Mental Health and Manufacturing

Saturday 10th October was World Mental Health Day, and this year the cause is particularly important. The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted us all, whether it causes fear, uncertainty or loss of social contact, meaning that it is now more than ever to pay attention to our employees’ mental health.

Contributory factors

Manufacturing workplaces are statistically more hazardous than non-manual settings and so as a sector, we’ve become very good at identifying and managing the risks to our employees’ physical health and safety.

However, the nature of manufacturing workplaces comes with a unique set of challenges:

– physically demanding work

– long (sometimes unsociable) hours

– a typically male-dominated workforce, which can manifest a need to be ‘tough’

– older workers, who may suffer from chronic physical ill-health

– later life personal life changes, such as divorce and ‘empty nest syndrome’

 

What to look for

Everyone is different and while some employees suffering from poor mental health will display obvious symptoms others will not.

Some behavioural changes to look out for are:

– high or low moods

– unusual loss of confidence

– social withdrawal

– other extreme changes to behaviour

– high absenteeism

– failure to take annual leave

– reduction in productivity

– others will go out of their way to hide that they are struggling

 

What employers can do

Here are some more specific things we’ve been doing at Glossop Cartons which have worked well:

– Talk: organise regular one-to-ones to check in on employees and see what support they need.

– Manage workloads effectively and encourage people to turn off when they go home.

– Operate a zero-tolerance policy towards bullying.

– Organise mental health awareness training. The Samaritans have some very useful resources. Go to https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/workplace/.

– Sign-post employees to external organisations that provide expert help, for example the Samaritans or and Mind. At Glossop Cartons, we are extremely fortunate to be able to access a fantastic organisation called The Printing Charity.

– Encourage kindness and self-care: this applies to all levels of the organisation and might include health and wellbeing initiatives that promote the importance of eating well, being active and maintaining social contacts – even if remotely – with friends and family.

 

The most important thing that an employer can do is create an environment where mental health isn’t stigmatised and where employees feel confident to ask for help and support without feeling judged.

For further advice or support visit Samaritans here or Mind here.


The Hunt for Talent in the Print and Packaging Industry

Jacky Sidebottom-Every, joint managing director at Glossop Cartons, explores what a career in the print and packaging industry has to offer.

The print and packaging industry is an extremely diverse area to work in. It’s at the heart of technological advancements in manufacturing and logistics, and in our case, is leading the charge for sustainability in product packaging. What’s more, it offers a broad range of roles for individuals interested in building a technical, administrative or creative career.

However, the industry we’re in presents some obstacles for both employers and those at the start of their careers.

The industry has an ageing workforce, and in addition, it isn’t good at promoting the opportunities it offers. For example, in continental Europe, there is a defined career pathway and recognised packaging qualifications at all levels. Consequently, the print and packaging industry is considered an attractive and professional career choice. In the UK by contrast, there’s no standardised career pathway, which means people tend to end up in the print industry rather than make a conscious decision to work in it.

In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted further challenges. Since the pandemic began, some members of staff haven’t been able to work either due to illness or because they were shielding. Unlike areas of the economy where employees can work from home, manufacturing businesses like ours need the majority of employees to be physically present for the business to function. Despite high levels of unemployment, pockets of UK manufacturing continue to face challenges when recruiting the talent they need to develop and grow.

What we’re doing at Glossop Cartons

As a sector, we believe strongly in us all working together to improve awareness about how dynamic and rewarding a career in the print and packaging industry can be.

To make the recruitment process more successful for ourselves and applicants, we’ve recently made some changes to our approach:

– We work closely with the local employment centre. They show interested applicants a presentation we’ve prepared – which includes video clips of the shop floor – so they can see the working environment

– We familiarise potential employees with our systems and equipment at interview stage by taking them on guided factory tours (while maintaining social distance and adhering to COVID-safe guidelines)

– We meet applicants face-to-face to help them see if they’ll be a good fit for the team

– We promote print and packaging as a career choice to both men and women. Traditionally, it has been a male-dominated environment, but there’s no reason why this should be the case

– We encourage younger people to choose print and packaging as their career path, as they bring with them fresh ideas, knowledge and creativity

– Our educational partnerships help support the local community by getting involved with schools and colleges to help ensure young people know about the opportunities available in our industry when they leave school

– We are on the board of the British Printing Industries Federation which has a number of great training and development initiatives, including apprenticeships and schools initiatives designed to promote careers in the sector. (For more details on this go to https://www.britishprint.com/training-development/apprenticeships/).

 

Are you interested in a career in printing and packaging?

At Glossop Cartons we’re passionate about what we do and we look for people we think could share in that. Here are some characteristics we always look for:

– An inquisitive mind; you should have an interest in machines and mechanics – the kind of person who might take their bike apart and be able to build it back again!

– A good basic level of English and Maths

– A strong work ethic and a desire to progress

– The ability to work as part of a team

– Prepared to work hard, learn from others and take responsibility for your development

If that sounds like you and you live in the Stockport area, or you know anyone who might fit the bill, please email a covering letter and your current CV to jacky@glossopcartons.com.

 


Access Free Support for Employees Through The Printing Charity

As coronavirus continues to impact every area of our lives, there has never been a more important time for business owners to support their employees’ health and wellbeing.

At Glossop Cartons we are extremely lucky to be able to access a fantastic organisation called The Printing Charity.

About The Printing Charity

The only dedicated charity for people in the printing sector, it offers free practical and emotional support to people who work in (or have previously worked in) the printing sector, helping them find their way through life’s challenges.

    • Practical support: Citizen’s Advice Bureau style advice across a broad range of topics from separation and debt management through to funeral planning and home repairs.
    • Emotional support: provided by British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) accredited therapists via phone 24/7/365. Further consultations may be offered face-to-face either remotely or at an appropriate social distance.

The Printing Charity’s Helpline

Individuals working in the print industry can access this free confidential helpline, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.  Access to the helpline is provided at a business level. To find out more, visit www.theprintingcharity.org.uk/our-helpline and complete the form or connect with Nicola Peacock on LinkedIn.

Our experience

We first partnered with The Printing Charity in early 2019 and have been impressed by their approachable and organised style. As a business owner I’m pleased and reassured to be able to offer their services to my team as I know that coronavirus is creating many new problems and anxieties. Totally independent from us, The Printing Charity gives our employees somewhere to go when they’re in need and require specialist, impartial advice and support.

Several members of our team have used the service already as they cope with a range of personal crises and their feedback about their experience has been excellent.

Accessing the support your employees need

I am proud to be an ambassador for The Printing Charity and wholeheartedly recommend other employers in the sector to get involved.

You can follow The Printing Charity on LinkedIn.


Protecting Sustainable Packaging

Before COVID-19, the packaging world was already undergoing a process of transformation. Consumer and regulatory pressure had forced manufacturers and retailers to reduce their carbon footprints and adopt more sustainable packaging.

However, with the move to prioritise safety and hygiene during the coronavirus pandemic, a shift towards plastics for their cleaning properties has sidelined more sustainable packaging solutions.

We interview our Joint Managing Director, Jacky Sidebottom-Every, to find out more about the changing attitudes towards the use of plastics and paper-based materials in packaging.

Q: Prior to Covid-19, what was the packaging industry’s main priority?

JS-E: Improving sustainability has been high on our agenda for a number of years and is a hugely important issue across the entire industry. We are also led by consumer opinion, and paper-based packaging is generally viewed as being better for the environment. Consequently, most major UK supermarkets have committed to reducing plastic packaging, including Sainsbury’s, for example, who last year unveiled plans to halve the supermarket’s usage by 2025.

Q: When did you first notice that Covid-19 was impacting the packaging industry?

JS-E: Almost as soon as the pandemic took hold in the UK, Glossop Cartons saw an unprecedented increase in demand for our cartons, especially from the pharmaceutical and food sectors, as a direct result of changes in consumer behaviour. This included the stockpiling of basic household items including toilet rolls, pasta and sanitiser.

Q: How did this impact the selection of materials used in packaging?

JS-E: We’ve seen signs that sustainability is being side-lined in the name of product safety, making plastic more desirable to consumers. However, this is an area where the science is often inconclusive.  Yes, plastic is wipeable, but the World Health Organisation advises that coronavirus lasts three times as long on plastic as it does on cardboard.

Q: So are the materials used in packaging directly linked to the spread of coronavirus?

JS-E: Neither the European nor US food agencies have confirmed any link between food packaging and the transmission of coronavirus. It’s a confusing and frequently changing landscape.

Q: How does this affect packaging manufacturers?

JS-E: COVID-19 has made us think hard about the kind of world we want to live in and how we should be using its finite resources in the long term. The way businesses treat their customers and how responsibly they utilise the natural environment will last long in the collective memory. So, whether that’s staying true to commitments to use recycled plastic or transitioning from plastic to cardboard, the long term impact of decisions made now could be significant.

Q: What about the UK government’s plan to introduce a plastic tax in April 2022?

JS-E: The plastic tax is expected to increase the use of recycled plastic in packaging by 40%, which we welcome. At Glossop Cartons, our primary raw material, carton board, is sourced from accredited, managed, sustainable forests with a 3 to 1 re-planting programme. As a result, much of it is FSC certified. The cartons we manufacture are recyclable and compostable and we’re always looking for ways to behave more environmentally friendly as a business.

Q: What other qualities make cardboard your material of choice?

JS-E: Cardboard has many advantages for product manufacturers and retailers which makes it an ideal packaging material. It’s very durable, it can be adapted to products of all shapes and sizes, it has high recycling rates, above 80% in the UK, it’s fully biodegradable, lightweight to transport, and requires comparatively less energy to manufacture than most other packaging alternatives.

Q: What are the next steps for Glossop Cartons?

JS-E: The only thing that seems certain at the moment is that the business environment is changing on an almost daily basis. As we move through to the next phase of the global pandemic, Glossop Cartons is ready to help our customers deal with whatever challenges and opportunities it brings.

To find out more about Glossop Cartons product range click here


A Winning Way to End the Month for Glossop Cartons

Glossop Cartons had a big reason to celebrate at the end of June after being awarded the People’s Choice Award (North & Northern Ireland) at the Family Business of the Year!

After ‘attending’ the awards event on YouTube rather than in person, we were delighted to receive the award.

The Family Business of the Year Awards are organised annually by Family Business United, the family business champions, and seek to recognise and celebrate the contribution that family firms make to the UK economy.  As Paul Andrews, Founder and CEO of Family Business United explains, “With over 5 million family businesses across the UK they really are the heart of the nation and the engine room of the UK economy.  Family businesses deserve recognition for the income they generate, jobs they provide and the wealth they create, not to mention the great work they do in the communities in which they are based.

“The People’s Choice Awards are a little bit special as they are voted for by the public and to win demonstrates the role that the business plays and the respect and support it has in the broader community too.  2020 has not been an easy year for many so it was pleasing to see a record number of votes cast in the awards this year.  Over 14,000 votes were cast and the competition was tough but winners emerged and deserve their moment in the spotlight.  All of our People’s Choice winners are great ambassadors for a sector that does so much.”

As one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of carton board packaging products, Glossop Cartons began as a humble start-up in 1982, started by Joint Managing Director, Jacky Sidebottom-Every’s father.

Now a thriving industry leader holding a strong customer base of leading household names, Jacky works alongside her husband and two sisters and has helped establish the company as a thriving industry leader holding a strong customer base of leading household names.

Says Jacky, “We were thrilled to have won. After what has been a very challenging time for the economy – and everyone as a whole – it was a very welcome piece of good news for the whole team.”