in touch and we will keep in regular contact with you and our clients.

  1. Fair, transparent pay

When you are contacted about a temping assignment, you will be given exact details about the pay rate and hours. At Octopus, you will be paid weekly based on your timesheet. You’ll also accrue holiday just like a permanent employee. There can also be overtime at enhanced rates or shift allowances too!

  1. Work/life balance, flexibility

Your temping assignment can provide you with flexibility to fit in with your current circumstances. You get to choose when you work so your home life, holidays and interests take more of a priority. If you want to pause or stop work for a period, or want to try something different, you have the flexibility to do just that.

  1. Learn new skills

Temping will give you the opportunity to see a different industry or environment at the same time as learning new skills. It is a great way to discover a new location, especially if you have recently moved. Temping can also enable you to meet new people socially – we have known many temps who have been invited back to a Christmas do long after the end of their assignment!

  1. Same rights and benefits as permanent workers

After 12 weeks as temp working through an agency, you are entitled to similar employment rights as a permanent member of staff, including the same pay, pension, and annual leave.

  1. Temping often leads to permanent employment

This happens more often than you would think. Its so important for employers to find the right fit for their existing team, so when they find a person who works well, they often offer a permanent contract rather than lose someone. Several of our Temp of the Month winners have gone on to work permanently from their assignments.

 

How we can help

At Octopus, I head up our temporary, contract and interim recruitment but you will find that we all work as a team to help find work for people. You’ll have access to exclusive bookings and assignments with the best clients in the local area. Our consultants concentrate on getting to know both you and your skill set, ensuring that you enjoy and gain from each assignment that you work in.

We provide temporary staffing and recruitment services across Dorset, Wiltshire, and Somerset, covering a variety of economic sectors including office & administration, manufacturing, agricultural, warehouse and other positions. Small or large volume, last-minute or planned, we work with a wide range of companies to use temporary staff to drive their businesses forward.

All our temps are entered into our Temp of the Month award, rewarding the hard work, reliability and dedication shown by our temp team. You can read about some of our previous winners here.

If you choose to take a temporary assignment but are still seeking permanent employment, don’t worry! We will always continue to actively seek roles for you, and we will work closely with each other to assist you in coordinating times for your permanent job interviews. Employers also often create a permanent role when they find an excellent employee through temp work!

You can read more on how to register with an agency, it really is easy and will make sure that we’re looking for the right job for you.

Why not join Octopus now? You can start the registration process here or email your CV to us at jobs@octopuspersonnel.co.uk. Or just call us in the office on 01747 825568.

Anna Wiklinska

About the author

I’m on hand for our temporary and industrial recruitment – think warehousing, production, construction and technical type jobs.

I really enjoy meeting our job hunters and helping them to find work. It’s been lovely to talk to local people and find out what matters to them.

7 Key Benefits of using Temporary Workers

What are the Key Benefits of using Temporary Workers to meet the challenges of the new normal?

As businesses begin to push forward into the new normal, flexible resourcing and ensuring your team are optimised to quickly respond to new challenges is key.  Using temporary workers can help meet many of these challenges.  Here are seven key benefits of using temporary workers which can immediately give your business a boost.

 

  1. Scale up your workforce quickly

    Using temporary workers is a fast and efficient way of scaling up your workforce at short notice.  Rapid growth can be extremely exciting, but you need the right people with the right skills to ensure success.  When a company needs to expand quickly in response to change in demand, temporary workers can help to add the capacity and skills necessary to scale quickly.

  2. Fast-track hiring

    Recruitment agencies keep pools of pre-assessed workers with verified skills who want to temp.  We personally interview every candidate, face-to-face or online, to understand their experience, skill set and aspirations.  This means you will only see temporary workers who meet your specified selection criteria and who we believe will gel with your existing team and ethos.

  3. Quickly reduce stress and pressure

    Increased workload can hamper productivity within your existing team. Temporary workers can help reduce strain, ensuring you can adjust with your existing trained and experienced staff and maintain maximum productivity.

  4. Increase adaptability and responsiveness

    Flexibility is key to rising to the new challenges in this climate.  Temps are adaptable and can switch roles with ease according to your business needs.  Temps are focused on opportunities, often more confident to navigate change and learn new skills.

  5. Try before you buy

    Using temporary members of staff is a bit like a working interview, you can see their skills and experience in action, see the impact they make on the business and decide if you need them as a permanent member of the team – with no risk!

  6. Bring in fresh skills to respond to new challenges

    Temporary staff bring new, valuable skills, new perspectives to existing processes and ideas from different companies and experiences.  Breathe some fresh air into your business with a different kind of employee, embrace the new ideas they carry with them and enthuse your team. You may well find your next team member or future leader!

  7. Control your costs

    Temporary workers allow you to add staff without increasing your permanent headcount and costs.  You can hire multiple temps to cover spikes in demand, with no long-term commitment should demand or workload decrease.  Temp staff are provided at an hourly rate which includes pay, National Insurance, holiday and pension so there are no hidden costs.

Experts in Temporary Recruitment

From urgent cover to planned project work, Octopus Personnel are a great choice for reliable, skilled, flexible workers.  We have a pre-screened workforce ready to cover your staffing needs and the dedicated back office staff to manage all aspects of administration and payroll with efficiency, allowing you to focus on driving your business forward.  We are committed to building a valued and diverse temporary workforce, enabling us to find the best candidates for you.

 

How can Octopus Personnel help?

At Octopus Personnel, we are here to help and support you.  From helping you explore the key benefits of using temporary workers for your business to finding the right temporary staff, to fully briefing them on health & safety and procedures for your company, to ensuring you remain compliant with all legislation, even as it evolves, we are here at the end of the phone to help you utilise flexible resourcing and maintain your key services.

Whatever challenges you are facing, whether you need temporary staff, advice, or simply a chat, Octopus Personnel are here to support you.  Call us on 01747 825568 or visit the website to request a call back.

Anna Wiklinska

About the author

I’m on hand for our temporary and industrial recruitment – think warehousing, production, construction and technical type jobs.

I really enjoy meeting our job hunters and helping them to find work. It’s been lovely to talk to local people and find out what matters to them.

Get to know us – Bronya

Want to get to know us a little better? Well now you can!

 

At Octopus Personnel we think of ourselves as being in the people business and we love to really get to know our job hunters and clients so we can do our best to help. It seems only fair that you can get to know us as well!

I asked our team at Octopus Personnel some questions to find out a little more about them.

This time it’s Bronya’s turn! Bronya is our Office Guru and adopted office baker!

  1. Best part of your job?

    Getting to talk to such an interesting variety of people.

  2. Starter, main or pudding?

    Starter…..or both if I’m particularly peckish!

  3. If your pet could talk to you, what do you think they would say?

    Stop trying to pick me up for cuddles!

  4. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

    To have magical powers to grant wishes! Without living in a lamp of course!

  5. Coffee or tea?

    Coffee – a flat white is my go to.

  6. Houw would you describe your job to a 4-year old?

    I chat to people on the phone all day and get to plan people’s days for them.

  7. Name something you’d love to learn?

    I’d love to be fluent in another language and be an amazing pastry maker. So French would probably come in handy for all the yummy French patisserie!

  8. Do you have any secret talents?

    I’m quite double jointed!

  9. What do you love most about Octopus?

    The team are just so lovely to work with.

  10. Finish this sentence: “It’s never too late to…”

    Have a cheeseboard!!!

 

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.

Get to know us – Katherine

Want to get to know us a little better? Well now you can!

 

At Octopus Personnel we think of ourselves as being in the people business and we love to really get to know our job hunters and clients so we can do our best to help. It seems only fair that you can get to know us as well!

I asked our team at Octopus Personnel some questions to find out a little more about them.

First up is our newest member Katherine!

Katherine joined us at the end of October as one of our Recruitment Consultants and she’s already flying like an eagle!

  1. Coffee or tea?

    Definitely tea all the way!  Has to be milky though.

  2. Starter, main or pudding?

    Main course is definitely the best part of meal for me.  Sometimes, on the downside I don’t leave room for pudding as I love a generous helping!

  3. If your pet could talk to you, what do you think they would say?

    Being the proud owner of four guinea-pigs, I think they would ask me when the next meal is coming or better still, if I could just leave the fridge open for them.  Their appetite is quite insatiable!

  4. Book or movie?

    These days I am so busy juggling work and family life that it would have to be a great film.  I love a good comedy, rom-com or a period drama like Bridgerton.

  5. What’s your favourite time of the year?

    I actually love summertime and Christmas the most.  The smell of freshly cut grass, BBQ sausages and light nights give me such a positive vibe.  But I also love a real Christmas tree in my lounge, the house in full decoration and snuggling up all warm and cosy with a cheeky glass of Advocaat!

  6. If you could live a day as any one animal, which one would you choose?

    A bird of prey would be my ideal animal as I would absolutely love to fly.  The higher the better.  Total freedom and a great view.  Not sure I’d enjoy eating mice though!

  7. Name something you’d love to learn?

    Salsa dancing.  I used to do ballet as a child and never had any dance classes since.  I was always keen on dance so would love a Salsa club to open in Gillingham.

  8. Do you have any secret talents?

    I used to be a Mortgage Adviser which is how I first began interviewing clients.  Also, 20 years ago I wanted to learn more about hair, so I trained as a Hairdresser at evening school just for fun.

  9. What do you love most about Octopus?

    The team are absolutely fantastic here at Octopus.  Everyone has been so welcoming to me and even though I still feel new to this role, the support and encouragement from Sandra and the team has been so reassuring.  The same level of care and support is mirrored in our client and candidate interactions which is what sets us apart as a brand.

  10. Finish this sentence: “It’s never too late to…”

    Start exercising. During covid-19 I started following Lucy Wyndham-Read 7-minute videos to speed up metabolism and burn calories.  Being in lockdown meant that I was not able to get out and about as much as usual and found myself chained to my desk.  I still do these short videos every day to boost energy levels, reduce stress and feel motivated before and after work.

 

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!

 

What will bring you joy in 2022?

 

Here we are in 2022! As a New Year begins, there’s always a lot of noise on social media about “New Me”, “New Start”, “New Resolutions”, but along with this comes a lot of pressure to make big changes in our lives, and just like a new fad diet, these can be hard to stick to.

Instead of the usual list of New Year Resolutions that are thrown out the window by February, give yourself some time to think about the small positive changes you’d like to make for a more balanced lifestyle. Think about what brings you joy and work towards bringing more into your life. It might be a de-clutter, some exercise or maybe learning that new skill that you’ve been thinking about for ages. Just like saving pennies, small realistic changes can make a big long-term difference to your well-being.

You might want to ask yourself:

  • Why am I doing this?
  • What will make me happier?
  • How do I change it?
  • Will it fit into my life circumstances?

I asked the team what will bring them joy in 2022.

 

Katherine

I don’t do resolutions but last year I started a 7 minute per day exercise routine that I can manage to squeeze into my busy work/home life. This has really kept me sane and I’m feeling healthier and fitter. I find it great for stress relief as well.

I’ve decided to continue this, and I am already on a new 7-day challenge. I know this is something I can stick to as I’ve already made it part of my everyday life but I like to add some variety and try new challenges to keep it interesting – bring it on 2022!

 

Erin

A couple of years ago I took a deep breath and took some time out of work to gain a new qualification (yes, at my age lol). I’m so glad I did, because it led me to Octopus and the most amazing group of people to work with.

So, this year, I’m going to re-look at what training can help me do my job better and take some free online courses. There’s a lot of professional bodies that offer free skills courses and you never know, it could land you your dream job or promotion. Your employer may be able to talk to you about courses that can benefit your job and there’s lots to search from online or even your local library!

Don’t forget you can chat to our team about your job goals and what you might need to do to find your ideal work situation – whether that’s by getting experience with temping, doing some training, or finding a new job.

 

Anna

I do love to organise, so I think this month I will take some time to de-clutter – both at work and at home.

It’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed after the Christmas madness so I like to take some time to think about what I need or want around me and get rid of what does not bring me joy!

Take it a bit at a time, whether it be a desk, cupboard or a whole room. Give yourself some time to achieve your task and work through it methodically. It can help to ask yourself – do I need this or do I love this? If the answer to both is no, then it might be time to repurpose or recycle.

Every little helps so don’t overwhelm yourself with the task and you’ll be surprised at how you feel at the end – as long as the kids don’t come home and un-do all your good work of course!

 

Bronya

As the team here know, I love to bake and explore new recipes. This January, I’m going to take advantage of all the healthy ideas and ingredients in the shops to experiment with some healthy recipes to add to my repertoire.

Have you ever said to yourself “I’ll start that diet on Monday?” It’s so easy to make big promises to yourself and fall at the first hurdle. I find it so much easier to start small and find out what I enjoy – I think that applies to most things in life, not just food!

I’ve already started trying out some meat free recipes and thinking about how I can work in more nutritional ingredients without compromising on flavour. I want to find what works so I will be trying new things, taking myself out of my comfort zone and making what works for me, whatever day of the week!

 

 

Has our team inspired you? Will you be making a change in 2022?

Whatever you do, accept that change doesn’t often happen straight away. A New Year is a great time to review what might be working (or not working) for you but don’t forget you’re in it for the long haul and fads don’t bring about long-term results so be kind to yourself.

While we might not be able to help you with a declutter(!), if you’re looking to try a new job or a new way of working, we’d love to help you. Take the first step by setting up an appointment with one of our team on 01747 825568.

Happy New Year!

 

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.

Advent Calendar

Here is our 2021 Video Advent Calendar full of our favourite Octopus moments from this year. We hope you enjoy watching.

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!

 

The Jobsmobile at the Job Fair in Sturminster Newton

On Thursday 21st October, The Jobsmobile took its first outing to The Job Fair at The Exchange in Sturminster Newton. After the previous day’s torrential rains Sandra would have been forgiven for being a little nervous about the local flooding, but the sun came out and Sandra and Alice arrived smiling, excited to attend our first Job Fair since lockdown began.

With a prime position reserved at the front of The Exchange for The Jobsmobile, our new mobile office created a lot of buzz from the offset, and Alice was inside the hall to chat to visitors about our current jobs.

The Jobsmobile

The Job Fair was just the job to talk to local people about their job hunting and how we can help everyone on their job search.

Many people think that recruitment agencies are only for those in senior positions, but recruiters can actually help you find full-time, part-time or temping opportunities, no matter what stage of your life.

Jobs Fair Sturminster Newton

If you missed the Job Fair, here are a few of the tips that Sandra and Alice chatted with visitors about.

Job Hunting with Octopus Personnel

Recruitment agencies essentially exist to help companies fill their vacancies – and to help you find a job.

We work with a wide range of the best employers in Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire. They are busy driving their businesses forward and use us to meet and select the best candidates they can short-list from. This offers a significant time saving – especially when they’re hiring for lots of roles.

At Octopus Personnel, we meet with every single person we register to get to know you – your aspirations, personality, talents and experience – so we can make the perfect match between you and the employer. Then we help you with preparing for work, ensuring you are interview-ready by helping you with your CV and giving you interview tips.

The Job Fair at Sturminster Newton

Our service is completely free to job seekers! It’s the employers who pay us to find them workers.

  • We have jobs you won’t find elsewhere! Many companies choose recruitment agencies as their only method of sourcing new employees.
  • We are experts in the local job market. We have an extensive client list and work with some of the best employers in the South West. The cornerstone of our success is our knowledge and special relationships we have forged with employers and job seekers in the local community.
  • You’ll get expert guidance from a professional. You’ll have a dedicated consultant who’ll be able to give you loads of information, including where the best jobs are that fit your profile, what particular employers are looking for, and how to gain that all important experience and qualifications to boost your CV and show you are prepared for working.
  • Your success is our success! We want you to succeed, and will always go that extra mile in terms of advice, support and finding the right fit. We can help you to improve your CV and coach you for interviews – our support can be a great bonus in a competitive job market.

The process is nice and simple.

  • Try and have your CV ready. There are lots of guides on the internet and our website has handy tips and advice. Make sure you’ve had a go at getting the basic information down, then we can help improve it! Submit your CV to enquires@octopuspersonnel.co.uk
  • Book an appointment with one of our consultants on 01747 825568 if you haven’t already done so at the Job Fair. We can meet you at the office or over video call such as FaceTime, Zoom or WhatsApp.
  • When you come to see us, relax! It’s easier said than done, but you’ll perform a lot better if you try to take the whole process in your stride. Use your experience with us as a practice run, and we’ll have plenty of tips and advice for you before you head out to your interview with an employer.

It’s much easier preparing for work with our guidance! Remember, we’re here to help so book an appointment to register with us and keep in touch. If you’d like to find out a bit more about the registration process, read our blog – How to register with a recruitment agency.

If you visited us at the Job Fair, we hope you found your visit useful and we’d love to hear what you thought. Give us a call or pop us an email if we can help.

Many thanks to Jacqui and the team over at Stur Biz who organised such a successful event to help local people. You can find out more about Stur Biz by visiting their website: sturminster-newton.org.uk

The Jobsmobile

Our Jobsmobile is now officially on the move. If you’re an employer or community service and would like to find out more about our on-site recruitment drives with The Jobsmobile, give the team a call on 01747 825568.

The Jobsmobile

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!

 

Macmillan Coffee Morning 2021

Ready, Steady, Bake! The team at Octopus Personnel never need much of an excuse to get their whisks at the ready, but Macmillan Coffee Morning seemed the perfect reason to reinstate our office Bake Off.

Sandra, Alice, Anna, Erin and Bronya whipped up some fabulous cakes to raise money for Macmillan Coffee Morning.

We had some delectable treats on display for our Macmillan Coffee Morning, and our visitors were able to choose from Lemon & Raspberry Bundt Cake, Raspberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake, Fudgy Caramel Cake, Kinder Flapjacks, Brown Butter Apple Blondies, Strawberry Victoria Sponge and Mocha Cheesecake Brownies.

With all monies raised going straight to Macmillan Cancer Support, our visitors were very generous in their donations for our cakes. Our visitors then voted for their favourite cake to crown the winner of our first Great Octopus Bake Off of 2021.

Thanks to very generous support we were able to raise £72 at our Macmillan Coffee Morning and the donations have been sent to Macmillan Cancer Support.

All the cakes were scrumptious, but the winner of The Great Octopus Bake Off October 2021 is Sandra!

Thank you to everyone who supported our Macmillan Coffee Morning 2021. See you again next year!

 

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!