Ganymede specialise in recruiting the best technical and engineering talent and providing complete workforce solutions to help build and maintain infrastructure and transportation for a wide range of UK clients.
As part of the RTC Group, an AIM-listed recruitment group, Ganymede is a market leader in providing a diverse range of people solutions to the rail, energy, construction, highways and transportation sectors.
With offices strategically located across the country, we provide our clients with the benefit of a national network of skilled personnel combined with local expertise. We currently have over 1,500 skilled staff currently deployed across the country on a daily basis.
We tailor our solutions to suit our client needs. Whether it’s recruiting permanent and temporary technical, engineering and safety-critical roles or providing fully managed workforce solutions of recruitment, training, account management, contingent labour and fleet provision, we work closely with our clients to understand their requirements, keeping their goals in mind every step of the way.
Our contingent labour services include the recruitment, training and workforce management of safety-critical personnel from our strategically located offices across the UK.
As well as compliant contract recruitment, we provide payroll solutions and a unique IR35 assessment service designed to protect our clients and contractors.
Ganymede's permanent recruitment processes help you find the best talent for your business and is backed up by our market-leading two year guarantee.
Our executive search service is completely tailored to the needs of your business. Added extras include advanced screening processes and psychometric testing.
Ganymede’s core values define what we stand for and how we do things, helping us to provide the best possible service to our clients and candidates and maintain a healthy working environment for our employees.
We care about local communities and are committed to attracting and retaining diverse talent. We strive to support charities and good causes and take care of the environment by operating ethically and sustainably.
People Are Our Passion
People are at the heart of everything we do. Through our in-depth recruitment processes, we attract, develop and retain the best people, supporting our clients to deliver projects safely and efficiently.
Every action taken by the organisation is done with skill, care and pride in mind. This ensures that every level of the organisation is accountable and provides the best possible service.
By continually building upon our vast industry knowledge and working collaboratively with our clients, we always deliver first-class, innovative and tailored solutions with our client goals in mind.
Safety First, Safety Always
Safety is at the forefront of our business operations. Awareness and continuous improvement eliminates complacency and ensures we keep our workforce, industry colleagues and communities safe.
We pride ourselves in not just supplying to, but also fully immersing ourselves in the transportation sector, and have done so for over 50 years. Ganymede work hard to identify transferable skills ...
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Supporting original equipment manufacturers, train and freight operators and national main contractors, Ganymede recruit across all stages of rail projects, including design and development, build...
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Ganymede has worked closely with clients on some of the most impressive commercial and residential construction projects throughout the UK, hiring for every stage of the process from design to buil...
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Our energy division is a leading provider of skilled engineers in safety-critical and customer-facing environments for energy suppliers, utilities and maintenance companies.From supplying individua...
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Ganymede play an important part in highways, ensuring our clients have the best engineers capable of delivering projects on time and to budget. We support highways projects from planning and design...
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Our turnkey solution to packages of works includes the full planning, management, engineering and delivery of a wide range of Civil Engineering and Permanent Way works.We work collaboratively with ...
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Like many other recruiters, our rebate scheme promises to provide you with a completely free replacement
within 8 weeks. However, nothing we do at Ganymede is standard, and that includes our extended recruitment
guarantee. The Ganymede guarantee enables you to hire with confidence in the knowledge that your recruitment
partner has a vested interest in your success.
How to Effectively Work from Home
The Government has recently announced that people should work from home where possible during the current Coronavirus outbreak. Working from home has become popular over the years but for many, it will be a new way of working. What if you have never worked from home, what if you don't have a home office set up? Don’t worry, we have compiled a list of 7 top tips to make sure you are working as effectively as possible from the comfort of your own home. 1. Try to replicate your morning routineOne of the most important things to do is to create the right mindset to work from home, and this should start as soon as you wake up. That’s right, you need to continue setting your morning alarm, getting showered and dressed, eating breakfast and anything else you would normally do before work. Use the time you would normally spend commuting to do something productive like walking the dogs, making breakfast or just catching up with the news.It may seem strange putting your work clothes on just to stay in but, it will help tell your brain that it is work time and not relaxation time. 2. Create a suitable workspace Now you’re up and ready for work it’s time to make sure your workspace is ready. Here are some dos and don'ts for creating a suitable office space whilst you work from home: DO Make sure you have a clean large enough surface. - Similar to your office, you need enough space for your cups of coffee, documents, mouse and anything else you normally have on your desk. Make sure you have a comfortable chair - the last thing you want to do is spend all day sat on an uncomfortable chair.Try and set up a second screen if you use one in the office - this could even be your TV if you don’t have anything smaller. Simply connect your laptop to a TV (usually with an HDMI) then you will have your second screen ready to go. DON’T Work in bed - this may seem like a great idea but it’s not, your brain has learnt to associate the bedroom with being relaxed. Trying to work whilst your brain wants to relax is never going to work well for your productivity. Work in front of the TV - again this sounds like a great idea but realistically you are not going to be as productive whilst trying to watch your favourite series - why not stick the radio on instead? Work on any free surface you can find – If you are not comfortable you will not be able to produce your best work and even worse it may lead to health issues. 3. Try to replicate your working routine as much as possible In order to keep yourself in the right frame of mind, it is important to try and replicate your working routine. That includes your working hours, your tea and coffee breaks and your lunch schedule. Make sure you plan regular breaks and make sure you follow the governments advice about working safely with display screen equipment. 4. Plan your time and exactly what you want to achieve each day One great way to keep productivity at a high is to plan your workflow. At the start of the day, you need to know what your priorities are, what you need to get done first and what you want to work on if you have extra time. Check out our blog about effectively managing your time here. If you are part of a team it may be worth holding daily catch ups to ensure you are all on task and achieving what you need to achieve. 5. Keep work time and personal time separate So, you have your schedule and you’re burning through tasks but it’s already the end of the day, you might be tempted to carry on working as you no longer have to commute and you’re in a good flow. Which is great, however, it is just as important to give yourself some time off when you’ve promised it. Try not to extend your workday too far over what you planned, as this might lead to burning yourself out and starting to see your home environment as a stressful place. By doing this and keeping work time and personal time separate should make you more productive at work and less stressed when you aren’t working. 6. Use the correct software and tools We are fortunate that we live in an innovative world where the likes of Microsoft Teams and Skype have made it easier than ever to keep in contact with work colleagues, whether that's instant messaging, video calls or conference calls. Choose the correct tool that works for you and your team to make sure you stay in touch with what’s going on. 7. Stay connectedMake sure you’re still picking up the phone or getting on skype and teams and having conversations where you can. There are number of benefits of having conversations out of email, firstly you get to bounce off one another and keep those creative juices flowing, secondly it’s important to stay social when you’re removed from those people at work, don’t be afraid to just have a general quick chat.Want to read more tips and advice like this? Make sure you sign up to our blog to receive them directly in your inbox.
5 Reasons to Hire Engineering Contractors
You’re a Hiring Manager who wants to minimise disruption to business and projects during the recruitment process, but how? This blog outlines several ways in which hiring a contractor could solve your problems, even if it’s just while you’re looking for a permanent employee.It’s estimated that there’s an annual shortfall of 59,000 engineers needed to fill technical roles across the UK. For employers, this means that competition for the best talent is at an all-time high – resulting in a longer time to hire, delayed projects and slower production.So where do contract engineers come in to this? How much do contractors cost? We work with several businesses that need a temporary solution to accommodate for an increase in workload or to plug the gap during their permanent recruitment drive. There are a number of benefits to doing this, read them below:1. They can hit the ground runningEngineering and civil engineering contractors are typically very skilled and experienced, with several years working as a permanent employee before changing to freelance. Hiring a contractor means you’re getting an expert that can make an instant impact to your business, with no training required. This is incredibly valuable if you’re working on a time-sensitive project or need to avoid any impact on production.2. There is no commitmentContractors can work with your business for as long, or as little, as required. Whether you need an engineer for 3 months to finish a project, or for 2 weeks to cover holiday or sickness, hiring a contract engineer is a great solution. Once the initial contract finishes, or you find the permanent employee you’ve been looking for, there’s no obligation to provide the contractor with more work. This is something seasoned contractors are comfortable with, and it provides great flexibility to your business.3. It isn’t as expensive as you may thinkIt’s impossible to determine the cost of hiring an engineering contractor – this will completely depend on the experience they have, the work required, and the sector they’ll be operating in. You may panic when you see a daily contract rate, but keep in mind that there are no other costs involved, such as holiday pay or sick pay. The contractor is only paid for the time they work, which is great value for money, considering sickness pay alone can cost up to 16% of your annual salary bill.4. They have their own insuranceContractors are required to have their own insurance in order to carry out their services. Professional Indemnity insurance covers them if they make any mistakes or result in you losing money. Public Liability covers contractors if somebody is injured or property is damaged whilst supplying services. This is a benefit to you and your business as it means that you’re not liable in the same way you would be if these mistakes were made by a permanent member of staff. The cost of insurance and cost of the claim would fall on the contractor, not your business.5. They’re a great answer to a permanent skills gapThe engineering skills gap is making it more difficult to recruit permanent engineers, but business can’t wait. When you recruit contract engineers, you’re giving your business the breathing space to take the time you need to fill a permanent position, while having somebody doing the job in the interim. It’s very likely that the amount spent on contractors would be less than the amount lost in not having somebody at least temporarily fill the role – delayed projects, low production and reduced output are avoidable.Each of these points combined should paint a great picture of the benefits of recruiting engineering or civil engineering contractors. Some businesses prefer to hire contractors, others use them as means to an end – either way, they’re a resource that your business should be considering during increased workloads and recruitment gaps.Engineering RecruitmentOur extensive contract division includes recruitment, compliance, payroll and ongoing contractor management, making the process as easy as possible for our clients. Not only can we help you to recruit engineering contractors and civil engineering contractors, we can also conduct all right to work checks, pay them, and provide you with a full end-to-end contract recruitment service.If you want to find out more about Ganymede our contract services or how we can help your business, contact us using the button below.CONTACT US
How to Choose the Best Engineering Recruitment Agency
If you’re a Hiring Manager that is nervous of using a recruiter, or perhaps just don’t know where to start when choosing one, this blog is for you. We address your concerns and the common misconceptions of recruitment agencies, and equip you with the tools needed to separate the good, the bad and the ugly.The recruitment industry can be a minefield. There are nearly 40,000 recruitment agencies of all sizes to choose from and you have probably been contacted by what feels like half of them. Recruiters recently appeared in a list of the 10 least trusted professions, alongside car salespeople and bailiffs. But why?We firmly believe the misconception of recruiters is down to us naturally remembering the bad experiences, more than the good. The ‘once bitten, twice shy’ approach is understandable, but it may be hampering your chances of finding a recruitment agency that could genuinely add value to you and your business.There are reputable and trustworthy engineering recruitment agencies, but you need to know how to identify them. This blog will help you to do that, so keep reading to find out the tell-tale sales of a good and trustworthy recruiter that can help your business.Do your researchWe learn not to judge a book by it’s cover, but in this case, it’s important to take a look at the recruiters’ website and social media streams. It goes beyond whether the recruitment agency look good, you should also be looking out for case studies and testimonials as well as blog posts and content that demonstrates they have a real understanding of your sector and the issues your business faces.Choose a specialistThere are a number of recruitment agencies that operate across every sector. They work in high-volumes with no particular specialism and will often use their colossal database as a selling point, but this is not always a success factor. You’re an engineering business, engage with an engineering recruitment agency – they operate in your space and they spend their days talking to engineers, developing large networks relevant to your business. As well as an understanding of the skills you’ll be looking for in candidates, technical recruiters will also know a lot about the marketplace, including average salaries and where your competition is. This will save you a lot of time during the briefing and recruitment process as you’re much more likely to receive the right match.Ask questionsWe all know to ask questions, but there are particular things to ask that will very quickly expose the quality of a recruitment agency. You will want to know their efficiencies, which essentially translates to ‘how many CVs are you going to send before there’s a candidate I’ll want to interview?’. Multiple CVs and poor matches are a waste of your time, and a high-quality recruitment business will measure themselves on these numbers and have them to hand when you ask. Other, more obvious things worth probing into are accreditation, memberships and examples of previous work.These basic steps will leave you able to make a much more confident decision on which engineering recruitment agency to work with. Whenever looking for a recruitment service, keep these three things in mind and you’re much more likely to have a better and more efficient experience.Engineering RecruitmentATA is an engineering recruitment agency with a difference – we’ve been operating within the sector for over 50 years and have a large database of relevant and engaged engineers that could be perfect for your business.We’re so confident in our recruitment services that our market-leading guarantee covers all full fee permanent placements for 2 years, substantially longer than any of our competitors. Contact us to discuss your requirements and how ATA Recruitment can help using the button below.CONTACT US
Thank you for the help we received from Ganymede for the core renewals works at Wembley, where we renewed S&C and plain track and handed back to line speed. All the Ganymede staff worked to a high standard on difficult works with no accidents or incidents.
It was great to work with a team who were interested with the task in hand and worked extremely hard, even in the high temperatures. I look forward to working with Ganymede again.
The Ganymede team went over and above to ensure we met our workloads, this type of commitment and pro-activeness goes a long way.
Ganymede has worked collaboratively with us to provide a contingent labour service to fulfil our requirements to enhance the infrastructure on the Western Route. Ganymede continuously evolves to meet business needs and train their people to provide a high skilled workforce.
Ganymede are an important partner within the Works Delivery organisation in Wales. They integrate closely with the local teams to ensure our delivery needs are met.
Works Delivery Director
Thank you once again Ganymede for providing such a high calibre of resource, the productivity noticed on site is above and beyond what we expected given our experiences with other contingent labour providers.
Works Delivery Manager
To discuss our effective processes, or to find out more about what we do and how we can help your business, contact us below.
Safety First Newsletter - Winter Edition 2020
The Winter edition of Safety First, Ganymede’s quarterly safety newsletter is now available to read.In this edition we focus on:Lessons LearnedRecharging portable electrical equipmentVerification of the Safe System of Work within the Safe Work PackSpotlight on SafetyClose Call winner, Matt CookHealth and WellbeingWake up your anklesHand Arm Vibration (HAV)RelationshipsCouch to 5KSleep Hygiene5 top tips for eating healthier this WinterDriving in WinterDriving in Winter conditionsKnow your speed limitsSocial ResponsibilityGanymede's commitment to social responsibility in 2021Our partnership with SamaritansRead the Winter 2020 Safety First Newsletter hereAs always, we trust you will find the newsletter useful and engaging. If you have any questions or feedback after reading this edition of Safety First, please don't hesitate to get in touch using the form below.
What will 2021 bring for job seekers?
What will 2020 be remembered for from a recruitment perspective? I suspect we would all offer a similar answer to this and that most will be doing everything they can to forget the past 12 months. I hope that as we continue to navigate these unpredictable waters, that we recognise how well recruitment activity has (finally) evolved beyond its over-reliance on ineffective CV or ‘application form’ driven processes and the opportunities this presents us. This is great news for you as a candidate; writing CVs is a guessing game which routinely fails to reward the best candidates, rather leaving hiring managers interviewing the best CV writers. 2020 has enforced a change and witnessed the real emergence of video interviewing as a key element of the selection process. But video interviewing has been around for years right? Well, yes and no. Yes, in that Skype, Zoom, Facetime, Teams alongside many other web conferencing tools have been seen in use where logistically it has been difficult to get people together. But ‘no’ because the interviewing aspect of a hiring process still necessitated a face to face meeting; rarely would a hiring manager be comfortable to make a hiring decision from a video interview alone. They were used to rubber stamp a decision already made. Now we are seeing video interviewing really influence the selection process, with an increasing number of companies incorporating video at the outset of a hiring campaign. Why is this such good news? Citing Richard Branson; "Personality before [resume]. A person who has multiple degrees in your field isn't always better than someone with broad experience and a wonderful personality."As companies embrace the time saving and effectiveness of video at the start of a hiring process, as a candidate you have a much greater opportunity to present your personality than you can achieve in a CV or application form. A potential ‘no’ can be turned into a ‘yes’. Ganymede’s team has seen many great examples in 2020 where the candidate deemed weakest on paper has proven to be the best in reality! Whilst we are not all gifted creative writers, it does not mean you are not a gifted Engineer or Project Manager etc, which you will more effectively be able to communicate through video (consider if a picture speaks a thousand words, how many does a video speak?) I am looking for a new role, what do I need to consider? Do not rely solely on your CV, LinkedIn profile or application form! We’re not saying these are unimportant, far from it, but as more people are looking for new roles and companies continue to embrace behavioural and personality driven selection methods, candidates can greatly enhance their position in the pack through becoming marketeers of themselves. This too involves embracing the value of video. Are you confident and comfortable in front of a camera? Most people aren’t, but it gets easier with practice (and practice will give you incredible awareness of how you ‘present’ to others!). Similarly, do you consider yourself a technology whiz? With the sheer number of video conferencing systems now available, it’s easy to let the nerves of various technology stumbling blocks affect your confidence and make for a disjointed interview. This is why we have invested heavily in our purpose-built virtual platform, Ganymede Connect. With step-by-step tutorials to support you, you can be certain that your only focus will be on the interview content itself - no distractions. What does this mean for 2021? Whilst we are only one week into 2021, the year has already provided further ‘change’ to the employment market – Brexit, IR35 legislation change in April and continued unpredictability and uncertainty courtesy of COVID-19. Within all of the above will be opportunity; investment into the transport and infrastructure sectors remains strong (despite recent amendments) and the pre COVID-19 skills gap hasn’t gone away (it’s just not quite got the same headlines right now). How you promote yourself, present yourself and highlight your unique personalities will be key to capturing not just any role in 2021, but the role to get excited about. Every company is planning for a strong fightback from the challenges of 2020 – they will certainly be looking for their new hires to contribute to that fight with positivity, energy and imagination. How will you demonstrate yours in your next application? Ganymede is working with several innovative organisations in the UK transportation and infrastructure sectors who have committed hiring plans for 2021. Many of these businesses have embedded Ganymede Connect into their hiring processes to eliminate unnecessary travel, reduce infection risk inherent with face-to-face meetings and improve the candidate journey from application through to hire. If you are looking for opportunities with forward thinking companies involved in the construction, improvement and maintenance of the UK’s infrastructure assets, we would be delighted to hear from you and to help you prepare for the changing hiring journey.
Ganymede welcomes new apprentices onboard
Ganymede are delighted to have welcomed 12 new apprentices onto the company’s Apprenticeship scheme The Ganymede Apprenticeship Scheme provides fantastic opportunities for individuals and prepares them for a future career in the rail sector. Apprentices learn the fundamental skills needed to work in the rail industry by undertaking work trackside, whilst developing academic skills in a classroom environment. Working in partnership with Network Rail, and training provider Intertrain, our apprentices will achieve a Track Maintenance Rail Infrastructure Engineering apprenticeship qualification at the end of the 12-month scheme. What does the Ganymede Apprenticeship Scheme entail? Throughout the apprenticeship, individuals will be doing a combination of classroom and practical based sessions. This intake has been split into two groups of six, so they can receive full exposure to the industry. Initially, the apprentices will receive five weeks of extensive training, which includes induction to track, OLEC1 and small plant. Following this, the apprentices will continue their classroom-based learning two days a week at their local college and go on to develop their practical skills two to three days onsite. The Apprentices will carry out various range of jobs, including the changing sleepers, routine maintenance tasks, renewals tasks, civil works such as vegetation tools training and Lookout training. What will apprentices achieve at the end of the scheme? On completion of the apprenticeship, each candidate will achieve the following qualifications: Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Rail Engineering Track Maintenance Level 2 Certificate in Rail Engineering Underpinning Knowledge Essential skills Personal learning and thinking skills Employment rights and responsibilities Oliver Wright, Operations Director at Ganymede said: “I am delighted to welcome our latest apprentices to the business. Our Apprenticeship Programme is an important way for us to support talented individuals build their careers, transfer their skills and encourage a new generation of rail engineers. I wish our new apprentices the very best of luck as they start their exciting new careers.” Individuals may then continue to work as a Track Operative or will have an opportunity to progress onto Level 3 Apprenticeship in Rail Engineering. Our apprentices have shown great enthusiasm already:“I’ve found both communicating with Intertrain and Ganymede an easy process in regard to learning and courses.” “My experience with Ganymede and what they are offering is great. Also, at Intertrain, all the staff tutors are great to listen to.” If you are looking for an apprentice or would like to join a rail apprenticeship scheme, contact us for more information.
Play your part this Christmas
Play your part this ChristmasLast Christmas, two individuals on site were seriously physically injured. But in addition to those two, there were tens if not hundreds who were mentally and emotionally injured. Watch the video to hear from those who received the horrific news 12 months ago, and the advice they would like to give to anyone who will be working this festive period. Watch the video and ask yourself: This Christmas, what does 'Home safe, Every day' mean to you?"If there is any doubt whatsoever in what you are being asked to do, and the role that you are being asked to sign up to - we want you to stop and challenge that. There is absolutely no doubt that we would rather have the conversation on impact on productivity, than the conversations we were having last Christmas."
A.D.V.I.C.E – Topic 8: Relationships
The coronavirus outbreak is dramatically changing our lives, including our relationships with our families, our friends and our workplaces. Many of us have made sacrifices, had to find new ways of seeing others and found ourselves spending far more time than we’re used to with those who share our homes. It can be helpful to remind ourselves to be extra patient and understanding with each other and ourselves. Many tips about how to maintain good relationships are as relevant and important now as they were before coronavirus. For instance, all five of the Mental Health Foundation’s top tips for nurturing healthy relationships are as important now: Give time - put more time aside to connect with your friends and family Be present- this means really paying attention to the other people in your life and trying not to be distracted by your phone or your work or other interests Listen - really listen to what others are saying and try to understand it and to focus on their needs in that moment Let yourself be listened to - honestly share how you are feeling, and allow yourself to be heard and supported by others Recognise unhealthy relationships - harmful relationships can make us unhappy. Recognising this can help us to move forward and find solutions It is important to be mindful of how we speak to others, no matter how someone looks or acts, you truly never know what’s happening in their lives. During this strange and difficult time, it’s also worth considering additional ways to protect our relationships and try to cope a bit better with some of the relationship problems the virus creates. Romantic Relationships Focus on communicating and listening to each other. Create a time each day to connect - It may be to agree a time each day when everyone in our home can say how they are feeling - for instance, it could be what we have found most difficult and what we are grateful for that day. Share and listen without judgement - Sharing feelings, without fear of being criticised or told off, can help us feel calmer and closer to each other. It may help to remember that everyone is affected by the coronavirus situation and may be feeling more anxious and perhaps more irritable than usual. Family Relationships At a time when we face the uncertainty about coronavirus, such changes in our relationships may be harder to cope with. Schools and businesses have closed, incomes have dropped, jobs have been lost, alcohol and drug-abuse has increased. Domestic abuse victims are being forced to isolate with their abusive family members with no escape, break, external contact or support. Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000 247The Men’s Advice Line, for male domestic abuse survivors – 0808 801 0327 Email Women’s Aid – for help and support email@example.com Parenting For most parents, to say the COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful would be a dramatic understatement. The combination of financial pressure, loss of child care and health concerns is exceedingly challenging for families. Here are some organisations that can offer advice and support to parents and/or children: Family Lives offers a confidential and free helpline service for families in England and Wales (previously known as Parentline). Call on 0808 800 2222 for emotional support, information, advice and guidance on any aspect of parenting and family life. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org (Monday to Friday). https://www.familylives.org.uk/ Childline is available to help anyone under 19 in the UK with any issue they’re going through. Call 0800 1111Via the Website https://www.childline.org.uk/get-support/contacting-childline/Young Minds offer advice, emotional support and signposting for young person’s up to the age of 25. Parents helpline is free on 0808 802 5544 from 09:30 to 16:00, Monday to Friday. If you are concerned about a young person Young persons can text YM to 85258 for free 24/7 support. More information https://youngminds.org.uk/ Friendships As hard as it may feel at times, maintaining friendships is important for our overall health and wellbeing. The current situation is making us seek out new ways to stay connected, keep our spirits up and help one another through these unprecedented times. Some ideas to help us to keep in contact with those we care about and our mental health: Starting your day chatting to a friend or loved one can put you in a positive mood. Arrange Virtual meet ups - video calling, whether that’s with Zoom, WhatsApp, FaceTime or similar methods. Virtual pop quizzes, to live streamed yoga classes and online after work drinks, dinner date Play games such as video games, board games and charades online with your friends virtually Start a film at the same time and have a shared WhatsApp group for everyone to comment in Sharing the small and simple pleasures of life by sending each other links to music, photos, jokes or videos. These can all help keep that sense of togetherness that we all need right now. Other Support Relate can offer support, if you are experiencing problems in any of your relationships or are struggling to communicate, joint counselling or mediation can be a great idea. Relate offers relationship support to everyone whether it is romantic, family or friendship. For more information https://www.relate.org.uk/about-us/contact-us Construction Industry Helpline – Those working in the industry, as well as their families, can contact the Construction Industry Helpline and will be able to call the 24/7 confidential Construction Industry Helpline on 0345 605 1956 to access: Support and advice for sufferers of stress and addiction-related illnesses Advice on matters ranging from divorce to employment Help to manage and reschedule debt Find more information on https://constructionindustryhelpline.co.uk More information on Mental Health, Domestic Abuse, Isolation and other topics compiled by the ADVICE group https://safety.networkrail.co.uk/healthandwellbeing/a-d-v-i-c-e/
A.D.V.I.C.E – Topic 7: Winter Blues
Often the change in seasons to the winter can leave you feeling tired, tearful, or grumpy. And if you experience this, then you’re not alone. While research suggests around 3% of people in the UK are diagnosed with full-blown seasonal affective disorder (SAD), there’s also a milder form, which is much more common and can result in low mood. SAD, or ‘winter blues’, affects 21 % of the population in the UK, explaining why so many of us are left feeling down through the colder months. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. SAD is sometimes known as "winter depression" because the symptoms are usually more apparent and more severe during the winter. The exact cause of SAD is not fully understood, but it's often linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter autumn and winter days. The main theory is that a lack of sunlight might stop a part of the brain called the hypothalamus working properly, which may affect the: •Production of Melatonin – melatonin is a hormone that makes you feel sleepy; in people with SAD, the body may produce it in higher than normal levels •Production of Serotonin – serotonin is a hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep; a lack of sunlight may lead to lower serotonin levels, which is linked to feelings of depression •The body's Internal Clock (Circadian Rhythm) – your body uses sunlight to time various important functions, such as when you wake up, so lower light levels during the winter may disrupt your body clock and lead to symptoms of SAD Symptoms of SAD The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are similar to those of normal depression, but they occur repetitively at a time of year - they usually start in the autumn or winter and improve in the spring. The nature and severity of SAD varies from person to person. Some people just find the condition a bit irritating, while for others it can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day life. Signs that you may be depressed include a persistent low mood, a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities, feeling irritable, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, low self-esteem and tearfulness, feeling stressed or anxious, a reduced sex drive and/ or becoming less sociable. A small number of people will experience these symptoms in phases that are separated by "manic" periods where they feel happy, energetic and much more sociable. In addition to symptoms of depression, you may also: •Be less active than normal •Feel lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day •Sleep for longer than normal and find it hard to get up in the morning •Find it difficult to concentrate •Have an increased appetite – some people have a craving for foods containing lots of carbohydrates and end up gaining weight as a result Ways we can counteract SAD There are a number of simple things you can try that may help improve your symptoms, including: •Trying to get as much natural sunlight as possible – a brief lunchtime walk or 3 lots of 10 minutes’ walk around the block each day can be beneficial – even in the rain! •Making your work and home environments as light and airy as possible and try to set up so you sit near windows when you're indoors working •Taking plenty of regular exercise – see types of exercise below •Eating a healthy, balanced diet and keep hydrated •It can also be helpful to talk to your family and friends about SAD, so they understand how your mood changes during the winter •Try to socialise – SAD encourages isolation but that tends to worsen mood, so see friends and have fun. Where you cannot physically meet due to COVID restrictions, a phone call or video call can also help •Vitamin D (D3) - Taking a supplement can help to counteract low mood through winter months when we are exposed to less sunlight •The nation of Iceland has lower rates of SAD which may be down to the diet, high in oily fish, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Eating at least one portion weekly helps or top up with an omega-3 supplement – flaxseed, or algae-derived omega-3 if you’re vegan or vegetarian. Screen Fatigue If you’ve been working from home more since the COVID-19 and using a computer more throughout the day, you may have noticed your eyes feeling more tired than usual by the end of the day. Too much screen time can put a strain on our eyes which can lead to headaches, eye strain, dry eyes, tiredness and reduced productivity. By using a screen more, we are constantly looking at things that are closer to us than further in the distance – and it’s making our eyes work harder as a result. To help prevent this remember the 20/20/20 rule. After 20 minutes of screen time: Look outside the window at a distance of 20 feet for 20 seconds – and repeat. This gives our eyes the opportunity to relax. You could also try eye yoga. Look to the left, hold the position and repeat looking right. Look up, hold the position, repeat looking down. Repeat four times, closing your eyes and relaxing in between. Try this as a break for your eyes throughout the day. If you haven’t completed a DSE Assessment since working from home during COVID, speak to your employer about what you can both do to ensure your working from home arrangements are suitable. Types of Exercise There are numerous forms of exercise we can do, to help manage our physical health. Different people will enjoy different forms of exercise, and it is about finding what works for you. NHS Physical Activity Guidelines: The NHS provide the following physical activity guidelines for adults aged 19 to 64. You can look at this in more detail at https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/.Adults should do some type of physical activity every day, and any type of activity is good for you, the more you do the better. Adults should: •Aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none, and more is better still •Do strengthening activities that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on at least 2 days a week •Do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week •Reduce time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity. You can also achieve your weekly activity target with: •Several short sessions of very vigorous intensity activity •A mix of moderate, vigorous and very vigorous intensity activity You must ensure that the type and intensity of your activity is appropriate for your level of fitness. If you have not previously done any exercise or not exercised for a long time, you may want to consult your GP before you begin. If you are over 65, please look at the NHS website for further fitness advice for your age group. What is moderate activity? Moderate activity will raise your heart rate, and make you breathe faster and feel warmer. One way to tell if you're working at a moderate intensity level is if you can still talk, but not sing. Examples of moderate intensity activities are brisk walking, water aerobics, riding a bike, dancing, doubles tennis, pushing a lawn mower, hiking and rollerblading. What is vigorous activity? Vigorous intensity activity makes you breathe hard and fast. If you're working at this level, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath. In general, 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity can give similar health benefits to 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity. Most moderate activities can become vigorous if you increase your effort. Examples of vigorous activities are jogging or running, swimming fast, riding a bike fast or on hills, walking up the stairs, sports, like football, rugby, netball and hockey, skipping rope, aerobics, gymnastics and martial arts. What is very vigorous activity? Very vigorous activities are exercises performed in short bursts of maximum effort broken up with rest. This type of exercise is also known as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Examples of very vigorous activities are lifting heavy weights, circuit training, sprinting up hills, interval running, running upstairs and spinning classes. Muscle Strengthening Activities: To get health benefits from strength exercises, you should do them to the point where you need a short rest before repeating the activity. There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether you're at home or in a gym. Examples of muscle-strengthening activities are carrying heavy shopping bags, Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, lifting weights, working with resistance bands, doing exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups and sit-ups, heavy gardening, such as digging and shoveling, wheeling a wheelchair, lifting and carrying children. You can do activities that strengthen your muscles on the same or different days as your aerobic activity – whatever's best for you. Muscle-strengthening exercises are not always an aerobic activity, so you'll need to do them in addition to your 150 minutes of aerobic activity. NHS Fitness: Use the below links to try these exercise videos or programmes: •Aerobic workout videos in the NHS Fitness Studio •For a moderate to vigorous workout, try Couch to 5K, a 9-week running plan for beginners •Strength workout videos in the NHS Fitness Studio •Strength and Flex, a 5-week exercise plan for beginners, to improve your strength and flexibility Remember to be aware of your fitness levels and speak with your GP if you are unsure whether you should do a certain type of exercise, or if you have not exercised for a long time or before. It is much better to start slowly, gently and cautiously, to avoid risks of injury or illness. Further Guidance can be found at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/ https://www.healthline.com/health/asthenopia https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/