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!

 

Blue Monday? Try being Mindful

For Blue Monday, Lucie, Octopus Personnel Office Manager, describes 5 ways to be more mindful, whether you are in the office or WFH, and take care of your mental health.

Today is Blue Monday, a name for the day in January (typically the third Monday of the month) claimed to be the most depressing day of the year.  There is, however, no scientific evidence to back this claim up – it originated in marketing campaign designed to get you to buy a holiday.  This year’s Blue Monday may be harder than most we’ve seen, but there are still things we can do, even when working from home, to help reframe our mood.

We all have ‘good and bad’ days

Everyone’s mental health fluctuates.  There can also be some seasonal variation, for example, in Winter, when bodily changes affecting our hormones can impact our eating and sleeping patterns and our mood.  The shorter days make it harder to exercise and the long, cold nights can make us crave poor food choices.  Whilst these effects can be compounded by Lockdown, many of us have managed to make some small changes during these times to help us prioritise our well being.  Small changes lead to big impacts if you keep going.

Looking after your Mental Health whilst at home

Although many of the social and physical activities we love are not currently available to us, it helps to try and see Lockdown as a different period in your life, not necessarily a bad one.  Stay in contact with the people who matter to you – although you’ll need to connect in different ways such as Zoom, social media, email or on the phone.  Take time to notice some of the benefits of this new rhythm of life and create a daily routine which prioritises looking after yourself – ensure this routine includes self-care during work hours.

Beat Blue Monday!

If you don’t want to let Blue Monday get you down today, why not take some positive steps?  Your mental health should be a priority every single day, so check out my simple 5 step guide to using mindfulness to improve your mental health at work.

Infographic - 5 Ways to be more mindful - Octopus Personnel Guide to Mindful Working

If your job, or lack of one, is the thing that’s affecting your mood, why not come and see Octopus Personnel?  We take the well-being of our staff and candidates seriously.  Years of industry expertise, a healthy dose of mindfulness and outstanding relationships with our clients, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to help you find the perfect role.  Register now here or call the office on 01747 825568 to find out how we can support you whether you are looking for temporary or permanent employment.

Lucie Octopus Personnel Recruitment Consultant

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: Being ‘Mindful’ at Work

This is a Mental Health Awareness Week with a difference.  With the unprecedented levels of change and anxiety about the impact of Coronavirus on our loved ones, on the economy and country as a whole, Lucie, Octopus Personnel Recruitment Consultant, describes 4 ways to promote good mental health during this time and to use mindfulness to support your team.

You and your team have probably faced significant adjustments to your working environment, whether you are now working from home or following social distancing rules in the workplace.  Although there are emotional and practical challenges to handle with both of these scenarios, your whole team can benefit from a mindful approach to work and this week is a great time to reconnect with your team members to make sure everyone is connected and managing the ‘new normal’.

1. Be mindful of your time

Without the normal signals of the day, such as face-to-face meetings, lunch outings, making a cup of tea for everyone in the office, the day can seem to blur into one long slog.  It is very tempting to start answering your work emails on your phone from the moment you wake up, and hard to ‘finish’ at the end of the day, meaning many are working longer, but not necessarily more productive hours.

Without these rhythmic breaks to the day, many of us can feel fatigued and burnt-out.  So how can we bring mental health awareness to the forefront and use mindfulness to help us adjust to this ‘new normal’?

In its simplest form, mindfulness means awareness. Practising mindfulness offers a way to pay attention to the present moment. This awareness of ourselves and the world around us can improve our mental wellbeing. Slowing down can feel against common sense, but in some ways, it’s the kind of recharging you need most to get even more done. Mindful employees are well employees!  Taking breaks throughout the day is key to being productive, and you can help shape your team’s day to embed these habits.

Image showing an alarm clock - Be mindful of time - Mental Health Awareness at Work

If you want your employees to be mindful and take breaks, you can use your schedule to show it’s a priority. Allocate slots for ‘taking lunch’, making sure people are stepping away from their work.  Book zoom lunches were your team can socialise.  Encourage them to take a walk or go into the garden to have a little quiet time to regroup.  Be firm about start and finish times and thank your team for their hard work and make sure they sign off.  Open up a discussion about what works to help them switch off.

Lead by example and help normalise taking breaks from work or getting outside for short strolls: during lunch breaks, in the morning before checking emails, or even while on calls.  Productivity will increase.  When getting outside isn’t feasible for all of your team, share some movement and exercise videos to get short bursts of movement throughout the day.  Get them moving with Joe Wicks in the morning – hilarious if you do it as a team over Zoom.   Ask everyone to track how far the walk/run in a week and add it all together to see where in the world the team could have reached this week.

Wherever possible, offer flexible working.  Use Project Management tools, such Microsoft Teams or Basecamp, to provide real-time solutions for team members working remotely. Allowing team members to adapt their hours, making employees feel valued and, in turn, produce even better work. As a parent during this pandemic, your childcare duties don’t stop when you sit down at your desk for work in the morning. A family-friendly work approach is vital to get the best from your employees.  Listen carefully to their needs, understand the challenges faced by working parents, be open to their solutions which balance business needs and their childcare demands.

2.  Stay connected: being together whilst apart

Whether social distancing in the workplace, or working from home, one of the biggest challenges facing us in the ‘new normal’ is the feeling of isolation, a definite focus for mental health awareness.  There has never been a more important time to work on team bonding, despite the social distance.  “No work talk” social hangouts, Friday team drinks, quizzes and find me a picture of you (when you were six, of you walking outside, of your favourite hobby…) can promote easy discussion, help your team bond and help them connect to times and activities which brought them pleasure before.  Get to know everyone properly and you’ll get the best from them.

Image of a man outside on a conference call on a laptop - Stay connected - Mental Health Awareness at Work

Be curious and open up discussions about how this new situation is working for everyone.  Review the approach you have taken so far and listen carefully to comments and suggestions from your team.  Listening to your employees is vital. Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.  Listening to your employees is at the forefront of ensuring equality and inclusiveness in the workplace – and getting the best from everyone!

We do our best work when our mind and body are at ease.  When it’s your turn to share, show your mental health awareness  and keep the mindful focus with educational resources such as mindfulness apps to download, share your tips on creating the right environment for the right work mode and use little prompt cards/notes you can share remotely on quick mindful exercises. Empower your employees with my 5 Simple Ways to improve your Well-being, reduce Work Stress and increase Productivity blog here.  Encourage your team to find a couple of places that provide comfortable working space if they are working from home.  Changing where you are working during the day is a simple way of resetting your mind.

3. Recognition matters: get creative

Perhaps even more vital than before, recognition for hard work and effort is vital in these times.  Feedback and recognition should always tie back to a company’s core values and mission. Employees want to be reminded that their work has purpose and meaning – making a difference makes you happy!

You are already probably excellent at recognising your team’s effort, but make sure your praise is specific and public. Praise them, nominate them for awards and publicly say that you’re grateful for their work. It motivates them to do more great work and will pay off in the company’s success.  This is no less true now.  Use the praise function on teams.  Make it specific, genuine and talk about impact.  Share larger gains on your company’s social media.  Recognise those individuals with foresight who are driving the company forward.

Image of a smiling face icon in a frame - Recognition matters - Mental Health Awareness at Work

4. Be a role model: engage and lead

Finally, model the right thing! If you want your team to keep their focus on mental health awareness, you need to make sure you are making those healthy choices too! It’s really important to encourage employees to be self-aware about their own personalities and tendencies, as some people are more prone to imbalances and stress than others. Through your words, actions, and example, emphasise the need to continually assess one’s goals to determine what brings satisfaction, inner peace, and balance. Empowering your employees to take control over their work and home lives can have a profound impact on their job satisfaction and performance, enabling you to do what’s best and most effective for your company.

Image of Dorset Coastline - Be a role model - Mental Health Awareness at Work

Show how much you value your team and re-energise and engage them through CPD. Investing in the team in this way during this time gives you a more dynamic and cohesive team for the challenges ahead, ensures they remain invested in the business and provides a change in pace which often helps employees see their work, and find their motivation, in new ways.  Be their coach.  Develop their strengths and help them improve with weaknesses.

Have I convinced you? What have you got to lose?

Infographic showing 4 Business Benefits of Recruiting through Octopus Personnel

At Octopus Personnel, we take the well-being of our staff and candidates seriously. Years of industry expertise, a healthy dose of mindfulness and outstanding relationships with our clients, and grasp of the needs of their business, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to the right employee who will drive your business forward. Explore our services here or call the office on 01747 825568 to find out how we can support your staffing needs, be they temporary or permanent.

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!

 

Be #grateful so you’ll be happy!

Lucie, Octopus Personnel Office Manager, explains what the team are grateful for this week.

People who are grateful tend to be happier, healthier and more fulfilled. Being grateful can help people cope with stress and can even have a beneficial effect on heart rate. This action is easy to do yet its benefits have been scientifically proven. In tests, people who tried it each night for just one week were happier and less depressed one month, three months and six months later.

So, what are we grateful for?

Octopus Temps of the Month - Our fantastic candidates - what are the Octopus Personnel Team grateful for?

Firstly, YOU! Our fantastic candidates!  We are so pleased to work with such dedicated people who go above and beyond every single time.  Don’t forget we are here to help and support you in any way we can.

Images of the Octopus Team together - Our amazing team - what are the Octopus Personnel Team grateful for?

Secondly, that we are part of such a fantastic team.  Remotely or together in the office, what makes the Octopus experience so different is the team!  Alice summed it up perfectly, “Even though we are working remotely, finding surprises like these chocolates Sandra sent or brownies left on my wall from Mike show what a great team we have.”

Images of family and friends - Our Families & Friends - what are the Octopus Personnel Team grateful for?

Thirdly, for our families.  Whether together or further apart, we are so grateful for their support and love.  Whether getting out and enjoying the countryside in our hour’s exercise, working together to support the NHS (Donna’s girls have painted on old flipchart paper from the office and are wearing Flavourworks T-shirts – reduce, reuse and recycle!) cuddling up with the unconditional love of our pets or connecting with family further afield through video call, we are so grateful for time together.

Images of Dorset - what are the Octopus Personnel Team grateful for?

Fourthly, for the stunning place we live in.  For the opportunity to wander through this fantastic countryside, and for all the places we miss and can’t connect with at the moment – like the sunset at Sandbanks in the bottom image.  Donna can’t wait to get back there!

Images of the team out together - Team Nights Out! - what are the Octopus Personnel Team grateful for?

Fifthly, we are grateful for hope!  Remembering all the fantastic times we have shared as team – especially on nights out! – and hoping to be back together soon to do it all again.  The Octopus team have always had such a fantastic time, from bake-offs to bowling, but now that supportive team dynamic is so vital to keep driving the business forward and really taking care of each other.

We are so glad to have all of YOU as part of the team and we are so much stronger together!  So give us a call (01747 825568), email us enquiries@octopuspersonnel.co.uk or visit the website and use the contact us form so we can call you back if we can help you in any way.  We’d love to hear from you – let us know how work is going and what you are grateful for!

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!

 

Happiness at Work: 4 routes to building a happy and productive work culture

For International Week of Happiness at Work 2019, Lucie, Octopus Personnel Recruitment Consultant, describes 4 ways to build a culture of happiness and fulfilment at work.

It’s widely known that a happy workplace improves employees’ outcomes. When the atmosphere is friendly, work is no longer just a necessity but a pleasure. Perhaps most importantly for many businesses, a happy workplace boosts productivity. And it works both ways. High productivity creates a happy workplace. So employee happiness is a rising priority for many organisations, large and small. So how can we make employees happy? Check out these four possible routes to employee happiness and productivity…

People laughing around computers - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

1. Build it and they will come; a mindful workspace

In its simplest form, mindfulness means awareness. Practising mindfulness offers a way to pay attention to the present moment. This awareness of ourselves and the world around us can improve our mental wellbeing. Mindfulness can help to reduce stress and anxiety and conflict, and increase resilience and emotional intelligence, while improving communication in the workplace. Slowing down can feel against common sense, but in some ways, it’s the kind of recharging you need most to get even more done. Mindful employees are happy employees!

Infographic - 70% of employers have improved physical environments at work - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

If you want your employees to be mindful, you can use the workplace to show it’s a priority. Allocate spaces in the office that can become quiet zones. These are the places people can go to recharge, do deep work, concentrate on the task at hand or simply switch off for a few minutes. Fitting out these spaces with soft furnishings – sofas, cushions, rugs, blankets and plants – can help to create a cozy, warm and relaxing environment.

Sunshine on a worker's back - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

Keep the mindful focus with educational resources such as mindfulness apps to download, tips on finding the right environment for the right work mode and books or prompt cards on quick mindful exercises. You could even provide noise-cancelling headphones and a tablet with relaxing playlists or guided meditation apps. Empower your employees with my 5 Simple Ways to improve your Well-being, reduce Work Stress and increase Productivity blog here.

2. Recognition matters: listen carefully and value effort

Listening to your employees is vital. Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. As this Salesforce report finds, ensuring that employees’ voices are heard needs to be part of a larger push for equality and inclusiveness in the workplace.

Companies with greater gender and ethnic diversity consistently outperform the competition. They more accurately reflect the diversity of society and reach more potential customers, and they incorporate a broader range of perspectives into their decision-making and strategy. Inviting more people to the table, and ensuring their voices are heard, is a win-win for everyone. So make sure you are giving those opportunities for your team members to volunteer ideas, be they about streamlining processes, marketing, new aspects of the business or strengthening the team.

Inforgaphic - recognition inspires people - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

As part of this dialogue, ongoing feedback is absolutely vital for employee happiness at work. Forbes argues that recognition is the number one thing employees say their manager could give them to inspire them to produce great work. Global studies prove that when it comes to inspiring people to be their best at work, nothing else comes close—not even higher pay, promotion, autonomy or training. Feedback and recognition should always tie back to a company’s core values and mission. Employees want to be reminded that their work has purpose and meaning – making a difference makes you happy!

You are already probably excellent at recognising your team’s effort, but make sure your praise is specific and public. Praise them, nominate them for awards, give bonuses, and publically say that you’re grateful for their work. It motivates them to do more great work and will pay off in the company’s success.

Woman writing at a desk - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

3. Training and Investment

There’s nothing worse than working with something you don’t feel good at. It makes people feel like they’re being tortured and their productivity falls dramatically. Improving your employees’ skills is the best thing you can do for them and for your business. A disenchanted employee who dislikes their role can be re-energised and engaged through CPD, feeling valued and heard at work. Send them to training, hire a coach or provide someone who would help them develop their strengths and improve with weaknesses.

Infographic 96% of employees believe empathy increases retention - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

4. Work/Life Balance

Fostering a work-life balance for your employees requires a little creativity and discipline, but the results are overwhelming positive. Making this a priority can increase employee satisfaction, productivity and company image. But how can you balance productivity and happiness at work?

Flexible working, wherever possible, in combination with Project Management tools, such as instant messaging, can provide real-time solutions when team members work remotely. Allowing team members to adapt their hours and work locations means employees feel valued and, in turn, produce even better work. As a parent, childcare duties don’t always stop when you leave for work in the morning. A family-friendly work environment has proven to benefit both employers and employees in a variety of different industries. Understanding the challenges faced by working parents and having realistic communication which allows them to present solutions which balance business needs and their childcare demands.

Man with a post-it saying Be Happy on his forehead - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

When employees feel a greater sense of control and ownership over their own lives, they tend to have better relationships with management and are able to leave work issues at work and home issues at home. Balanced employees tend to feel more motivated and less stressed out at work, which thereby increases company productivity and reduces the number of conflicts among co-workers and management.

Finally, model the right thing! If you want your team to keep a work/life balance, you need to make sure you are making those healthy choices too! It’s really important to encourage employees to be self-aware about their own personalities and tendencies, as some people are more prone to imbalances and stress than others. Through your words, actions, and example, emphasize the need to continually assess one’s goals to determine what brings satisfaction, inner peace, and balance. Empowering your employees to take control over their work and home lives can have a profound impact on their job satisfaction and performance, enabling you to do what’s best and most effective for your company.

Have I convinced you? What have you got to lose?

Infographic showing 4 Business Benefits of using Octopus Personnel to Recruit

At Octopus Personnel, we take the well-being of our staff and candidates seriously. Years of industry expertise, a healthy dose of mindfulness and outstanding relationships with our clients, and grasp of the needs of their business, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to the right employee who will drive your business forward. Explore our services here or call the office on 01747 825568 to find out how we can support your staffing needs, be they temporary or permanent.

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!

 

Get to know the newly appointed Recruitment Office Manager

Lucie talks about work/life balance, her inspiration being a Recruitment Consultant and her new role as Office Manager at Octopus Personnel.

Congratulations, Lucie! How did you celebrate the news of your promotion?

Paul, my partner, and I had some champagne and shared the celebrations with our cats!

Lucie's cats - Octopus Personnel Office Manager and Recruitment Consultant

What made you decide to become a Recruitment Consultant?

I’ve always worked in welfare, supporting people to find the right jobs for them and Octopus Personnel mirrored my values. I have had a great couple of years!

What would you like to be known for?

I’d like to be known for making a change to how staff are supported in the working environment inspiring a positive, proactive attitude to mental health. Octopus are already a dynamic employer in terms of mental health, and I can’t wait to build on this firm foundation.

What inspires you to keep going when the going gets tough?

If people were to describe me, they would always say that I am resilient and I believe when things get difficult to focus on being the best that I can be.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

I am a true believer in the phrase “Everything happens for a reason”. It might not be clear at that moment, but reasons will reveal themselves in time.

How do you achieve work/life balance?

Octopus Personnel promotes a great work/life balance, but also having your own hobbies and interests outside of work is really important. Mindfulness and meditation, for me, has really helped and I’ve just started running!

Sign which says mindfulness - Octopus Personnel Office Manager and Recruitment Consultant

What are the biggest challenges facing Recruitment Consultants and Agencies at the moment?

It’s a candidate’s market, so there is fierce competition to attract the best talent, not to mention ongoing economic uncertainty and candidates who know what they want from their job search, so recruiters are under a lot of pressure. At Octopus, we strive to provide an exceptional level of service to our candidates and clients alike to meet the challenges of the current market and find the right people for the right jobs.

What’s your best advice to job seekers?

Research the job you have applied for, have questions prepared – these are the things I would like to see more of. Dust your suit off and get the iron out!

What’s your best advice for handling rejection at interview?

Take some time to reflect. Was the role right for you? What can you learn from it so you can improve in the next interview? Your perfect opportunity is round the corner.

What surprising lessons have you learnt along the way?

Never to be surprised and be prepared!

Lucie - Octopus Personnel Office Manager and Recruitment Consultant

If you are looking for work, or looking for workers, give us a call!

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.

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 Mindful Office: 5 Simple Ways to improve your Well-being, reduce Work Stress and increase Productivity

Lucie, Octopus Personnel Recruitment Consultant, gives top tips to help increase your wellbeing and productivity in the office through being mindful.

From Google to the NHS and Transport for London, everyone is being mindful. Even Harvard Business School includes mindfulness principles in its leadership programmes. In fact, mindfulness fits seamlessly into the modern way of life – and business! People are much more conscious about looking after themselves in both a mental and physical capacity, and much more proactive in looking for ways to do so in everyday life.

What is mindfulness?

In its simplest form, mindfulness means awareness. Practising mindfulness offers a way to pay attention to the present moment. This awareness of ourselves and the world around us can improve our mental wellbeing.

Modern day living and work means we are constantly busy, constantly doing, where our minds are consciously and subconsciously busy remembering, reflecting and deliberating. This process can negatively impact our mood, with feelings of anxiety, depression or becoming stuck in a negative state of mind.

So, how can it help you?

Have you ever have so much on your plate that you don’t even have a free moment to appreciate your progress? When it comes to having a to-do list full of heavy-hitter items, you’re probably not the only one who feels more overwhelmed than accomplished. But, if it is getting to the point that every day is like that, then adding a little mindfulness to your schedule might be a solution for you!

Mindfulness can help to reduce stress and anxiety and conflict, and increase resilience and emotional intelligence, while improving communication in the workplace. Slowing down can feel against common sense, but in some ways, it’s the kind of recharging you need most to get even more done.

Slow down and be mindful to feel better and achieve more!

Mindfulness expert Mirabai Bush, famous for introducing the practise to Google, says:

“Introducing mindfulness into the workplace does not prevent conflict from arising or difficult issues from coming up. But when difficult issues do arise… they are more likely to be skillfully acknowledged, held, and responded to by the group. Over time with mindfulness, we learn to develop the inner resources that will help us navigate through difficult, trying, and stressful situations with more ease, comfort, and grace.”

There is no office in the land which couldn’t benefit from their employees being better able to handle the challenges of modern employment, so exploring mindful practise seems like a good idea!

How often do I need to do it?

Regular practice of mindfulness improves the brain’s function and ability to repair itself. However, the ‘use it or lose it approach’ we take to physical exercise also applies to our brains, so it’s important to practise regularly. Whilst it may feel difficult to fit that 10 minutes in each day, if you use my simple ideas below and add mindful practice to your calendar, you will soon be feeling the benefits!

Realistically, how can you be mindful in a busy office?

The Octopus Office is a hub of endeavour! The phone never stops; the team are flitting from desk to desk to collaborate and support each other; candidates are completing paperwork and being interviewed throughout the day; bake-offs, birthdays and general bustle; all this buzz might make mindfulness seem like an unattainable goal. However, with a few simple, practical skills, every office can become mindful.

1. Take Mindful Breaks

Focused breathing can do wonders for you in any situation. The most basic way to do mindful breathing is simply to focus your attention on your breath, the inhale and exhale. You can do this whilst making a cup of tea, or sitting at your desk. Pop your phone on do not disturb for 5 minutes and just notice your breath, inhale and exhale, gently bringing your attention back to your breath. Try some of these under-10-minute breathing exercises to ease your mood immediately.

2. Use Mindful Observation

This exercise is simple but incredibly powerful because it helps you notice and appreciate your environment. You can use this at your desk, on the way to work, or the way home. The exercise is designed to help you connect with the beauty of the natural environment.

  • Choose a natural object from within your immediate environment and focus on watching it for a minute or two. This could be a flower or an insect, or even the clouds or a tree through the office window.
  • Don’t do anything except notice the thing you are looking at. Simply relax into watching for as long as your concentration allows.
  • Look at this object as if you are seeing it for the first time.
  • Look at every aspect of its shape, and allow yourself to only focus on this.
  • Allow yourself to connect with its relationship and purpose within the natural world.

3. Have a Mindful lunchtime

Just because you’re taking a break for lunch time doesn’t mean that isn’t still a good time to be connected with your surroundings. Eating consciously will make sure you’re not simply shovelling down everything mindlessly—which in turn means you won’t be crashing later.

Don’t eat when you’re feeling distracted, stressed or overwhelmed. Instead, sit down and take three deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, and take a moment to be thankful for your food. Aim to eat when you can comfortably sit down to really enjoy your meals. Instead of eating in your car or at your desk, take a moment to sit down and bring all your focus and attention to the food. This can help you to consciously create the body and health that you truly desire.

4. Mindfully listen

This exercise is designed to open your ears to sound and to train your mind to be less swayed by distractions.

Select a piece of music you have never heard before. At the Octopus Office, we have an Alexa playing all the time, but you can use Youtube, your phone, whatever works for you. Personally, I love Chill FM! You may have something in your own collection that you have never listened to, or you might choose to turn the radio dial until something catches your ear.

  • Close your eyes and put on your headphones.
  • Try not to get drawn into judging the music by its genre, title or artist name before it has begun. Instead, just allow yourself to get lost in the journey of the song.
  • Allow yourself to explore every aspect of track. Even if the music isn’t to your liking at first, let go of your dislike and just allow yourself to experience the music.
  • Explore the song by listening to the difference between each instrument.
  • Listen to the vocals: the sound of the voice, its range and tones. If there is more than one voice, separate them out as you did in step 4.

The idea is to listen carefully. Don’t think, just hear.

5. Take a Mindful Approach to Emails

Taking a moment to perform a short exercise before sending an email can be an easy way to lower your stress levels and integrate mindfulness into your everyday work life.

Before writing your email, stop and take three deep breaths, focusing on each inhale and exhale. You can repeat to yourself, “Breathing in, I thank the power of the Internet. Breathing out, I am fully conscious of my current email actions.” Then, complete your email, input your recipient and cc-recipient addresses, and click send on the email.

But I’m too busy to be mindful?

Feel like you can’t “schedule in” mindfulness? Science says taking breaks actually keeps you more on track for things to go as planned. So, next time you’re itching for a short walk or coffee break, listen to the urge. You will get more done in the long run!

Have I convinced you? What have you got to lose?

At Octopus Personnel, we take the well-being of our staff and candidates seriously. 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, but our support doesn’t stop there! Years of industry expertise, a healthy dose of mindfulness 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.

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!