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!

 

What will bring you joy in 2022?

 

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

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

You might want to ask yourself:

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

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

 

Katherine

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

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

 

Erin

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

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

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

 

Anna

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

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

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

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

 

Bronya

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

Happy New Year!

 

Sandra Smart

About the author

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

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!

 

A practical guide to wellbeing

Wellbeing in the Workplace

Our update this week focuses on how we have continued to maintain productivity and support well-being within the team.  Here is our practical guide to wellbeing in the workplace.

Whilst there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach, what works for one business might not work for another, it is about finding what works for you and your employees and then finding the time to share those experiences and achievements.

Making wellbeing a priority in your business is not only good for each individual but can also lead to increased productivity and improved staff performance.

So what are we doing?

Letting staff know their passions are important and valued

Just as we used to enjoy the bake-offs, team events and other fun office antics before lockdown, now we are focusing more on our own achievements – our passions.  This is so motivating and that opportunity to share what makes people tick strengthens the team bonds which can be so vital.

So what are the team doing?

Sandra's going out with the dogs - Octopus practical guide to wellbeing

Woman’s best friends

Scruff and Molly will be familiar faces to any of you who know us or follow our social media, and they are normally the heart and soul of the office.  Getting out and exercising the dogs each day has given Sandra structured breaks to her day which keep her productivity up.  An early morning walk down by the beach as the sun is coming up is good for the soul.

Donna's being in nature - Octopus practical guide to wellbeing

Natural inspiration

Donna and her family love to be exploring outside.  Sharing what the children have discovered with us, and her family in Cornwall keeps her feeling connected and inspired.  We live in such a beautiful place!

Lucie's doing Yoga - Octopus practical guide to wellbeing

Yoga can’t beat it

Via Zoom, Lucie has been able to keep up with her Yoga and meditation classes, with her teacher all the way in Cornwall.  Making time for those classes, alongside the dedication to her practice has kept Lucie focused and grounded during this time.

Rae's writing - Octopus practical guide to wellbeing

Noteworthy

Following on from her Octopus birthday present, Rae has been journaling.  Each day that involves; setting mindful targets, drinking more water and tracking her running total which is almost up to 200km during the lockdown period!  This period of reflection at the beginning and end of the day is helping Rae move toward her goals and recognise each step she takes towards them.  And who doesn’t love a chart to colour in?

Alice's running - Octopus practical guide to wellbeing

Couch to 5K

Having adopted a lovely little dog, Alice has been using this time to work on her running.  Using the couch to 5K app, Alice has become a runner!  Setting herself a new challenge and getting out in the fresh air has kept Alice focused and productive.

Thank you so much for the responses last week about ensuring the safety of staff and we hope you find our practical guide to wellbeing useful!

We would like to hear from you again and ask: ‘How are you supporting team productivity?’ and ‘what is your practical approach to wellbeing in the workplace?’  Click here to let us know.

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!

 

Staying focused and motivated – #lockdown2020 goals

Alice Weeks, Octopus Personnel Recruitment Consultant, explains how the Octopus team have been staying focused and motivated this week.  What are your #lockdown2020 goals?

Staying focused and motivated - #Lockdown2020 goals

#lockdown2020 goals

We’d love to hear how you are keeping yourself busy or what challenges you’ve set yourself to achieve during this time of social distancing.  From baking banana bread, to cycling, to running 10K, the Octopus team are keeping themselves focused and motivated by setting themselves challenges.  Let us know so we can feature your success stories here!

Use online resources to achieve your goals - Staying focused and motivated - #Lockdown2020 goals

Our Marketing Manager, Rae Britton, has set herself a lockdown goal of investing in her own personal brand and improving her #linkedinprofile. LinkedIn regularly add features to increase its capabilities as a personal marketing platform and give you new ways to signal your skills and motivations.  Check out Rae’s blog to seriously up your LinkedIn game in less than an hour!

Fantastic Feedback

Candidate testimonial - I love the new website - Octopus Personnel

We love our job, but there’s nothing better than hearing from our candidates about their experiences, and reading their reviews of the website. If you’ve used the new website to search for jobs or send us a timesheet or just to see what it’s like, we’d love to hear from you. Take a moment and share your experience with us.  Your feedback goes straight back into the development process so we can make sure our website serves you well.  Send us an email at enquires@octopuspersonnel.co.uk to share your thoughts too!

Feedback from candidates who have used the upload timesheet service has been overwhelming positive.  It’s simple and easy, and most importantly during these times, it’s safe!  Use the pink Upload Timesheet button on the homepage here.

Candidate testimonial - uploading timesheets - Octopus Personnel

Tremendous Temps of the Month!

We are super proud to have TWO Temps of the Month for March!

Ruth is an exceptional temp of ours! Not only has she taken on temporary assignments with an easy going and open approach, but she has proved on every assignment to be an exceptionally hard worker and we have always received the most amazing feedback wherever she has worked. Ruth is a delight and always lifts the mood when she drops her timesheet into the office.

Chris has been working on an temporary assignment for a number of months now. He has settled in incredibly well, quickly fitting in with the team, who clearly value his contribution. His hard work and dedication shines through and we cannot thank him enough for his commitment.

Are you April’s Temp of the Month?

Temp of the Month - Octopus Personnel

Temp of the Month is recognition of the hard work and dedication you put in to serving our clients.  It comes with a £20 gift voucher and you are added to ‘Hall of the Fame’ on the website!  Every month it’s so hard to choose as each of the team members always has a candidate in mind who has gone above and beyond to deliver exceptional service.  We are always looking for the next Temp of the Month!

We are so glad to have 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.

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!

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!

Reduce employee turnover – the mounting costs of Recruitment

Sandra Smart, Company Director of Octopus Personnel, explains how to reduce employee turnover and recruit efficiently to attract and retain top talent.

Unfortunately, it is incredibly rare for an employee to work for the same company for their whole career, retiring after 50 years with a good pension and a golden watch. Redundancy is a permanent feature of the modern economy and employees all too often find it too expensive to be committed to one employer for years on end. Wage increases are minimal, hovering at 3 percent on average, while jumping to a new job might mean a significant pay increase. The result is that staying at the same place for too long could cost workers thousands of pounds with little reward in terms of job security. So how can you reduce employee turnover?

Four office workers having a discussion - Octopus Personnel how to reduce employee turnover

What are the costs of losing an employee?

According to research by Oxford Economics and Unum, the average cost of turnover per employee (earning £25,000 a year or more) is £30,614. That means if you replace three employees on this wage in one year, the cost of employee turnover will be close to £92,000.

Therefore, it is no surprise that employee turnover is a big concern for many businesses. The investment and the cost to replace workers can often be overwhelming. So how can you make sure that you are attracting and retaining the best talent in the industry?

Employees are an investment

From the second you invite them to interview, the costs for an employee start accruing. Training, equipment, payroll are contributing to the mounting costs and are carried out under the presumption that the time spent will ultimately generate value for your business. When your company has a high turnover of employees the repetition of this process, plus the cost of recruiting a replacement, costs your company significantly – spending an average of £5,433 on the process of finding a replacement employee, according to Oxford Economics and Unum.

Why is reducing employee turnover important?

The long-term implications of turnover don’t just affect the company’s profits; it reduces the level of experience within the company, leading to decreased productivity and, often, a reduction in quality, ultimately having a negative impact on the reputation of the company.

While you’re busy advertising, interviewing, finding a replacement and getting them up to speed, other employees can become stressed, unhappy and overworked. The potential for others to leave as well increases, and to have to pay overtime. To be precise, Oxford Economics and Unum say that, on average, it takes 28 weeks and it’ll cost you £25,182 for loss of productivity.

So the benefits of reducing employee turnover are clear. So what can be done?

Multiple hands all placed on top of each other - Octopus Personnel how to reduce employee turnover

Establish genuine communication

It may sound obvious, but this is often the most important tools in retaining staff: encourage genuine communication. People leave or stay for their managers, not jobs or companies. This idea is supported by the Gallup report, How Millennials Want to Work and Live, which found that the 61% of millennial workers who feel they can talk to their managers about anything expect to still be with their employers one year from now. Many aspects of any business can be improved through internal communication, as well as ensuring employees feel heard and valued.

So how can you encourage ‘staff voice?’

You can use engagement tools to keep your employees talking to you. These can include a satisfaction survey administered by a third party, clearly defined training opportunities and/or committee creation for certain aspects of your firm. You can even ask for feedback and opinions on a relevant matter to help reinforce the channel of communication, and establish their position as an active participant.

Anything that adds value to an individual’s experience as an employee will help reduce employee turnover. Even the smallest gestures and rewards help to improve the work environment.

Staffing provider, LaSalle Network, surveyed 6,000 recent graduates about the most important factors they consider when evaluating a company to work for. And while 69% ranked remuneration as the number one factor, a surprising 61% listed company culture as the second most important factor.

Once you determine fair pay for a role, you’ll improve your odds of attracting the best talent and keeping the great talent you already have by promoting and refining “positive culture and values” within your business.

Women working at a large table in an office - Octopus Personnel how to reduce employee turnover

How does training help to reduce employee turnover?

According to the Gallup report, 87 percent of respondents said development opportunities are an important job feature. Additionally, the LaSalle survey found that 71 percent of respondents said opportunity for growth was the number one factor when considering a new role.

Training your employees is investing in them as people – and can help to improve employee satisfaction. Training shows that you see them as part of a long term strategy for your business, and gives them the encouragement and tools to improve in line with the direction of the company.

Not all employee turnover is negative

If your talented individuals are getting itchy feet, then it can be a good idea to consider moving them within your business. This can help you to retain the most talented individuals, while helping to quench their desire for a change of scenery.

A woman sitting at a desk looking out of the window on a phone - Octopus Personnel how to reduce employee turnover

How can Octopus Personnel help?

We know you fully recognise the value of top talent – those individuals that can drive your business forwards and boost the bottom line, but HR departments face a tricky task when it comes to ensuring a flow of continual talent into the business, and making sure they hire individuals who are suited to the job and the culture of the organisation. In the current buoyant jobs market, where employers are competing with one another for the most skilled and experienced staff, this becomes even more difficult.

Using Octopus Personnel to identify and attract talent, and negotiate terms, can relieve a huge amount of pressure. We can help you find the right people to drive your business forwards, bring them to interview, and secure their services within budget.

The trick is making sure that a candidate’s skills, qualifications and personality match your requirements; this match making ability is our key strength. As a consequence, we are one of the fastest growing recruitment and employment agencies in the South West of England.

What makes the Octopus difference?

We personally interview each and every candidate to assess their suitability. This isn’t just in terms of skills and experience, but also in terms of career development and personality. It is this attention to detail that ensures you will only see candidates that not only meet your specified selection criteria, but who you can be confident will gel with your team and achieve within your business culture.

To save you time, we include a resume and synopsis of every CV we send you, providing you with information fundamental to the selection process. We assess our candidates’ skills using a range of tools and provide this information to assist your shortlisting process.

To ensure that perfect match, we get to know your business and the requirements of the role like the back of our hands. We know about the challenges of the role, the Health & Safety requirements of your site, the rhythm of the work and we fully brief all our candidates prior to interview. Knowing exactly what the jobs entails prior to interview means you are not faced with ill-informed applicants who subsequently withdraw because of the ‘surprise elements’ of the role they discover during the interview.

Infographic of how Octopus Personnel can help you recruitInfographic of how Octopus Personnel can help you recruit

Excellent value for money and a money-back guarantee

Where other agencies use a system of scaled percentages, which increase costs dramatically in line with high value candidates’ starting salary, instead we offer a flat rate of 10% of starting salary across all permanent placements. We are dedicated to providing a first class service and we are so confident in our abilities that we offer a unique 100% money back guarantee if our candidates don’t meet your expectations.

Our service is quick, efficient and above all cost effective! What’s our secret? We love what we do and we get a genuine kick out of changing people’s lives for the better and by helping our clients to grow and expand their businesses.

Sandra Smart - Director of Octopus Personnel

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

At Octopus Personnel, we have years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, understanding the ever-changing needs of their businesses. We are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to the right employee who will drive your business forward. Call the office on 01747 825568 to discuss how we can help you or click here to register.

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.

Creating an Age-Positive Work Culture to Benefit Your Business

With more organisations than ever before facing the challenges of an older workforce, Sandra Smart, Company Director of Octopus Personnel, outlines how to build an Age-Positive work culture to benefit all and drive your business forward.

Woman interviewing older man - Octopus Personnel Age-Positive Work Culture

One in 25 of the UK workforce is now aged 65 and over, new figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest. It is the first time since comparable records began that the proportion of the workforce aged 65 and over has passed 4%. With even more over 50s likely to be in work than those under 30 in the next decade, employers need to act now to attract talented, experienced older workers to their organisations or they are likely to miss out.

The business case is for being an age-friendly employer is quite simple. Society is not homogenous. Most organisations recognise the value of having a diverse workforce, bringing together neuro-diverse employees with different life experiences, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations and thinking styles. Age is no different. However, to benefit from these changes in the composition in the workforce, recruiting talent and experience rather than struggling to fill roles, employers need to proactively prepare to adapt to and support an older workforce.

How can you build an Age-Positive work culture which values and supports an older workforce?

Woman sitting on the beach - Octopus Personnel Age-Positive Work Culture

Older workers should be understood as an invaluable resource

The commitment, knowledge and experience an older workforce can bring to a workplace is not something to be underestimated. It’s not enough to have age friendly policies; it’s about building a living, working age-friendly approach to all aspects of the workplace that really enhances the working experience of older employees. Whilst they may feel daunting, there are some simple things you can put into place to prepare your organisation.

Man operating a saw - Octopus Personnel Age-Positive Work Culture

1. Flexible working is the future

Gone are the days of 9 to 5 working and everyone being in the same building at the same time. Now technology is enabling employers to think smarter and build a more agile, flexible workforce. Flexible working is often high on the agenda for people of all ages, and although certain age groups’ reasons for wanting it might differ, the principles are the same.

Implementing policies which support an older workforce in this way can be very well received. For example, a robust carer’s policy can benefit employees who find themselves having to provide care and support for a family member, whilst protecting the demands of the organisation.

2. Create a culture of lifelong learning

Business Titan James Cash Penney was onto something when he said, “Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” A culture of lifelong learning is a powerful force for growth in any business.

Constant “upskilling” is no longer just a buzzword; it’s the new normal. Employees who constantly evolve their skill sets are able to take advantage of the latest technologies. This translates to better productivity and innovation. When you provide continuous training for employees, you also improve their loyalty by valuing their individual growth.

Taking advantage of the experience and skills of older workers can bring offers an inexpensive, accessible and often innovative approach to skill development. Many older workers are keen contribute to others’ development through mentoring programmes or expert sessions, and it is an excellent way to ensure they feel valued and respected within the workplace.

That culture, in turn, means that older employees will be keener to develop their own skills and to collaborate with younger members of staff to the benefit of all – especially the business! Therefore, everyone can improve their skills and drive the organisation forward; innovation, upskilling and technology are for all.

Woman in office drinking a cup of tea - Octopus Personnel Age-Positive Work Culture

3. Invest in and value staff wellbeing

With the media focusing intently on work-life balance and wellbeing, most employees are seeking an employer who takes their responsibility to support and enhance workforce wellbeing seriously.

Wellbeing at work is a complex concept covering all aspects of people’s experience of working life. Physical, psychological, social and financial wellbeing at work collectively allow employees to feel safe and healthy, able to thrive and maximise their potential, be they an older workforce or not.

A well-implemented wellbeing policy is a key retention tool for all members of staff and creating a healthy work environment forms a vital part of any people strategy. When employees feel healthy, included and motivated, they will deliver the very best outcomes.

A Healthy Work Environment

Maintaining a safe and comfortable work environment, both internally and externally, is a basic but hugely important requirement for employee wellbeing. As musculoskeletal (‘bad backs’) and mental health problems represent two massive work-related health issues, encouraging healthy behaviours and lifestyles – physically and psychologically – can help avoid huge costs from absenteeism, turnover and lowered productivity.

Chef making chocolates - Octopus Personnel Age-Positive Work Culture

Organisational Communication

Internal communication within the organisation, co-operation and teamwork, and all internal relationships that employees form with close colleagues – and indeed their line managers – are at the heart of wellbeing. The evolution and development of close relationships is common. Therefore, the best employers recognise people’s natural emotional need to bond and build quality relationships with the people around them, and know that company loyalty can be strengthened by such relationships. Staff outings, events and groups build morale – and build an Age-Positive work culture where everyone is valued! Workshops on areas which inform particular groups of staff, such as financial health, carers etc., are extremely valuable. Inviting local charities and employees themselves to present to the workforce can all build a culture of wellbeing.

Family-Friendly

Truly family-friendly organisations can also proactively support family and personal lives through work-family enrichment, by involving families in work-related social events and communications.

4. Create an age friendly culture

Clear policies and equality and diversity training, of which age-positive practice is very much a part, are vital for building an age friendly workplace. Run workshops for your managers on managing an older workforce. Ensure all managers attend recruitment training. You could also consider inviting all staff to take part in Dementia Friends training.

Man drinking coffee - Octopus Personnel Age-Positive Work Culture

How can Octopus Personnel help?

We know you fully recognise the value of top talent. Young or old, those individuals that can drive your business forwards and boost the bottom line, but HR departments face a tricky task when it comes to ensuring a flow of continual talent into the business, and making sure they hire individuals who are suited to the job and the culture of the organisation. In the current buoyant jobs market, where employers are competing with one another for the most skilled and experienced staff, this becomes even more difficult.

Using Octopus Personnel to identify and attract talent, and negotiate terms, can relieve a huge amount of pressure. We can help you find the right people to drive your business forwards, bring them to interview, and secure their services within budget.

Recruiting to build an Age-Positive Work Culture

We have a robust approach to actively ensuring diversity, including in terms of age, in our recruitment processes. For example, we ensure imagery and videos for job advertisements represent a wide range of ages and ethnicities. The wording of our advertisements focus on skills required, not unconsciously implying a specific age of workers, e.g. we won’t seek digital natives; we are specific about proficiency in certain digital skills or a proven track record adopting and mastering new tools.

An older workforce brings industry and business knowledge and a wealth of experience that helps them strategise and solve problems. We know they can mentor younger workers, often technically, but also in valuable interpersonal skills and teamwork. Older workers bring the equivalent of wisdom capital to a job, and we use our one-to-one candidate interviews to explore these skills so we can find that perfect match to drive your business forward and help you build an Age-Positive work culture.

Infographic - How can Octopus Personnel help you recruit

Infographic - How can Octopus Personnel help you recruit

Excellent value for money and a money-back guarantee

Other agencies use a system of scaled percentages, which increase costs dramatically in line with high value candidates’ starting salary. We offer a flat rate of 10% of starting salary across all permanent placements. We are dedicated to providing a first class service and we are so confident in our abilities that we offer a unique 100% money back guarantee if our candidates don’t meet your expectations.

Our service is quick, efficient and above all cost effective! What’s our secret? We love what we do and we get a genuine kick out of changing people’s lives for the better and by helping our clients to grow and expand their businesses.

Sandra Smart, Director of Octopus Personnel

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

At Octopus Personnel, we have years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, understanding the ever-changing needs of their businesses. We are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to the right employee who will drive your business forward. Call the office on 01747 825568 or explore here to find out how we can help you.

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 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!

 

The Best Biscuit 2019!

Which of the nation’s favourites ‘will take the biscuit’ as the best for 2019?

On National Biscuit Day 2019, Alice Weeks, Octopus Personnel Trainee Recruitment Consultant, uses her extensive experience to evaluate the competitors and predict the ultimate winner.

There are just under 30 different types of biscuits this year which are runners and riders for the ultimate biscuit 2019, but here at Octopus Personnel, we know what we like! I will take you through our best biscuits for every moment of the day and predict my ultimate winner!

Simply the best? Digestives

Plain and simply perfect, the digestive is the ultimate morning biscuit. Crunchy, satisfying and perfect with that pick-me-up coffee! They may not be the most exciting biscuit, but they always get the job done. I must caution you, however, that their dunkability is somewhat lacking. I would definitely expect these delights to be in the top five!

The perfect sandwich: Bourbons

Mid-morning, you need a biscuit to drive your productivity, light up your neurons, help you power through to lunch. What should you reach for? A classic: the bourbon. Dunkability is excellent! Melting the chocolate in the middle is delicious. Each person in the office has a different way of eating them, but the net result is the same – biscuit JOY!

You’ve made it past lunch! Now you need a classic with a little twist and, yes, they are biscuits! I love the fruity refreshment of a fig roll mid-afternoon to refocus me. The biscuit part does the heavy lifting here. It’s smooth, crunchy and slightly doughy which works well with the fig filling. In fairness to the fig, it’s heavily sweetened so that it doesn’t feel overly healthy, but it is! It’s practically one of your five a day!

A lady’s biscuit: Custard Creams

Being identified as the most dangerous to eat will not stop me! That’s the kind of tough, biscuit rebel I am. Whilst the dunkability can lead to scaldings, there is nothing like a custard cream about 4 p.m. A lovely cup of tea is the perfect accompaniment and they look equally beautiful presented on a plate or saucer! What more could you want?

Biscuit of Champions: Chocolate Hobnobs

The Ultimate winner has to be the chocolate hobnob. Its oaty goodness is unrivaled for filing you up whilst the sweetness of the chocolate kicks you into taste heaven! You can dunk it or eat it on its own. It’s a real workhorse of a biscuit which will carry you all the way through to tea-time. The biscuit of champions: the chocolate Hobnob!

Have I convinced you? If it’s a job, not a biscuit, you are really searching for, we have the tastiest treats 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!