5 Activities for National Safety Month
The top activities for engaging employees during National Safety Month include:
Set a company goal for AED/CPR training: Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a stoppage of the heart, causes an estimated 15 percent of workplace deaths. Employees who are well-trained in both CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) use will be fully prepared to respond when SCA occurs. Set a company-wide goal to get a large percentage of workers certified and recognize those individuals who participate in the program by hosting a lunch or picnic. Enlist the help of a training provider and American Heart Association (AHA)-certified instructors to highlight proper AED use and CPR technique.
Fit employees for PPE: Since PPE is only fully effective when it fits correctly, and employees are more likely to wear it when it fits, National Safety Month events are a great opportunity to size employees for gloves, eyewear, hearing protection and protective apparel. PPE that fits properly will not inhibit movement or comfort, but will be tight enough to protect employees during daily activities. Set up fitting stations with several sizes and have a representative on duty who can maintain a log of employees’ sizes to make future ordering easier.
Host a safety contest: To keep employees focused and enthusiastic about safety, use contests and trivia to test employee knowledge about correct safety practices. For example, use an “identify what’s wrong with this picture” contest and have employees submit answers for prizes. To maintain engagement over time, launch a recognition program that rewards certain departments or individuals who have shown an exemplary dedication to workplace safety.
Test fire extinguisher skills: Pick a vendor that can be on-site during safety events to train employees on proper fire extinguisher technique using a fire simulator. Then, test employees’ knowledge with oral quizzes and online training courses. In addition, make sure employees know where all extinguishers and exits are located throughout the facility so they can be fully prepared if a fire occurs.
Teach emergency response: A common misconception is that employees know how to properly respond in the event of an emergency. Use safety awareness events to teach employees proper response including evacuation protocol, first-aid techniques and how to call for help during an emergency. Assign stand-out employees to emergency response teams that can correctly handle chemical spills, fires, natural disasters and SCA.
Dockers and the Birth of Casual Fridays
Loving the everyday comfort of Dockers® at your desk? You’re not the only one. Over the past two decades, a button-down shirt and Dockers® khakis, an ensemble that was originally deemed too casual to constitute business attire, has taken the corporate world by storm.
Dockers® is often credited with the invention of Casual Fridays, the phenomenon that inspired a cultural shift in how we dress for the office. It’s partially, but not entirely, the truth.
In 1966, a professional manufacturing association known as the Hawaiian Fashion Guild figured out a plan to boost sales of Hawaiian shirts and dresses. “Aloha Fridays” gave employees the fashion freedom to wear these colorful garments in the office at the end of the week. Their strategy not only sold many shirts, but also enforced a societal message: There’s room for fun and relaxation in the workplace. (They don’t call it “island time” for nothing, after all).
The tradition inspired the popular sing-along “Aloha Friday,” with lyrics that include “I work hard all week long. I can’t wait to get away.” Try listening to this catchy tune and not fantasizing about piping it into your office loudspeaker next Friday afternoon!
Aloha Fridays eventually made their way to the mainland during the dot-com boom of the early 90s. While some offices rejected the practice, thinking it would decrease workplace productivity, other management realized that allowing their employees to participate might be a great way to boost office morale and give the workforce an end-of-the-week “perk” that was cost-effective.
The practice encountered a few issues early on. Some HR departments worried that Hawaiian shirt and flip-flop ensemble of Aloha Fridays was a little too much fun. And the lack of any real guidelines for how to dress beyond the confines of a business suit left many professionals scratching their heads while staring into their closet Friday morning.
Dockers® found themselves in the perfect position to come up with a creative solution. “When Dockers was conceived back in the ’80s, it was at a quintessential time when business people were looking to break away from the suit and showcase a bit more of their unique style. This represented a significant shift from the traditional dress code of that time towards something that was considered both modern and professional with a nice twist of laid back style,” said Adrienne Lofton, Chief Marketing Officer of the Dockers® brand at Levi Strauss & Co. In 1992, they created a trusty “Guide To Casual Business Wear,” and mailed the pamphlet to approximately 25,000 HR managers across the country.
If there was ever any doubt that Casual Fridays caught on, here are some numbers to chew on. In a survey conducted by Evans Research in 1995, nine out of ten companies allowed their staff to dress casually in the workplace, either on an occasional or full-time basis, up from about two-thirds in 1992. And while in 1992, 20% of companies dressed casually every day, by 1995 those numbers were closer to 33%, with a whopping 42% of companies allowing their workers to dress casually one day a week.
The “Guide To Casual Business Wear” was undoubtedly the culprit. With handy tidbits such as “consider the style and tone of your outfit when choosing belts scarves and jewelry,” the guide provided instructions as well as handy visual inspiration. It stressed the idea that casual was not another word for sloppy—“Keep wrinkled, stained, or dirty clothing out of the workplace”—and cautioned that anything too revealing—lingerie looks, transparency and in some cases, bare legs—could be a major no-no. Dockers® even sponsored in-office fashion shows, and provided a hotline for workplace dress code emergencies.
This roadmap for dressing in casual business attire formed the foundation for the relaxed look we’ve come to know and love, and boosted worker morale nationwide. Dockers® was hailed as revolutionary for creating a cultural shift that propelled their khakis into the mainstream.
It was a pioneering and forward-thinking approach that the brand continues to implement today—for instance, with the development of their dynamic and modern Alpha Khaki. Whether you have Casual Fridays in your office or not, we guarantee you that when you invest in a great-fitting pair of pants, you’ll want to wear them more than one day a week.
article via: levistrauss.com
The 15 Best Picnic Spots in Alabama
Summer is almost here, so we’re taking this blog post out of the office! Do you have a favorite picnic spot in Alabama?
The Black Warrior Riverwalk is perfect for a stroll along the water under shady greens and a picnic. The walkways have several pavilion spots for you to stop and have lunch, and are a short way away from docks meant for fishing.
If you love hiking, the Monte Sano State Park is the place for you. With fresh air and mineral springs to excite any outdoorsman, the parks trails lead to several different picnic areas for your lunching needs.
3. Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, AL
What could be a more beautiful picnic site than to be surrounded by endless flowers of different colors, hues, and shades?
A trip to Noccalula Falls is a trip worthwhile for the whole family. With beautiful sites, numerous trails, and a swimming pool, your day can be topped off by sitting one of their many pavilions for an enjoyable picnic.
A short drive from Tuscaloosa, Lake Lurleen is a scenic location for a day of swimming and picnicking.
Gulf State Park is two miles of beach and waves; the perfect location for swimming and sunning. Make it an all-day event for the family by suiting up with an umbrella, sunscreen, and a picnic basket.
With its many beautiful outdoor facilities, Muscle Shoals Recreation center has a number of quaint locations for a family picnic.
Enjoy a panoramic view of the city of Huntsville from this spacious downtown park. The grassy, well-kept location has many shady areas to sit, relax, and enjoy a meal. The koi pond is a must see for families with kids.
If your searching for an event-filled day of family fun, the Riverfront Park is your destination. With riverboat rides and a baseball diamond, you’ll have the whole day to spend outside. The park includes several pavilions for your lunching requirements.
For a more romantic picnic spot for two, check out the intimate setting of Bienville Square. The fountain at the squares center is a great location to sit with your loved one and have lunch under the greenery.
For a more adventurous spot for a picnic, try Cathedral Caverns State Park. You can explore the caverns many wonders and top off your day with a picnic at one of their several pavilions.
This mystical park provides many hiking trails and picnic spots for a day in the great outdoors. A highlight of this spot is the gorgeous waterfall at the end of the trail.
McFarland State Park is not only a stellar location for camping, but a great park for a day outside. The park hosts a number of picnic areas for a break between the day’s activities.
There is nothing like the breathtaking views of the Tennessee River. Sand Mountain is the perfect spot for such a sight.
15. Vulcan Park, Birmingham, AL
Sitting atop Birmingham’s most scenic location, Vulcan Park is a picnic spot that provides a panoramic view of the city. The picnic area is near the famous Vulcan statue, representing the cities rich industrial history.
9 Simple Productivity Tips for the Office
Sometimes all it takes to improve your focus is a few quick changes to your work habits and your environment. Here are 9 simple, low-tech tips for boosting your productivity at work:
Streamline your space: Before you do anything else, take a few moments at the start of each day to organize and de-clutter your workspace. Having a clutter-free environment helps you think more clearly and produce better results.
Add pops of color or live plants: Color can have a major effect on your mood and productivity throughout the day. Blue creates the feeling of calmness and helps you focus, red is great for work that requires accuracy and attention to detail. Plants can also help people focus: workers who were exposed to plants in a windowless workspace were less stressed , more productive, and felt more attentive.
Write down your daily goals: It’s not always easy to keep track of everything you need to do, so start each morning by writing down your goals for the day.
Turn off your email notifications: It takes 64 seconds for a person to recover from being interrupted by an email notification. Instead of reading email as it lands in your inbox, try turning off your notifications and checking messages at set intervals. Constant email alerts popping up on your phone or desktop can really break your focus. You can send and receive the same amount of emails in 20 percent less time by checking your email less frequently.
Take short breaks: Whether it’s a walk to the breakroom for a coffee, reading a magazine or visiting with a colleague, taking short breaks that are unrelated to your work can make a huge difference in your performance.
Move Around: Exercise isn’t just good for your body – it can help have a positive impact on your work performance too. Physical exercise has been shown to affect mental health and focus. Try starting your day with a workout, or try interval standing with a sit-stand desk. It can’t hurt to try to sneak in some exercise on your breaks either.
Listen to music: Wearing headphones doesn’t always mean you’re antisocial. When working, listening to your favorite tunes can help you get into the zone and knock out your to-do list.
Decorate your workspace: A few personal knickknacks in your workspace can make you feel more comfortable and relaxed, which can ultimately boost your productivity. Try adding meaningful career memorabilia, such as diplomas and awards, and other decorative items that make you feel successful, appreciated and driven.
Stop trying to multitask: Doing more than one thing at a time may seem like the best way to get all of your tasks done, but it can hurt your productivity more than it can help. Multitasking simply doesn’t work, and you do, you end up wasting time.
article via: businessnewsdaily.com
Earth Day Paper Facts
Paper plays a big part in making sure forests are sustained for long-term growth. So much so, that we like to think that we celebrate Earth Day every day!
11 Spring Cleaning Tips for the Office
Start this season with a fresh workspace with our favorite 11 spring cleaning tips:
1. Your computer’s desktop – Delete unnecessary files and sort needed materials into well-labeled folders. Be sure each document or photo is labeled in a way that makes it easy to search and know what’s inside.
2. Your supply drawer – Purchase drawer organizers to sort paper clips, pens, staples and other office supplies in neat, easy-to-grab areas. Throw out any writing utensils that don’t work.
3. Your filing cabinet – Toss all unnecessary files and create a clean, organized filing system for all of your important documents. Consider color-coding files for certain tasks as well.
4. Your phone – Your desk phone is likely the germiest place in your office. Take a sanitizing wipe and clean off the buttons and receiver. Make a note to do this every two weeks.
5. Your binders – Three-ring binders are perfect for storing information like process documents or reporting. Keep a three-hole punch in a top desk drawer or within arm’s reach so you can punch and file documents as they come in.
6. Your inbox – There are so many employees out there that use a single inbox and just let everything pile up. Create virtual file folders for different projects and tasks to keep important information organized and easy to find. When you get new emails, determine right after reading it whether it needs to be sorted, deleted or flagged for follow-up.
7. Your keyboard – Another other often-overlooked area of the office is your keyboard and mouse. Remove loose debris, then use a sanitizing wipe or cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to clean the surface of the keyboard. Try compressed air if you really need to get in between the keys.
8. Your papers – Everything should have a home, and that home is not in a miscellaneous pile on your desk. Shred it or file it away.
9. Your decor – That photo of your kids from two years ago or the December 2013 calendar page needs to go. Refresh the walls of your office with current photos, inspirational quotes and anything else that will help keep you on track and make the space yours.
10. The fridge – There is no way all of the condiments on the door are still good, and the odds are that there is more than one box of leftovers hiding in the back. Post a note on the fridge advertising clean out days; if the day comes and food isn’t clearly labeled with a name and date, toss it.
11. The coffeemaker – As one of the dirtiest places in the entire office, give this machine a little extra TLC. A thorough wash of both the pot and machine are needed. Keep a set of wipes on the break room counter to remind people to wipe it down throughout the day.
Your office cleaning crew should take care of the rest, but take extra responsibility for the personal and shared spaces you use on a day-to-day basis. Remember that a cluttered, messy workspace can cause added an unnecessary stress. Stay organized and set weekly and monthly reminders to organize and clean your desk area.
article via: totalwellnesshealth.com
Employee Spirit Month
The Strickland team does our very best to help you maximize your WorkLife efficiency and productivity by offering tools you need to get your job done. But, their are other factors that contribute to a happy WorkLife besides the perfect paper or your favorite ink pen.
March is Employee Spirit Month: here are 10 ways you can boost morale and encourage a happy, healthy working environment at your office.
- Set a good example: Stick to your word, maintain a positive attitude, and be approachable at all times.
- Let your employees know how they are doing. Congratulate and recognize them when they’ve completed a project well. Likewise, provide feedback and suggestions on how to improve if you’re disappointed in their work.
- Celebrate special milestones, events, and accomplishments in the lives of your employees: birthdays, engagements, weddings, births, and anniversaries.
- Listen to your employees. Paying close attention to their needs, issues and personal stories shows respect, support, and trust.
- Communicate clearly, frequently and in person. This ensures everyone is on the same page and keeps your employees in the loop as much as possible.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment. Encourage your employees to try innovative, risky ideas, take on new responsibilities, and share their own advice.
- Give them plenty of room to grow. Encourage your employees to attend training seminars, conferences and other developmental opportunities to help them evolve within your company.
- Offer incentives for a job well done. This could be anything from a free lunch to a half-day on Friday for meeting an important deadline.
- Encourage a good work-life balance. Be open and flexible. Encourage breaks throughout the day so your employees don’t feel overwhelmed and overworked.
- Have fun! Make team-building events, community service projects, themed parties or after-work get-togethers a regular part of your schedule.
Becoming the First Female Forester at Hammermill
In honor of Women’s History month, we spoke with Brenda Heindl, one of the first female foresters at Hammermill Paper Company, which was acquired by International Paper in 1986. Brenda told us her inspiring story of finding a career that would take her to forestlands across the US, as well as Canada and Russia. She became the first and only woman forester that Hammermill Southern Operations has ever had. Brenda shares her advice for women interested in forestry, and her knowledge on forest conservation.
What sparked your interest in becoming a forester?
Honestly, when I was finishing high school I had never heard of a forester. My HS college counselor – Ms. PK Faye – suggested I might like forestry. When I asked her, “What do foresters do” she told me, “They sit in fire towers.” To this day, I have never set foot in a fire tower.
Growing up in Virginia, I liked being outside – I rode horses and spent a lot of time at the farm, working with the horses, helping teach riding lessons, also swimming in the South Anna River and wandering through the woods either on foot or horseback. Growing up, I also liked math and science, which are both used a lot in the forestry field. In college at Virginia Tech I even took two quarters of organic chemistry as electives!
When I was in college I co-oped with the US Army Corps of Engineers as a forestry technician and this gave me a good feel for what was really involved in being a forester. I really enjoyed the work and so I continued to major in forest resource management and wildlife management at Virginia Tech.
When I was senior at Virginia Tech, four professors took about 15 students on a Spring Break trip to visit forest industry companies in the deep South (Alabama and Georgia) – Georgia Kraft (now IP Rome, GA), Union Camp (now IP Prattville, AL), Container Corp, MacMillan Bloedel (now IP Pine Hill, AL), and Kimberly-Clark. That trip resulted in me learning that Hammermill was hiring.
Describe why you enjoyed being a forester.
I had an opportunity to do such a variety of things and to see forestland across the United States, Canada and even Russia all under the umbrella of work and get paid for it! I told one of my first bosses I could not believe I was getting paid to do this and he said he could probably make some other arrangements.
I cruised timber, marked timber, bid on timber, managed thousands of acres of land, worked with loggers and other contractors, worked with non-industrial landowners to manage their lands, trapped beaver, drove a tractor, planted trees, sold tree seedlings, and sold utility poles.
I also enjoyed the variety of people I had the opportunity to meet and work with, either as International Paper co-workers, contractors, customers or fellow foresters working for other companies, or trade association folks.
How do foresters conserve forests?
First, it is important to make the distinction between preservation and conservation. People often confuse the two. Both terms involve a degree of protection, but how that protection is carried out is the key difference. Conservation is the sustainable use and management of natural resources including wildlife, water, air, and earth deposits to benefit people. The conservation of renewable resources like trees involves ensuring that they are not consumed faster than they can be replaced. Preservation, in contrast to conservation, attempts to maintain natural resources in their present condition by excluding management and any human activity.
Foresters conserve forests by using and managing forests while keeping forests healthy. If we do not have demand and use of paper and wood products there is no need for people to grow trees and have forests. It is just like if people stopped eating beef – no one would raise cows anymore. Typically, the way we lose forests is not due to forest industry activity but a result of agriculture and development. If the forest industry owns land they may cut the timber from time to time but they will keep that land growing trees so they have wood fiber to make their products.
What is your best advice for a woman who is interested in becoming a forester?
Go for it – you can do whatever you put your mind and heart into! Get on-the-job experience. Be open-minded and willing to work hard.
What is one aspect of forestry that you would like women to know about?
People need to know that there is a lot more to being a forester than you think. As I mentioned, when I was finishing high school, my high school college counselor suggested forestry as a major, and all she knew about forestry was that foresters sat in fire towers, or so she thought. If you are lucky enough to work for a company like International Paper, your forestry background can lead you to quite a variety of jobs – just about anything you want to do from forestry to finance to sales to logistics to IT and on and on.
article via: hammermill.com
Strickland Companies: AOPD Dealer of the Year
Strickland Companies was awarded AOPD Dealer of the Year in Scottsdale, Arizona on February 21st. Strickland holds a number of AOPD contract accounts and services AOPD accounts throughout the country. Accepting the award in Arizona, General Manager Kim Vogel, has been the leader of Strickland’s AOPD efforts.
AOPD is the world’s largest distribution network of office supplies and is comprised of 74 dealers in 180 locations in the US, Canada and Australia.
Survey Says: Work Life Improvement Items
We asked 300 customers, “What items have made your life at work easier or more pleasant?”
Here are the top 13 answers: