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Create a Positive Work Place

A work place is full of many different personalities and needs.  Despite the face that each group is made up of unique and sometimes conflicting personalities, it is essential that you find a way to make it work.  A workplace is needed to communicate and work together to achieve a common goal.  When people are working in an environment that they feel encouraged to do their best, accepted for who they are, and happy, they tend to perform better.  Doesn’t that sound like a perfect workplace? Yes, this does take a lot of time and effort. But with time the result will come with some very good benefits and all the time and effort being put into creating a positive work environment.  Creating this kind of environment will benefit by helping everyone reach the same common goal with less conflict than before. Here are 3 tips to get you on your way:

  1. Demonstrate Positive Communication

This may seem like an obvious statement, but it’s not.  Listening to what your co-workers have to say and their opinion shows that you respect them.  Being open with the staff, asking questions and sharing ideas can help assist in positive communication.

  1. Find Ways to Create Team Spirit

Unity is a big positive.  It allows co-workers to feel as if they are being valued and belong in the company.  Staff will want to come in to work every day as if they do something to not pull the team together, they have failed forcing them to succeed.  This forces everyone to have their own responsibilities and follow through with them. Pregnant limbo pole holders.

  1. Offer Credit

Give credit to those who deserve it.  Don’t take credit for someone else’s work, sometimes it makes them feel like they did all the work and you take the name.  Make your employees feel like when they do a good job, they can be proud of it and want to show it off, instead of someone else taking credit for their work. Creating a positive work place creates benefits for the company.  Having positivity around all the time creates a better atmosphere and pushes people to do the best work they possibly can.  From a concrete industry stand point, having a positive work atmosphere provides our workers to do the job right and not have many mistakes.  Our crews work fast and efficiently because of the work environment created.

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It’s about YOU!

Communication. Something that is needed with in an everyday life, but most definitely a necessity in the professional world. Whether it is non-verbal, verbal, written, unwritten, or any other form, it is important to exchange information in the right way, an effective way. Broken communication can cause conflict and frustration within the company. Conflict can sometimes be beneficial which is a future topic to be discussed.

Its-all-about-you

But… Is communication all about exchange of information? Communication is a very general term; might be broader than our imagination. It isn’t just about exchanging information but about how you present yourself and how others perceive you.   The major player in this is you. It is you that communicates who you are.   Many professionals want to improve their communication skills but usually it is verbal, non-verbal, written and unwritten communication. This is only a tiny portion of this general skill, until and unless you improve yourself, improving those little things is useless effort. Everything that you do say, look, attitude, atmosphere, breaks, sleep, and your personal relationships all determine your communication and the way you are perceived to people.

As I stated before, everything about you determines your communication and below are some examples from a daily life to explain how “you”, as a whole, are communication.

Your Dress:

The way you dress is a silent spokesman of you. This is your first impression. Your dress choice means so much because it is the first thing that people say. Your neat and clean look, matching and wonderfully selected neckties announce that you mean business and have a professional mind. The right dress leaves a positive impression about you, your colleagues, business, peers, clients, and everyone who sees or meets you.

Your Entry to the Office/Job:

Attitude is everything. When you enter that office building/job tiresome and dead posture that’s the way you will feel the whole day. Your attitude also reflects on your colleagues and coworkers.  You affect the atmosphere and are making it negative for the whole company. Having a positive atmosphere to work in makes a huge difference within the communication in the business. This atmosphere is all set on how you walk into work everyday.

Your Desk and Your Office:

Having a clean, tidy, and clutter-free desk, everyone will be considered an organized person. Everyone who comes by assumes that you do your work well and that you are a punctual professional. Make the place your own by adding some décor to brighten up the room and create a space that you can work in. This is a clear indication of your artistic sense, a pleasant addition to your personality.

Your Body Language:

Non-verbal communication should reinforce what is being said, not contradict it. If you say one thing, but your body language says something else, your listener will likely feel you’re being dishonest. For example, you can’t say “yes” when your head is shaking no. Inconsistent body language can contradict what you say and prove you to be lying or not telling the truth. Also, negative body language is another thing. If you disagree or dislike something that one has said your body language says a lot, whether it is avoiding eye contact, crossing your arms, tapping your feet or even rolling your eyes. You don’t have to agree, or even like what’s being said, but to communicate effectively without making the other person defensive it’s important to avoid sending negative signals.

Value yourself and your opinions:

They are just as important as everyone else’s. Yes, some opinions need to be kept to yourself but also some opinions reflect on your values. It is up to you to make the best judgment for both the company and yourself. Individual differences can be hard for effective communication, from different countries to different cultures; all tend to use different non-verbal communication gestures. It is important to take all of this into consideration when communicating with others.

Effective communication is important and when communicating with others it is important to keep yourself in mind. If you are looking to improve your communication, try starting with yourself and move up from there. But you must do it all and not only a little portion.

How do we produce SOLID RESULTS in these hot temperatures?

Hot! Hot! Hot!  As most of us know hot temperatures can be a hassle and leave us not feeling like we want to work fast or efficient.  In the concrete world, we need the opposite of what the grueling hot weather wants us to feel.

When concrete is poured and the weather is hot, it speeds up the setting of the concrete and makes it dehydrated.   One of our concrete experts, Jeff Larsen, here at Northern Concrete states that,  “ In hot temperatures, concrete will set faster due to the temperatures of the sub grade and actual concrete.”  Due to the rapid reaction to the hot weather, something needs to be done to keep the concrete hydrated long enough for it to set correctly.  If the concrete dries out to quick it could result in cracking and no one wants cracked concrete.

How do we produce SOLID RESULTS in these hot temperatures?

We have a SOLID PROCESS on what to do when hot temperatures arise when pouring concrete.

Some suggestions on what to do when the temperatures rise is to:

Pour in the morning. It is quite a bit cooler in the morning than it is during the daytime, which can help the concrete stay hydrated longer and be able to build up the strength it needs before it sets.  Also, in the morning, the aggregate is cooler and it will not heat up as fast.

Pour at night.  As I mentioned before, it is also cooler at night allowing the concrete to take its time to set.  Just a few weeks ago, our company was pouring under the lights in Paris, Tennessee.  Check it out and see our SOLID RESULTS!

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Communicate with the Ready Mix companies. How will this help might you ask?  They might be able to create a slower setting mix to help when the temperatures get hotter.

Dampen the subgrade.  This will help slow the mix down to keep it hydrated longer.  Keeping the moisture in the concrete longer is important and means so much in the long run when the concrete is wet long enough to create a strong bond within the concrete.  If adding water to the concrete, wait until the concrete is at the site, but don’t add too much! Also, adding water to concrete that is over 1 ½ hours old should be avoided.

Solid work crew is key.  Having a work crew that works on their toes at all times can make a world of a difference in the solid process and results.  As you know, concrete sets so much faster in a hot atmosphere and having a quick crew can knock the weather problems out of the park.  Having the crew pour what they can handle in harsh conditions like heat can make a huge difference as well.  Don’t over pour to cause illnesses.

When the weather is hot not only does it affect you but the concrete pour you are doing.  With a SOLID PROCESS you can have the best success with your pour and have SOLID RESULTS.

 

 

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Avoid Heat-Related Illnesses

Lately, we have been having some hot temperatures that can make working conditions a little dangerous.  Jobs involving high temperatures, such as our concrete company, have a high potential of causing a heat-related illness and our industry has to worry about this more than others.

NCC avoids heat-related illnesses.

Why is heat a hazard to workers?

When a person is working in hot temperatures, their body needs to find a way to get rid of the excess heat to maintain a stable internal heat.  The main way our body does this is through sweating.  While pouring concrete can be long and physical workday, if one doesn’t take care of themselves in the heat.  An individual may become light headed and lose focus on the job, which isn’t only dangerous to you but also to the others on the site.  If your body cannot get rid of the excess heat, it stores it up, which causes the core temperature to rise.  When this happens one may become irritable or sick, and often loose the desire to drink.  Often, this can result in one to faint or possibly even die due to over exhaustion and dehydration.

Excessive exposure to high temperatures can cause a range of heat-related illnesses, from  heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and stroke.  Heat stroke can result in death and one should seek immediate medical attention.

How do I know if it’s too hot?

If the temperatures start to rise and the humidity increases, one should start preparing for the heat and watch your intake of water to re-hydrate.  During the middle of the day the sun gets stronger and it can cause your body temperature to rise due to direct sunlight and the sun being hotter.  When you start to feel exhausted and light headed due to the heat, start taking more breaks and make sure you keep on drinking water.

The heat index, which takes both temperature and humidity into consideration, is a useful tool for outdoor workers and employers to help plan for the extreme heat temperatures.

Can heat-related illnesses be prevented?

Yes, they all can be prevented.   Some important ways are to reduce exposure to the sun, but sometimes going to sit in the shade or air conditioning for a while isn’t an option, especially while pouring concrete on a construction site.   While on the job make sure water is available and drink it often.  Staying hydrated is a major way to prevent heat-related illnesses.  Also, have a work/rest cycle where you have rest time to drink water and try to cool down.  Having fans around a job could also be a good idea, it provides cooling for the workers as well as good air circulation.

NCC avoids heat-related illnesses.

Heat-related illnesses can be a scary thing when not treated properly.  Make sure you are taking care of yourself in hot temperatures.   Drinking water and taking breaks are a necessity during hot temperatures and its needed to stay healthy to have the best work possible.

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Connecting Three Generations in your Workplace

Many different generations collaborating in the workplace.

Leading employees in the construction industry is a challenging job.  For example, we are a concrete sub-contractor.  It is not uncommon for a “monkey wrench” to get thrown into our day.  The third concrete truck is 30 minutes behind, the last truck is emptied and we are a yard short, it’s windier than expected, an employee twisted an ankle, and the list goes on and on.  Leaders need to be able to deal with curve balls and lead the people on the crew as well.  That’s the easy part right?  I had a general manager in the past that would say” if it was easy anyone could do it”.  It sounded good but didn’t make my job any easier.  It did put things into perspective though.  How do you create a team that works together and creates synergy?  The workplace is populated with mostly three different generations of workers, specifically Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials, which can make it difficult to close the time gap between workers.  The question is, “How do you relate to the multiple different age groups?” and “What can you do to encourage or motivate someone older or younger than you?

With different age groups, there are many different skills to make mesh together.  But dwelling on the differences won’t get you very far on you path to success.  We all hear the stereotypes about each different generation but they are made to be worse than what they really are.  Why do we do this?  We are humans who are not good with conflict.  There are different values between generations which tend to clash in the way we work with result in getting angry and blaming others rather than figuring it out.

The Baby Boomers are getting close to retirement but are still very hard working and great mentors towards the generations below them.  They value the work between a group and a team, which has become a conflict within the workplace.  Baby Boomers have claimed that the Generation X aren’t being “team players” and are very independent.  Now that the Generation Xer’s are becoming managers to the Millennials, new conflicts have emerged.  It has been found that Millennials are more tech-savvy and the “internet generation.”  They seem to crave leadership and more interaction with higher levels of the hierarchy.

How do we mesh all these skill sets and characteristics to work in the same atmosphere?

Dale Carnegie has 9 principles from How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Here are a few:

  • Become genuinely interested in other people.
  • Smile.
  • Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  • Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely
  • Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves

 

Learn about each generation.  Increasing your curiosity about the different generations can help you connect with one another.  It can help close the gap of each difference.   Showing and telling your perspective on things can create more communication between generations and solve the conflicts that have been made by the different age groups.

Just ignore it.  Ignore the fact that there even is a generational gap.  It is totally different outlook on what I just stated above but it might work out better.  But each manager is just an individual with different outlooks just like every person is a different person.  Don’t look at the age difference or stereotype of the two.  The managers could be opposite from the stereotypes they were given.  Getting caught up in the conflict of generational differences might cause you to miss opportunities the actual conflict that is right in front of you.

Instead, focus on the work that needs to be done.  Give feedback to one another, on both their behavior and its impact.  Identify the underlying interests behind the conflicting workers and simply ask each other questions to get a better understanding of their perspective and ideas.

Understanding one another is a major thing to help resolve generation conflicts.  Listening to what the other has to say can help you make sense of the way they think and their values.  When a conflict comes up, think about the generational gaps but don’t get hung up on it.  It might help you resolve the conflict faster with multigenerational workers.

What are you doing to help bridge the generational gap?  We would love to hear from you.