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Keeping calm during the MADNESS

The past seven days have been insane.  MADNESS I tell you.  And I think we can all agree with Kevin O’Leary:

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Unfortunately, Kevin cannot actually do anything for us.  So we must rely on ourselves to get through our feelings of stress and frustration, no matter which team you are on.  Here are some things I have been doing, as well as some other ideas I would like to try.  I hope they will help you as well!

  1. Aromatherapy – this might sound hokey to you, but smells really do have such an effect on our moods and feelings.  I’m sure everyone can think of a smell that reminds them of a very happy, or maybe very sad time in their life.  Smells trigger emotions, and therefore really can have an impact on how we feel.  Depending on what I need, I have been combining different ingredients and simmering them on the stove.  I especially love the calming effects of lavender (I also used this to make a spray for my son’s pillow to help him fall asleep at night), as well as the energizing effect of orange and mint.  Here are some tips on using aromatherapy in your everyday life!
  2. Yoga – again, maybe not for you, but something that has been working for me like a dream!  I joined a yoga studio near my house, but many gyms and even some employers offer yoga classes for members and employees.  The combination of stretching, strength  building and deep breathing is a great way to calm down and build confidence at the same time.  When I walk out of that studio, I always feel better than when I walked in, and that’s enough reason for me to keep doing it!
  3. Breathing – this is a part of yoga, but also something to concentrate on in your everyday life.  When we feel stressed, our breathing becomes more shallow, so it makes sense that deepening our breaths will relieve some of that stress.  Try to focus on breathing in for 5 counts, holding it for a few seconds, then taking 5 counts to breath out.  Here are some more tips that could be of some help!
  4. Laughing – seems easy enough, right?  But during difficult times, this could be asking a lot.  Everyone has a different sense of humor, so find what makes you laugh and let loose!  Or maybe call that one friend that always makes you laugh until you cry and share a bottle of wine.  This made me laugh out loud the other day, maybe it will do the same for you!
  5. Delegate – sometimes it all just gets to be too much, and when you are doing everything on your own, it can get downright overwhelming.  So ask for help; assign jobs to others; hire new people.  If you are a store manager and need facility or maintenance services, call Royal!  Whatever it takes, just remember you can’t do it all alone!

These are just a few ideas, but hopefully you will find something that helps you stop the madness in your life and get back on track.  And if all else fails,

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Lessons Learned

My best friend died six weeks ago.  My head is filled with all kinds of new knowledge that I have needed to share with others, but have not found the strength until now.  I do not want her passing to be in vain, so I hope that some of the lessons I have learned will benefit you as well.

Lindsay and I met when we were 14 years old.  We shared 18 years of laughter and tears, secrets and inside jokes, momentous life occasions and not-so-momentous everyday life experiences.  Lindsay was probably best known for her giant smile and amazing sense of humor.  She was also that friend that was always there, for every important and unimportant event in your life.  She was intelligent, kind and genuine, and this world is a lot crappier without her in it.

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Lindsay had ovarian cancer, and that is the first lesson I would like to preach about.  Ladies: pay attention.  This is a very deadly form of cancer because the symptoms do not talk to you; they whisper.  Know the symptoms, and talk to your doctor right away if you are experiencing them.  Men, talk to your wives and sisters and mothers and daughters.  Make sure that every woman you know and care about is familiar with these symptoms and prepared to take action right away.

I will now step down from my soapbox and talk about dealing with difficult situations.  Personally, I find myself empathizing with others when they are going through terrible times, but still in the back of my mind feeling thankful that it isn’t happening to me or someone I love.  You never think it’s going to hit your world, but the fact is, it does.  In one way or another, you will experience grief and heartache and you have to ask yourself: how will you handle it?  I always imagined that I would be the sort of person who got under my covers for six months until my family had an intervention.  However, I somehow found strength within to support Lindsay’s family and I feel so grateful for that.  At a time when all I wanted to do was help, and the only thing they wanted was for Lindsay to be healthy, I found myself arranging food on the table, getting ice and providing wine.  Not much, but it made me feel useful and gave her family extra moments to spend with her.  This is not so much of a lesson, but something to think about – how can you be of service to others who are grieving?  And how will you take care of yourself during that time?

The next lesson I learned was to hold on to your friendships tight.  Lindsay and I attended different colleges, and while we kept in touch, we weren’t in regular contact with one another during those years.  About six years ago, Lindsay and I decided to start having monthly dinners.  And thank God we did.  I would not trade those six years for anything, and feel so grateful that I got to spend that time with her to rekindle our friendship.  If you have a friend that you care about and want in your life, then do everything you can to keep that friend in your life.  Friendships are like any relationship – they need to be nurtured, and you have to be willing to put in the work to keep them alive.

Finally, don’t wait to do the things you want to do.  Don’t feel embarrassed to reveal your dreams to your loved ones, as they will likely help you accomplish them.  To quote a line from about a million songs, you may not have tomorrow.  Take advantage of every moment you have on this earth, work to accomplish your dreams, and strive to have no regrets.  Be kind and loving to others, so when you do pass on, the memories people have of you will be positive and happy, just like the memories that myself and Lindsay’s loved ones have of her.

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Sprucing up for Spring

I have a confession to make.  I have never taken part in a “spring cleaning.”  Don’t get me wrong, I do clean my house.  And about a quarter of the time, it just so happens to be during the spring season.  However, I have not set out to intentionally deep clean my house just because the flowers happen to be blooming outside.  However, I do like the idea of a spring cleaning, so this year I decided to go for it. And just like with any major project, the first step I took was hopping on the internet to find out what has worked for other people, and find a checklist that was applicable to my needs.  And boy did I find a lot!  Everyone has different ideas as to what should be involved in the cleaning, how extensive it should be and for what purpose it should happen.  So I took the liberty of condensing this information into one blog post that will hopefully help you at home and at work!

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The first thing you should consider is the location in need of the spring cleaning.  Will you be giving your home a deep clean, or does your business need a little sprucing up?  Historically, people do a major clean in the spring because the air has become stale after the home has been shut tight all winter.  Spring cleaning symbolizes a fresh start, and an opportunity to freshen up your home or work!  For your home, you will be looking at a literal clean, while your business will require much less elbow grease, but an equal amount of dedication.  For your home, there are four major areas where you should focus:

  1. Fabrics – sheets, comforters, place mats, tablecloths, curtains and door mats, just to name a few!
  2. Floors – clean your hard floors, finish your woods, and shampoo your carpets – don’t forget your baseboards!
  3. Windows and Walls – my windows and walls are covered in tiny hand prints, and I have come to accept that they will look like this for the next several years.  However, this is an opportunity for a  good clean in those out of reach places, as well as doors, door knobs, trim, back splash and the dreaded window blinds.  Those might be the last thing on my list…
  4. Electrics and appliances – start in the kitchen with your refrigerator, oven, microwave and dishwasher.  From there, move on to washer and dryer and finally your light fixtures.  This will produce lots of dust, so you may want to do this before your floors!

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If home is not where your heart is, you may want some ideas for an office spring “cleaning”.  Here are a few tips for a fresh start at work!

  1. Email – clean out those emails!  Unless you are my husband and never have a straggler in your inbox, you probably have loads of emails that need to be cleared out.  Create folders for those that you need to keep, but keep the main section of your inbox clear.
  2. Website – it’s probably about time for a new look on your website.  Work with a designer or just utilize your own creativity to add some pizzazz to your page.
  3. Update your office – whether you simply move your desk or add a lamp, changing your office around gives it new life for the spring.
  4. Actually clean – give your area a good dusting, and don’t forget to vacuum in those corners. Even if you have a cleaning company at your place of work, chances are they are not moving furniture around every day and the dirt is piling up in places your can’t see.  Also, doing it yourself will give you peace of mind that it is completely done, and also a sense of pride and ownership in your space.
  5. AC Tune-up – Don’t forget to have a technician come out to make sure your AC is ready for the summer.  The last thing you want is to be searching for a service technician in the dead of summer because your AC stopped working!  Give yourself time to research and find the best company for your needs.

Whatever space you are cleaning this season, try to make it fun!  Turn on some music and channel your inner Mary Poppins – this is a fresh start and one that is sure to leave you feeling happier and healthier!

 

Company Culture: So Hot Right Now

 

Company Culture is all the rage.  In fact, a Columbia University Study shows that the likelihood of turnover at a company with a rich company culture is only 13.9%, compared to 48.4% where there is poor company culture.  Employers are realizing that when their employees are happy, workplace productivity is increased.  And chances are, if you work for a company that is promoting a positive company culture, and also likes to party, you have probably visited the Zappos headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I have actually been there twice, and both times have left feeling inspired – both inspired to have more fun at work, and also a little inspired to move to Vegas and work for them.  It looks like so much fun!  If you have not had the pleasure of visiting, I will give you a little background.

Zappos was founded in 1999 and was initially called shoesite.com.  The founder, Nick Swinmurn, was frustrated because he couldn’t find a specific pair of shoes that he was looking for – so naturally, he started a website that sold only shoes.  However, as time went on, he and other investors decided that they should expand and sell a variety of items, so the name was changed to Zappos (a variation of zapatos, Spanish for shoes).  The Zappos business model utilizes customer loyalty and relationship marketing.  Their call center reps do not have a script; they do not have limits on the length of their calls; they are simply there to help you find what you need and will do whatever it takes to make the customer happy.  They have a lot more autonomy in their positions than I imagine other call center reps have – if they feel the need to give free overnight shipping, they do not need to check with a supervisor, they can just do it.  In fact, Zappos recently went to a new employee model where there are no supervisors! But that is a story for another day.

Inside the Zappos headquarters, you will not find a typical cubical setup.  Each department has designed their area in a unique way – the CEO actually sits in a cubicle right in the middle of the jungle section!  When I visited, there was a department that built cardboard cars around their cubes, so they could be at work inside of a Volkswagen Bus.  My favorite department welcomed all of its guests by blasting “Eye of the Tiger” and working their Shake Weights to the beat.

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The point is, the employees at this company are happy!  They look forward to going to work, and if they are having a rough day, it’s fine.  Once a week they will have the opportunity to get back on track in the Royalty Room with their “sole” coach, discussing goals and being made to feel like royalty, if only for 30 minutes at a time.

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In fact, Zappos actually pays its employees to quit.  After the first week of employment, they are offered $1000 plus the wages they earned to leave the company.  Employees who take this offer obviously do not possess the passion required to work there, and Zappos is happy to find someone who does.

So now it’s time to ask yourself – does your company have a positive culture that promotes happiness among employees?  Do you think your employees would take $1000 to leave?  It’s important to realize the amount of money that can be saved at your business when you have employees who feel just as passionate about the work as you do.  For some tips on creating a positive company culture, check here!

Earning Trust and Respect

Presidents’ Day was earlier this month, and with that holiday the ideas of trust and respect are brought to the forefront of our minds.  This holiday celebrates our country’s leaders, namely two of the most widely respected Presidents our country has seen, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.   George Washington was not known for his knowledge, nor his experience, however he did have a wonderful reputation for his character and integrity.  Likewise, Abraham Lincoln was well-known for his honesty, as well as his modesty.  Times have changed since their presidencies, but they are still looked back upon in a positive light by the vast majority of people.

Businesses can benefit from keeping this information in mind. People make mistakes, that is to be expected.  You can learn the character of the business you are working with by paying attention to what happens after the mistake is made.  Does the business own this mistake, and work to make it right?  Or do they try to cover it up, telling lies and making excuses?  Or even worse, do they blame you, the customer? Everyone has had the experience of working with a dishonest company, or one who refuses to admit wrongdoing.  Recently, a light in my car needed a new bulb.  This happened before on the other side, so I knew from experience that a special bulb was needed.  Having two little boys at home makes it difficult for me to get out to the dealership, so my husband called ahead and explained the situation prior to an oil change, hoping that both could be taken care of at the same time.  He was told that they had the correct bulb in stock, and it would be no problem.  However, when he arrived at his appointment, he was told the bulb would need to be ordered.  Now maybe if we were childless and/or jobless, this would not be a very big deal.  However, we are neither, so making an additional trip out to the dealership is a big hassle.  They called us when the light came in, but it was a few weeks before we could find time to go back.  When my husband got there, he should have received major apologies, right?  Instead, he was given grief for taking so long to get there after they called!  Where is the customer service?

When you work with Royal Services, you are working with a facility management company that is on your side.  We do our best to give honest quotes, limit the number of calls to your store, and reduce the number of mistakes that are made.  However, we are human!  Therefore, if a mistake is made, we own it.  If we quote a certain dollar amount, but find a less expensive route, we will bill you for that lesser amount.  If we can find a way to fix the problem over the phone without visiting your store, we will do it!  We believe in developing long-lasting relationships and partnerships with our clients.  The only way to do that is to earn the trust and respect of the people we work with, much like Washington and Lincoln earned the trust and respect of Americans.

Everyone’s a winner

Triple bottom line (or otherwise noted as TBL or 3BL) is an accounting framework with three parts: social, environmental (or ecological) and financial. Many organizations have adopted the TBL framework to evaluate their performance in a broader perspective to create greater business value. This concept is playing an ever increasing role in the business world as more and more companies strive to become #LEED Certified.

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The #SPRINT signs below were installed using neon tubing technology for their light source. Neon’s have been around for seventy years and are stable for their artistic value but my opinion is that using a Neon just to fill light inside an opaque sign is a waste and creates a lot of issues especially for the northern states and their temperature fluctuations throughout the year.

Take a look at one of our previous blogs, which pits neon against LED lighting systems. 

1. Neon generates a lot of heat which causes them to have a need to be refilled or recharged with neon gas at least every couple of years.
2. Neon glass signs use 15,000 volts of electricity
3. Neon gas, though an inert gas, operates well within the normal tolerances of temperature but with extreme cold or heat it breaks down the gas presence quicker (thus we are back to issue in #1)
4. Neon generates a “warm” light most used for art deco, small signage applications, etc.,.

+Royal Services, Inc. believes LED will be a better choice for you and your stores:
1. LED lights are sealed and have ZERO hotspots
2. LED lights generate far more light than conventional neon glass tubing so would be a better source for designer signage like SPRINT.
3. LED lights are shockproof and generate very little heat so are best suited for encased light sources for hot (summertime) conditions as well as cold (like now) conditions.
4. LED lights use only 24 volts whereas Neon glass signs uses 15,000 volts which will provide substantial electrical bill savings in the long term.
5. LED lights are generally 10% less expensive than Neon tube signage.

Above are sample before and after photos from a test market. The visual difference is quite remarkable. Contact us today to see how we can help your store to draw in more customers. #projectmanagement #LEDretrofit #royalservices #facilitysolutions #servicethatsolves #royalfamily

Unwritten Rules

In business dealings, there are often unwritten rules that legally do not have to be followed, but ethically absolutely should be followed.  Whether you work for a Fortune 500 company, a small retail location or even are just selling items online, following a code of conduct helps to build a loyal client base and ensure your customers are satisfied.

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Recently, I was shopping for a train table for my son’s second birthday.  I did months of research and now know far more about toy trains than I care to admit.  I decided that rather than pay full price for a new table, I would prefer to find one on Craigslist in like-new condition.  Every day, I diligently got online and checked new listings, until I was sure I would have to bite the bullet and purchase new.  Just before I did this, I checked one last time and lo and behold!  A brand new, in the box table and train set for a low price and it was even the exact brand I was looking for!  I immediately sent a text to the seller and lucky me, it was still available!  I made plans for my husband to pick the table up the next day on his way home from his first job, before leaving for his second job.  Obviously, he had to make special arrangements, but it was worth it – he will do anything to put a smile on that little guy’s face!  I was feeling so accomplished and thrifty that evening when I received a text from the seller: “Someone just came by and got the table-sorry.”  Pure devastation.  And immediately after, pure anger.  Usually, I would have just wallowed in sorrow without saying a word, but this time I felt the need to speak up.  I responded that I thought it was horrible she would do that after promising it to me.  She responded with, “Those are the rules, first come first served.”  I don’t make many purchases on Craigslist, but I was fairly certain that by responding to the ad first, I was in fact first.  But I did not respond and ended up finding a much better deal, much to my delight.

This whole situation made me think about unwritten rules.  Could I sue that lady for selling my table to someone else?  Absolutely not.  It’s her table, and she can do with it what she wants.  But I left that situation feeling cheated and sad, and I don’t think any business would want their customers to leave feeling that way.  Therefore, following unwritten rules like keeping promises, honoring coupons and sale prices, sticking to the original quoted price, and finishing jobs in the time frame that was initially given are so important in business today.  At Royal Services, the unwritten rules are followed.  Businesses need not worry about a job taking twice as long as planned or paying twice as much as they were quoted.  Companies get away with this every day, and technically, they have the right to do this.  But good companies, like Royal, would never dream of it. We believe in the importance of following unwritten rules in order to create long-lasting relationships with our valued partners.