HGV Driving is physically and mentally demanding and can be very intense. Being a HGV Driver is a lot more than just driving a truck – it’s also about how mentally alert, healthy and happy you are. These are the elements that keep you and others safe whilst you are on the road. Eating healthy on the go This can be difficult if you’re not an organised person, but that’s all it is – organisation. The day/night before your shift you can prepare a healthy meal such as a chicken salad. If you don’t have time to meal prep, then most popular super markets have HGV friendly car parks so you can quickly park up and run in to buy a healthy meal. HGV Driving is a sedentary job so it is important to have a healthy food intake. Fast food can seem like the quick and easy option, especially when you are working long hours, but it can just leave you feeling lethargic and can lead to a number of overall health problems. Good snacks to eat on the go are: Pre washed & cut vegetables Pre washed fruit Dried fruit Hummus and vegetables (i.e. carrots and cucumber) Mixed nuts Fat free yogurt Staying hydrated Water should be your best friend. Dehydration can be a main factor of loss of alertness and tiredness. So for a HGV Driver – staying hydrated is essential. HGV Drivers should consume around two litres of water each day in order to stay hydrated. Instead of buying multiple expensive plastic bottles, buy one large (gallon/2L) water bottle and sip on it throughout the day. We also suggest staying clear of fizzy drinks – they dehydrate you quickly and therefore the result is tiredness and lack of being alert. Get plenty of sleep If you're driving for a long period of time, it is vital that you make the most of your rest periods and break times. Brake UK says that 1 in 6 deaths or serious injuries on major roads are fatigue related. A major cause of fatigue is tiredness and drowsiness. For the safety of yourself and other road users, you have to get enough sleep. Stay active In addition to the occasional stretch of your legs at rest point, another one of our top tips is to stay active and incorporate exercise into your days/nights. This can easily be done by walking for 15/20 minutes when you reach your rest stops. Another good way to incorporate exercise is to store a fold up push bike in the HGV and go for a cycle at your rest points. Some rest points may even have a track for you to follow. Mental health Even though physical health is essential, keeping your mind healthy is equally as important. Driving all day/night can be very tedious (especially when there is traffic), so it is essential to keep your mind stimulated during your driving hours. There are multiple ways this can be done, for example: Listen to the radio – radio presenters converse with each other so it can feel like you are in the conversation with them. You can take part in quizzes and competitions too. Have an AUX cord/Bluetooth to listen to a playlist (click here to check out the soundtrack we have put together for HGV Drivers). Have an audio book play whilst you are driving. Remember that it is illegal to use a hand-held device whilst you are driving so ensure you have sorted this out before you set off on your journey. Keeping your body and mind healthy whilst on the road is vital. These health tips for HGV drivers are a great way to stay on top of your physical and mental health whilst you are travelling away from home. Driving can be a long, solitary and challenging job, but there are always ways to stay on top of your fitness and wellbeing.
So, you’ve learnt how to ace an interview, the biggest interview mistakes and how to avoid them and how to impress on your first day. Now, it’s about time we taught you how to keep progressing in your job after you’ve been hired… and it’s all about your attitude. #1 – Do your job well So, this one is a bit of a given but if you’re satisfied in your role and enjoy going to work – it does reflect in the work that you produce. A positive attitude is vital! If you do not enjoy your job – your work reflects how you feel towards it. So find the positives in your job role and you will be much happier. If the case is that you don’t enjoy your job, then you need to think about sitting down with your manager and discussing your issues to see if anything can be done to support you – leaving the company should be the last resort. #2 – Form a relationship with your boss Forming a relationship with your boss (and other members of your team) is really important. You spend 5 (sometimes more) days a week with them so it would make your working life more enjoyable if you did have a good relationship with them. Due to this making your working life better – you will enjoy going to work more and then in turn, produce good work. #3 – Become a company person Put in the hours to show that your job is a priority to you. Make it clear that the company’s goals are also your goals. Be prepared to occasionally arrive early, stay late and always work hard during your standard working hours. Show that you are willing to give up some of your personal time to meet the company’s requirements and ensure the company is where it needs to be, this could also include taking time to socialise outside of work with colleagues – a great way to build bonds and strengthen your ties with a company. #4 – Volunteer for new projects Putting yourself forward for new projects or completing tasks usually done by other people will show that you care about the business as a whole and not just your individual role. Even if your work load gets bigger, more intense and more time consuming, it will more than likely secure your place in the company in the long run and being proactive is a great way to boost career prospects, develop new skills and put your stamp on things! #5 – Don’t grab the lime light Whilst it’s important for your boss to recognise that you’re doing great work and doing well – you don’t want to be seen as an attention grabber. It’s okay to celebrate your achievements, but just be sure to do the same when it happens to others. Most people will come across times when they have to maximize their efforts to protect and keep their jobs or to be successful in securing a promotion. By following our advice, you’ll learn how to progress your career and be rewarded.
The time has come again… its wellbeing week 2019! Here at Swanstaff we dedicate each day to a different aspect of wellbeing. As today is National Mental Health Day, we have thought about the top 5 ways to boost your mental health if you ever feel like it is deteriorating. #1 – Maintain healthy relationships Incorporating healthy relationships is crucial to mental health – if you surround yourself with toxic people and relationships (even in the workplace) then it is likely that your mental health can be knocked. So, surround yourself with people who are good for you and who make you happy. #2 – Exercise Now, this is not for everyone, but it is known that completing exercises releases positive endorphins which enhance your mood. We’re not telling you to go and run 10K, but even a 10 minute power walk on your lunch break can be beneficial. #3 – Challenge yourself If you’re feeling stuck in a rut and bored of your everyday routine, this could cause low mental health levels. Set yourself a challenge, having something to aim towards and work towards can give you a sense of purpose – and the feeling of achievement when you’ve reached your goal can be amazing! #4 – Prioritise your sleep If you lead a busy life with work commitments, bringing up children etc. it can be easy to let your sleep schedule take a back seat from everything else going on. However, getting the right amount of sleep (7-9 hours) is essential. If you’re not getting the sufficient amount of sleep it can make you unproductive in other aspects of your life which can then result in not feeling good enough or not worthy (this can take its toll on your mental health). #5 – List 5 things you are grateful for Gratitude has been linked with improved wellbeing, mental health and general happiness. This is a good method to use as it makes you think about the different things you are appreciative of instead of just listing one obvious thing. You might even start thinking about the things you didn’t even realise you are grateful for! Start today. You have the power and the right to take positive steps right now to improve your mental health. Don’t wait until you're in a crisis to make it a priority. If you’re an employer and want to know how you can support your employees mental health, click here.
Anyone who has been in the job searching process for a while will know that being invited to a job interview is not something that is easily achieved. Being one of the few candidates chosen for an interview rather than being in the huge crowd of applicants is a huge success and something to be proud of. Unfortunately, too many job seekers blow their shot by not being prepared, uninterested or even having negative body language – wasting everyone’s time and effort. To avoid this – we have put together the top 4 mistakes that are made in interviews and how they can be avoided. Mistake #1: Being unprepared An interviewer can always tell when a candidate is unprepared, always. It is one of the biggest opportunity blowers. How to avoid: Be prepared! Look up the company and memorise a few facts to take to the interview, such as how long the company has been running and any awards they may have won. You should also analyse the job description and make notes on how your skills match up to their requirements to talk about in your interview. It’s also good to look up some standard interview questions and start preparing your answers. Also, check out our blog 10 unique interview questions that are fun to ask and prepare yourself for some of the less conventional questions too! Researching into your potential employer can also score you brownie points. Hopefully you know the name(s) of your interviewer(s), so search them on LinkedIn and look at their page to find out how long they’ve worked there or any promotions they may have had. (Top tip – you can use their promotion experience if you’re asked the famous “where do you see yourself in two years” question!) Mistake #2: Appearing uninterested This will drive the hiring manager insane. Even though it can be hard to know that the job is for you just by looking at the description – but even if you’re in the interview thinking “this isn’t for me” still act interested – it’s polite. You can always call the interviewer after the interview and explain why you’re not interested. How to avoid: Demonstrate your interest in the company and the role by knowing what you’re talking about. Actually have a conversation with the interviewer instead of just answering questions back and forth. Also, turn off your phone. This is so that there won’t be any awkward “sorry, I’ll just switch that off” or “sorry, I just need to take this quickly” (this one is a massive no no!) Your sole attention should be on the interview. You should also ask questions – but not ones that could be answered by looking at their website or a google search. Mistake #3: Having negative body language You should always greet your interviewer with a smile, a firm handshake, eye contact and confidence. If you don’t at least greet your interviewer with a smile it is an instant sign that you’re too bothered and therefore set the tone of a bad interview. This can also set the first impression as negative – and first impressions are impossible to get back, and hard to bounce back from. You want to make a good impression to prove you are right for the role and the company. Click here to check out our blog how to make a good first impression. How to avoid: Always ensure you greet with a smile, a clear “Hello” and a firm handshake. Act like you are so happy to meet this person. Don’t slouch in the chair, sit up and answer all their questions. Mistake #4: Don’t share too much information People can sometimes have a ‘whole truth and nothing but the truth’ mind-set when it comes to interviews. Some people bad mouth previous employer, some people tell their whole life story – which is not something that the interviewer wants to hear. If they want to know something, they will ask. How to avoid: Answer the interviewers question, you can elaborate but keep it relevant and on topic. Don’t talk about anything inappropriate. We all know someone who has blown their interview by doing at least one of these things! Now we have straightened things out, hopefully you won’t follow their lead. For more top tips check out our blog 5 things you should never do in an interview.
No one ‘has the time’ to listen to sales people, right? Your prospects tend to be ‘stuck in a meeting’ or are ‘currently unavailable’. Which can make your sales based job very difficult and frustrating at times. So how can you break the stigma around sales calls (and sales people in general) so that your clients make the time to hear what you have to say? Read on to hear our top tips… Tip #1 – Always start off positive Whether it’s a meeting or a call, never start off by talking or moaning about negative things such as bad weather, traffic or how busy you are. This sets the tone for the rest of the meeting – think positive – talk about good weather, upcoming weekend plans and other positive things happening in life. This will kick off your sales call in the right direction! Remember, before you speak to your prospect – most of the time the call will start off with a gate keeper – if you’re negative or rude to them, it is likely that they will not even put you through to the person you want to speak to. This completely eliminates your shot before you’ve even taken it. Make the gatekeeper your new bestie! Tip #2 - Use positive labels Assigning positive labels generally makes people try and live up to them. Try saying things like… “You’re one of the best clients we have!” “You’re such a pleasure to do business with” Having received these compliments, clients will most likely try and be your best customer and/or even try harder to be a pleasing client. Tip #3 – Set the agenda and stay in control Before picking up the phone, you should have notes in front of you on the things you want to talk about and in what order you are going to speak about them in. This is good to do otherwise you may side track from the topic and end up going back and forth which seems unorganised and unfocused. Stay in control of the calling process by saying something along the lines of: “I’d like to go over X,Y and Z with you and then I would be happy to answer any questions you may have, does that sound good to you?” Tip #4 – Simplify options Giving a client too many options at once can over whelm them and maybe even cause them to reconsider working with you if you overload them with information. Try and make the sales process for your client as simple as possible and do anything you can to help them with it. They will appreciate this and may even refer other businesses to you. Simplifying your client’s options will also make them come to a decision quicker. Only when the threat of rejection occurs should you present counter options. Do you think you could make use of our top tips? How about joining our crazy sales team here at Swanstaff? We have multiple roles available up and down the UK. Check out what job roles we have available here https://www.swanstaff.co.uk/consultants/grace-rosam
An unexpected inspection from CQC can be a daunting experience for all who receives them. To ensure that the visit goes as smooth and well as possible, you need to set aside time to prepare for what will actually happen when the day arrives. If you follow our 5 top tips to preparing for a CQC inspection, you’ll be ready and set to go! #1 – Prepare your staff A huge part of meeting the inspector’s requirements and impressing them will be to really prepare your staff. The best way to do this is to explain what the CQC is and why the inspection is so important to the organisation producing high quality care. Also explain to your staff what kinds of questions could be asked so that they can prepare for them. This will help them to feel more confident and less likely to feel under pressure and on the spot. #2 – Prepare your patients Your patients are the biggest assets to your organisation and the CQC inspector will want to speak with them to get their views on the organisation and how it is run. You want the patients to give their honest opinion so instead of preparing them in regards to the answers their going to give, just let them know that they may be asked a couple of questions and maybe give them an example of the kinds of questions. Patient feedback is essential in any Health and Social care setting, you want to be providing the best care possible so you need to know what is working for your patients and what can be improved! #3 – Plan the day in advance Make a timetable for the day of the inspection so you and your staff know exactly what to do and when. You could also prepare a welcome pack that outlines the key members of staff that the inspector(s) may wish to speak to. This could include the staff member’s name, their job title and a picture of them. #4 – Gather all the correct and relevant information There could be a vast amount of paperwork and documentation that the CQC inspector could ask for. This could include; policies, HR records, patient information and Health and Safety documents. Remember to include minutes of meetings where these topics may have been discussed. #5 – Don’t over think it The CQC inspector will just want to see how the organisation operates on a day to day basis, in its normal manor. So there’s no need to roll out the red carpet and bubbly just yet! Just remember to remain calm and treat it the same as any other day. If you follow our top tips then we have no doubt you will be completely prepared for your CQC Inspection! Remember, stay calm and act normal!
Healthcare Assistants are our day-to-day heroes! They have such a demanding but rewarding job that require a diverse range of qualities. A Health care Assistant needs to be an equal mixture of soft and strong. Capable of empathy but strong enough to handle traumatic situations! This is why it requires a special type of person to become a Healthcare Assistant. Here are some of the top 5 qualities you will need… #1 – Passion This is possibly the most important quality that a Healthcare Assistant should have. Whilst skills and training are essential – it is the passion that a Healthcare Assistant has that truly makes all the difference to the service user’s life! #2 – Dedication Dedication is also paramount in the Healthcare industry. You are responsible for a vulnerable individual’s well being, so the role is not something that can be done half-heartedly. #3 – Communication Healthcare Assistants commonly interact with individuals from different backgrounds with different health issues. These health issues may affect their ability to communicate well. So, your ability to speak clearly and to listen effectively is paramount. #4 – Reliability For many service users – Healthcare Assistants are their second brain. The majority of carers are responsible for ensuring their client eats, drinks, takes their medication (if required) and makes their appointments. If these are not met, the outcome could be dramatic. So Healthcare Assistants need to be reliable for the sake of the service user’s health. #5 – Patience Anyone who has spent time with an older person will know that even the simplest of tasks can take a lot longer. This is where you need to be patient with them and understanding. It is essential. If you’re reading this and thinking you have all these qualities and you want to pursue your career as a Healthcare Assistant – take a look here to see what vacancies we have available here at Swanstaff!
When job searching, most of the advice and support you receive focuses on the positive aspects of the process. However, very few people will warn you about the rejection and how to deal with it – this may be a good thing as it can be very difficult to pluck up the courage and put in the effort needed to job search! With this in mind – here are our top 4 easy steps to dealing with rejection… #1 – Ask for feedback! Don’t let your disappointment get in the way of ensuring you get the constructive feedback you need in order to improve. If you’re working with a good hiring manager then gaining feedback should be simple and easy! If you’re struggling with how to form your request for feedback, here is a sample we have whipped up for you to use… “Dear (Hiring Manager Name) Thank you for getting back to me about your decision and keeping me in the loop. While I am obviously disappointed to hear that I was not chosen for the (Job Title) position, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to have had an interview for the role and meet some of the members of your team. I really enjoyed learning about your company and would love to keep in touch for any future vacancies. If you have a moment, I would be interested in gaining any feedback you have regarding my application and interview. I’m sure anything you can provide will be helpful for my job search! Thank you again for your time and consideration. I wish you and the rest of the team all the best moving forward. Sincerely, (Your Name)” #2 – Would YOU hire you? Try asking yourself “would I hire me?” This is a good idea and way to address the circumstances you are in and evaluate whether you are employable amongst hundreds of other applicants going for the same role! If your answer is no, think about what you can change in order for the hiring managers answer to be yes! #3 – Gain a little perspective Job rejections are normal. They happen to almost all job seekers and being rejected just means that you are one step closer to getting the job that is right for you. You shouldn’t be concerned about the rejections and not being the perfect fit, it happen. In fact, on average, you apply for 12 jobs even before being accepted for an interview! So don’t sweat it! #4 – Change up your job searching strategy Have you hit a brick wall in your job search? Do you want to change up your technique? Here are the kinds of things you could change in order to improve: · Lowering your salary expectations · Widening your commuting area · Revamping your CV/cover letter · Join local/professional groups · Attend networking events Dealing with rejection will always be hard, but hopefully with these top tips you will get through it and stay motivated in your job search process! For tips on how to stay motivated during your job search, click here!
Everyone has bad days at work, it’s normal! What is not normal is to be having more negative days than positive. But how do you know when to bite the bullet and hand in your notice? Take a look at our top tips to knowing when to resign… #1 – You don’t want to get out of bed in the morning Whilst it’s very common to go through periods in your life where you feel miserable in your role, it should not be a daily occurrence. Staying in a role you find un-motivating and uninspiring will slowly eat away at your mental health and self-worth. When you feel like this – it is a strong sign that it’s time for you to resign. #2 - It’s taken its toll on your health Can you see your sick days adding up? Are you taking as much time off as humanly possible? Is this because you’re working so many hours that you don’t have any ‘you’ time? No job is worth sacrificing your mental and physical health for. So if you’re noticing that you’re feeling run down or ill a lot of the time, you should take a look at your situation at work. #3 – The work environment is negative/toxic If your co-workers and/or boss is constantly complaining and is unhappy, the probability of you being content is extremely low. A negative atmosphere can even kill the passion you have for the industry you love. If you find yourself in this environment – get out as soon as possible! #4 – You vent about your job way too much Have a think about your most common conversations. Do you feel yourself constantly complaining about your work load, your colleagues or your workplace? A job should be giving you more positivity than negativity, and if it isn’t then you need to decide whether you want to stay or find somewhere more suited to your character. #5 – There’s no room for progression There is no point in wasting your time in a job trying to prove yourself and work your way up when there is simply no possibility of it happening. If you’re asking about promotions and nothing is coming of it – it might be time to move on. Do any of these ring a bell? If they do, it is a strong sign that you need to leave your job and find one more suited to your personality and skill set. If you’re in the middle of your new job search and you’re struggling to keep motivated, take a look at our top tips on how to keep motivated here!