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.

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!

 

New rates for National Minimum Wage and Living Wage

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

(more…)

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.

Successful Recruitment during the Pandemic

We’re in this together

Despite the news continuing to report challenges for individuals, families and companies alike, successful recruitment during the pandemic is still possible.  We are working with our candidates and clients closely to safeguard the health and safety of all.  We take our responsibility to support our communities, those who are vulnerable, and the healthcare providers who are on the front lines of this pandemic extremely seriously.

Following the Prime Minister’s recent announcement, people living in England will be asked to work from home where possible and pubs, bars and restaurants will be required to close at 10pm each night under a series of new restrictions. Under these new rules, the requirement to wear face masks has now been extended.  If you need to attend the office for any reason, please make sure you wear a face covering at all times.

Successful Recruitment in the Pandemic

Moving forwards

We have initiated some changes to ensure we remain one step ahead and that we continue to do the right thing for our team, candidates and clients.

The Octopus office will remain open, but we will be offering virtual appointments only for the time being.  You can still meet with us in lots of different ways: using #Zoom#Facetime or #WhatsApp.  Our policies and provision for ensuring we help reduce the spread of Coronavirus have proved effective so far and we will continue to liaise with our clients to ensure we prove the best support and advice to our candidates.

If a virtual appointment does not suit you, we are, as always, on the phones (01747 825568) ready to discuss alternative arrangements with you.

Digital Innovation: Successful Recruitment during the Pandemic

Exciting Announcements

This year has changed the focus of many businesses and allowed us as a recruitment company to bring forward our digital plans. Our commitment to meeting with each candidate at the start of their journey remains at the heart of what we do, so we are very excited to share with you that we have now integrated the latest video software into our recruitment process!

We have already found this gives clients a better insight into the team and cultural fit of a candidate, whilst reducing the time to hire and supporting an accurate first stage screening process. For candidates, it provides a great platform to sell themselves within a matter of seconds, getting your personality, experience and USP across, bringing your CV alive!

So keep an eye out on our social media and website, where we will be revealing all over the next course of the next month!!

The Octopus Team: Successful Recruitment during the Pandemic

Here for you

As mentioned, we are at the end of the phone to support you in any way we can.

For job seekers, our website offers a wide range of resources to help you efficiently navigate the job search, advice on redundancy, making sure your CV and interview skills are up to date, improving your LinkedIn Profile and much more.

For clients, we have the latest advice on recruitment, from flexible resourcing with temporary workers to benefitting from the switch to an employer driven market.

Recruitment during Pandemic

Do you have symptoms of COVID 19?

The most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following;

  • A new continuous cough
  • A high temperature
  • A loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell

For most people, COVID-19 will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above, stay at home and arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19 – go to testing to arrange.  Please see all the latest guidance here.

If you are experiencing any symptoms whilst working for Octopus Personnel you must notify us immediately.

Further Information

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

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

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

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

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

Whatever your needs, we are here to help! You can contact us via phone on 01747 825568, drop us an email or contact us so we can answer any questions you may have.

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.

Navigating the change to an Employer Driven Market

Sandra Smart, Octopus Personnel Director, explains how COVID19 has flipped the candidate driven market on its back, and what the implications are for candidates and employers as we approach recruitment post lockdown in an employer driven market.

For the last couple of years, with unemployment at record lows, we have been operating in a candidate driven market.  Put simply, this meant that high calibre candidates were often receiving multiple job offers, as well as their current employers trying to offer more for them to stay on as their employee.

The focus was on the whole package: more competitive salaries, flexible working patterns, stronger study support and a full career development plan. If a client couldn’t offer what a candidate was looking for, a competitor was.  Clients had to invest heavily in the packages they were offering, but also in selling their culture, brand and reputation to attract top talent.

Thanks to the unprecedented challenges which the business world has met during the Coronavirus pandemic, suddenly the market has become saturated with candidates again, and, make no mistake, many are extremely high-calibre talent. However, during March, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that as a result of the unprecedented nature of the coronavirus crisis, confidence in making hiring and investment decisions fell by 21 percentage points compared with the previous month.

So how does this affect recruitment?  How can you position yourself as an employer to benefit from this situation, attracting these high-quality candidates to your business, what effect will this have on those people seeking employment now, and how can recruitment agencies work to best serve both and ensure the right people are hired for the right jobs?

Image shows connected people icons - Strategic Recruitment in an Employer Driven Market

Strategic Recruitment for an Employer Driven Market

In a employer driven market, it is the companies who call the shots. They hire at their own pace, can focus wholly on their needs, and face little or no competition from peers in the industry.  Due to the COVID19 impact, there are many high-calibre people seeking employment right now and, for those companies who are able to, recruiting now may bring many dividends.

Now, more than ever, we are working closely with our clients to understand how they are managing the crisis, and their strategic operations and workforce planning for the future.  We are there to advise on successful recruitment strategies in practice and the flexibility of different types of recruitment.

We have continued to register high-quality candidates throughout this time to ensure we will be able to present the best qualified candidates, who we believe will dovetail with the company’s culture and vision, ready for virtual interviewing and, where required, digital onboarding to enable our clients to move swiftly and decisively.

Picture of Sandra Smart - Sandra's advice to navigate an Employer Driven Market

Sandra’s advice to clients

Now isn’t the time to abandon all your hard work on culture, brand and reputation, but it is a perfect opportunity to find the right person with a depth of experience and drive who can fully fulfil your role.   Be clear about the job role so candidates can visualise what a typical day at work might be like. Break responsibilities into short, clear job duties.  Be clear about KPIs and decide which qualifications and experience you need.  Think about the teams which this role works within and needs to gel with.  All this information will help your recruitment consultant work hard, better, faster for you in finding the right person.

Image of a star on the floor - How to secure the best talent in an Employer Driven Market

Working with the best talent

For candidates seeking employment, this is the toughest the employment market has been in a long time; it’s going to involve a lot of hard work, rejections and perseverance.  But an employer driven market is not without hope.

As a recruitment agency, this is where we go above and beyond for every one of our candidates.  We are there for the journey, not only talking them through roles, but advising them on changes in the market and how to most effectively self market through CVs and interviews.  As many of our candidates are currently at home, or working from home, we are taking this opportunity to work even more closely with them, coaching them through the job hunt, helping them improve their CVs and keeping them focused and motivated.  These quality relationships mean we are better able to advise our clients about the suitability of our candidates.

Picture of Sandra Smart - Sandra's advice to navigate an Employer Driven Market

Sandra’s advice for candidates

Whilst the market is tough, there are still plenty of things you can do to make yourself as attractive as possible to a new employer.

Be ready

Work with your recruitment consultant to improve your CV, and make sure you tailor it to each application.

Be active

Spend this time learning new skills, becoming part of professional discussions on LinkedIn and networking.

Be bold

Your recruitment consultant can advise you on the challenges of the current market.  This could mean you may need a new direction, be ready to work on a short term contract or explore temping to find that perfect fit.  Be open to new suggestions.

Be resilient

The challenges of this market will mean many candidates, even those exceptionally well-qualified and experienced, are going to experience some nos.  That’s ok.  Ask for feedback, learn what you can and move on.  It will be a yes soon!

How can Octopus Personnel help?

At Octopus Personnel, we are here to help and support you as you navigate these challenges.  Whether you are looking for work or looking for workers, we are here at the end of the phone to help you.  Call us on 01747 825568.  Visit the website to request a call back or click on the send CV button to register with us.

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.

The bounce-back of recruitment post COVID 19: frozen or skating on thin ice?

Sandra Smart, Company Director of Octopus Personnel, responds to questions about recruitment post COVID 19, the challenges currently faced by the sector, the opportunities for growth and the long-term changes likely to become sector-wide.

How has the recruitment industry been impacted by the measures introduced to tackle the COVID 19 pandemic?

The impact of COVID 19 has quite simply been unprecedented, with companies either putting a recruitment freeze in place or shifting start dates significantly.  However, this freeze isn’t due to recession; it isn’t due to lack of demand or funds.  Many companies and clients still want to recruit but are frozen themselves due to the nationwide lockdown.

Like many businesses, recruiters have worked extremely hard to adapt to lockdown conditions and provide continuity and the same high-quality service to their clients and candidates remotely.  With more recent news from the Prime Minister and the furlough scheme open, there is definitely some light at the end of the tunnel, unfortunately no-one is clear how long the tunnel may end up being.

Person analysing data in graphs - How has recruitment been impacted - The Bounceback of Recruitment after COVID 19

What is the biggest challenge for your clients?

The biggest challenge for our clients currently is the unknowable.  How long will this go on for?  Between February and March, employer confidence in the economy dropped by 22%, according to the specially-commissioned COVID-19 REC Jobs outlook survey.  With regard to recruiting permanent employees, things have become harder with a clear, short-term slow-down across most sectors.

However, the recruitment industry is vast and wide and when employers think longer-term, it’s clear that recovery is on the cards and they are still looking to hire staff.  So whilst some areas have been extremely hard hit, others have prospered during this time.

The REC survey showed that short-term demand for temporary workers increased by 15%.  Whilst some roles for temporary staff, such as those in retail, hospitality and leisure, simply vanished overnight, other jobs including those in supermarkets, food production, delivery and cleaning increased in demand.

Person holding freshly picked red and green tomatoes - There will be important roles in agriculture - The Bounceback of Recruitment after COVID 19

Another area that in the South West which will continue to create jobs is agriculture. With international workers unable to travel there is a fear that crops will rot in fields and greenhouses, and food very much remains an essential service.

How has Octopus Personnel dealt with the crisis?  What have been your priorities?

Recruitment as an industry is extremely vibrant.  It is high energy and highly social, with dynamic flow between needs of the clients and the candidate.  Our focus during this time has most certainly been the wellbeing of our clients and candidates, supporting our clients with advice and reaching out to our candidates to make sure that nobody feels isolated in these days of self-isolation.

The Octopus Team - The Bounceback of Recruitment after COVID 19

We have a fantastic team who were able to transition to remote working extremely well.  We are used to supporting each other in the office, and we have found new ways to offer than same level of support at home.  Microsoft Teams, Zoom and email have kept us in touch in real time and allowed us to focus on short-term productivity goals which have kept the whole team driving forward.

We have worked hard, wherever possible, to reassign our brilliant temporary workers to those companies and industries which are fulfilling key worker roles, areas where there is still demand for workers.  For those individuals seeking permanent roles, it is about helping them to use this time as productively as possible, to reskill, or upskill, to be ready once lockdown is lifted.  Recruitment post COVID 19 may look quite different, with a dramatic shift from a candidate-driven market, to a client-driven market

Registering and connecting the right candidaates and businesses - The Bounceback of Recruitment after COVID 19

What do you anticipate might be the long-term changes to recruitment moving forwards?

I have been incredibly proud of the way the Octopus team has risen to the challenges of this time, using technology, team spirit and hard work to achieve.  I know we will take many lessons forward from this time and it will alter the way we work.

On a larger scale across the industry I would expect to see wider changes too, such as:

  • much of the interview process moving online
  • development and utilisation of recruitment technology
  • a much greater availability of flexibility and remote working options
  • a review of employment contracts and employee benefits
  • candidates who are open and actively seeking to reskill and upskill
  • a more long-term focus on recruitment strategy and conscientious budgeting
  • a greater focus on flexibility and dynamic team members with proven response to challenge and change
  • the focus to be on retainment and development of staff, as well as ensuring the right people are recruited

When might things get ‘back to normal’?  When might recruitment post COVID 19 bounce back?

I think we can all agree there will be a new ‘normal’, but I do believe that the Government’s measures, especially the furlough scheme, will have a significant impact on businesses’ ability to retain their staff. This will make it quicker and easier for companies to return to previous levels of productivity, something which will be vital for the recruitment sector, opening up the funds and the focus for staff who can continue to drive businesses forward.

For us, we are ready for the bounce-back of recruitment post COVID 19 and prepared to support our clients & candidates effectively.  We have continued to register high-calibre candidates during this time as well as funnelling our quality temporary staff into roles within the key worker industries.   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.

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.

New skills for the new normal

This week, the Octopus team has been focusing on setting and achieving personal goals and learning new skills – keeping ourselves motivated, well and productive.  Sandra Smart, Octopus Personnel Director, explains how developing new skills, online training, real time support and screen sharing in Teams, and a bit of fun is at the heart of the Octopus approach.

It’s the new normal – get learning!

Online training - New skills for the new normal - Octopus Personnel

Upskilling to provide flexibility and a more adaptable, cohesive team is most definitely the new normal and we’ve gone for this at Octopus in a big way!  From webinars to online courses, the whole team is driving forward!

Sandra is now (almost) full trained to take over payroll should it be needed (watch out Donna!); Rae is loving having the opportunity to support candidates over the phone and Alice is perfecting her blogs on the website.  The opportunity to learn from each other and support in different roles is proving so valuable – just a shame we all still have to make our own cups of tea!

There's no-one to make tea when you are remote working - Octopus Personnel

Jack of all trades; masters we will become

As each of us becomes ‘Jack of all trades’, there is a real opportunity for innovation and collaboration.  From conference calls to Teams meetings and chat, the opportunity to support each other in real time remotely and to pool knowledge and understanding is helping the whole team to be more responsive and prepare for the future.

Furloughed staff can still undertake training

Furloughed staff can still undertake training - Octopus Personnel

Whilst furloughed employees cannot do any work for employers, they can do volunteer work, or training if this does not provide services to or for the employer, or generate revenue for the employer.

Upskilling your team members who are furloughed not only builds flexibility and strength into your team moving forwards, it’s also a great way to ensure all team members remain engaged and see how they can contribute towards the future success of the company.  There is some government support out there for online CPD, and this is money well spent investing in the future of the business.

If we can offer support in any way, in terms of staffing, training or other advice, please do call us 01747 825568, email us enquiries@octopuspersonnel.co.uk or visit the website and request a call back at your convenience.

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.

Tomorrow will be a good day – Inspiring from the front

Sandra Smart, Octopus Personnel’s Director, explains how managers and leaders can inspire during #lockdown2020 and build their teams with the resilience, creativity and strength to navigate coming challenges.

This week the nations hearts have been captured by Captain Tom Moore walking 100 laps of his garden to raise money for the NHS and raising over £17m!  His resilience, determination and humble approach have inspired and comforted many that everyone doing their part can make a difference.

How can we inspire our teams to get the best out of them too?  How can we ensure that, in Captain Tom’s words, ‘Tomorrow will be a better day?’

Tomorrow will be a good day - Inspiring a team with Octopus Personnel

How can we be inspiring for our teams?

Especially working remotely, what do we need to do differently as managers?  How can we get the best out of our staff and lead through challenges?  Here are my ten top tips:

  1. Heighten communication – mini catch ups throughout the day keep everyone on board and focused on the targets for the day.
  2. Simple focus for the day – short sharp tasks and realistic goals which can be reviewed quickly
  3. Use your team – play to people’s strengths and innate abilities, be flexible
  4. Define success – short, sharp, focused, fulfilling tasks
  5. Praise, praise, praise – make sure people know they are valued and how they can contribute, then they will!
  6. Coach, don’t criticise
  7. Look after your people. Remember the details they share with you and the challenges they are balancing.
  8. Show the strength, resilience and good humour you need from them
  9. Constantly talk about your future vision – now is the time to innovate so make sure everyone is on board.
  10. Stay upbeat and reach out to other leaders, build a powerful network for the future.

So we are reaching out to you.  Let’s build this network of leaders together.  What’s inspiring you? How can we help?  What do you need right now?  Let’s chat  on 01747 825568, email us enquiries@octopuspersonnel.co.uk or visit the website and request a call back at your convenience.

Together we are stronger.  If you would like to donate to Captain Tom’s Just Giving page, please click here.

 

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.

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!

 

Stay Safe in the Sun

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

 

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

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

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

 What are the risks of sunlight exposure?

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

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

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

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

1.  Apply high factor sunscreen

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

2. Make sure there is shade for breaks

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

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

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

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

HEAT STRESS RISK FACTORS :

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

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

FORMS OF HEAT STRESS

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

Symptoms:

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

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

Symptoms:

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

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

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

 

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

How can we help you?

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

Alice Weeks

About the author

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

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