Eloise’s September 2019 News – Back to School, Mental Health, Learning, Training & Vanilla BBQ

Hello and welcome to September

I, for one, am rejoicing that September is here, as life goes back to normal after the school summer holidays. I love spending time with my children and my family, don’t get me wrong – but it’s tough being a working parent this time of year. It’s really hard not being in your ‘normal’ routine, being in the summer bubble and all the juggling, expense and planning that goes into it.

Then when the kids go back to school the transition is also quite tough, as we all try and get back into the swing of things.

But this transitional time in September is not just something working parents are dealing with. 

September brings a lot of change for everyone

The main holiday season is drawing to a close, we’re fast approaching the end of the year, roads are busier again, people are in the office and everyone has their metaphorical foot on the gas. The mornings and evenings are already slightly darker and as soon as we lose the sun in the day, there is an autumnal nod in the air.

It can be a very tricky and emotional time of year for all sorts of reasons and for all sorts of people.

This is why I want my focus this month to be on health and wellbeing (and actively avoid politics for now!).

Mental health – we’re in this together

I have been reading lots of reports and white papers recently about how many people in our UK workforce are struggling with their mental wellbeing.

HRNews just last week reported this figure as being 53%. This is a huge number. Half of every workplace.

We all need to take this seriously and support each other. But this is especially important if you are managing people.

As a nation, we are still scared of talking about our struggles. But the crazy thing is that the majority of us have experienced mental health issues including anxiety and depression. Nobody should be ashamed of that or too scared to talk about it.

We have all had times where we’ve felt like we’ve needed to get off the treadmill. Like everything has got too much. But the people around us won’t always know we’re feeling this way without telling them. And this isn’t a hierarchy thing. You shouldn’t always be looking to your manager; we can all support each other. You might be the MD, meaning you should talk to your team about how you are feeling.

By speaking to someone you can then often avoid things getting even worse or out of control.  

Spotting the early signs of mental health issues in a team member

As a manager of people, you need to be on the lookout for members of your team showing any early signs of not coping. This could be the slightest of changes with how someone acts or reacts, time keeping, performance etc.

Just check in with people. Ask, in private, if people are okay? If there is anything they need?

Some ideas of early signs to look out for as defined by Bupa, could be:

  • poor concentration
  • being easily distracted
  • worrying more
  • finding it hard to make decisions
  • feeling less interested in day-to-day activities
  • low mood
  • feeling overwhelmed by things
  • tearfulness
  • tiredness and lack of energy
  • sleeping more or less
  • talking less and avoiding social activities
  • talking more or talking very fast, jumping between topics and ideas
  • finding it difficult to control emotions
  • drinking more
  • irritability and short temper
  • aggression

To be able to spot any of these and when anything changes you need to get to know your colleagues well.

Make yourself available to discuss an employee’s mental health issues

If your team think you are stressed or too busy to talk, they might well hide their own issues so as not to burden you. This won’t help any of you in the long run. And, if you’ve experienced issues yourself, don’t be afraid to share them. How you felt, your triggers, how you managed or manage those issues.

HRNews has stated that only 36% of people struggling with their mental health in the last 12 months actually took any time off. The most common reasons stated for this were:

  • Wanting to keep it to themselves – 30%
  • Not thinking mental health was a valid enough reason – 28%
  • Thinking their employer wouldn’t understand – 25%

If more people felt comfortable to talk and knew they would be taken seriously, workplaces could act and help avoid longer term issues developing. This would benefit all of us.

We spend so much of our lives at work, let’s work together to make it a good experience.

Bupa have some great resources on their website about Mental Health in the Workplace so click here if you’d like to read more.

Continuous mental health learning and creating a positive environment

Part of having strong mental health is about knowing your value and your worth. Having confidence in what you are doing or are capable of. Also, of feeling valued by your employer.Providing training and enabling your team to gain new skills, a diploma or certificate, might help support your wellbeing agenda.

We work alongside New Skills Academy to offer vastly reduced price training courses. There is a huge amount of different options available; from digital marketing and social media, to accounting and employment law.

The courses are certainly worth a look if you have members of your team who could benefit from a boost, either with skills, confidence, or just a refocus.

Your recruitment plans for 2019/20 and how Vanilla can help

As we steam roll into the final third of the year, as scary as it is, now is the best time to kick start your recruitment plans for the end of the year and start of 2020.

To create job descriptions and specifications, get salary ranges signed off, and generally get your ducks in a row, tends to take longer than you think it will. And with people being your most valuable asset, this is not a process you should rush. It needs to be done right to give you the best possible chance of securing the best possible candidates in the job market.

We can obviously help you with the whole recruitment process from beginning to new start…

Get in touch with any of our team and we’ll arrange to come and see you to talk through your recruitment plans.

Also, on our website we have materials, tips and guides etc to help support your recruitment process. And, we have detailed our full client and candidate journeys – so at a glance, you know exactly what to expect when you work with us.

If you’ve not recruited in a while, haven’t worked with us before, or you just want to check your recruitment strategy, you can also sign up for a free recruitment review. We come and visit you and look at your current recruitment strategy and tactics to make recommendations to help you in the future.

The annual team Vanilla BBQ

We held our annual team BBQ in August, and what a great day it was. Everyone together, relaxing and having fun. Bringing along their partners, children, dogs etc. It is always such a great event.

Most businesses have a Christmas party, but I would urge everyone to consider a summer party if you don’t already have one. The whole vibe is completely different. There is less pressure and it’s just more chilled out.

Here are some photos from our day…

That’s it for another blog post.  I wish you a healthy and happy September.



We recruit throughout the East Midlands covering Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Rutland and the surrounding areas, especially Market Harborough, Lutterworth, Leicester, Corby and Kettering. We help people find their perfect job and match suitable jobseekers with businesses looking to hire the best candidates across our five specialisms – Sales, Marketing, Accountancy & Finance, HR and Office.