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Posts from the ‘Company News’ Category

6
Jan

Cold and Flu Season…Again

As most of the country knows we are in the midst of a massive “Polar Vortex” . As scary as this sounds (and it does sound VERY SCARY) there are precautions we can take to keep ourselves safe and warm.  Firstly do not spend any unnecessary time outside!  I read somewhere you can get frost bite if you expose your skin to the cold for more than five minutes.  To this Florida girl, well that sounds like a horror movie come to life. Second, please bring your animals inside!! Third, I hear lots of hot soup, tea, and hot cocoa are called for in freezing conditions, plus in all honesty that just sounds yummy.

This time of year seems to be when most people come down with a cold or the flu.   That is why we are having a  sale this week on all cleaning supplies.  Kill those sickness causing germs with products like cleaning wipes, Purell, and bottled soap. We hope everyone is staying safe and warm and not leaving the house unless they have to!  20140106_Hero_EmailRestockit.com cleaning product sale

-Rachel Y.

3
Oct

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and all across the country, the color pink is cropping up, like spring in fall. Warriors in Pink are rolling out their campaigns, along with Susan G Komen and many other breast cancer charities. Proceeds from breast cancer awareness products are going toward the fight to eliminate this heinous disease and bring hope to millions of women who have been diagnosed.

From medical gloves to wall clips, pens to calendars, endorsed products are everywhere, and to buy them gives you at least a little bit of warm fuzzy feelings, knowing that you’re contributing to the fight, and getting a really cool product as well. Who doesn’t want a really awesome tape dispenser that not only looks great on your desk, but also goes to a good cause?

The pink ribbon symbol has become the most recognized ribbon in the country; when you see it, you’ve no doubt what it stands for. Ironically, it’s more recognizable than the original red ribbon that inspired it-which was for AIDS. I know that if I see a woman wearing a pink ribbon, she’s either survived breast cancer or knows someone who has, which unfortunately is way too often.

Breast cancer is a very serious matter to me, not that it isn’t to a lot of women. My family has a long history of it, from my great-grandmother, grandmother, three aunts, and my sister. I can only assume that I am predisposed to it. I am secure in the knowledge, however, that since my grandmother and aunts time, breast cancer research and treatment developments have come a very long way, and survival rates have increased exponentially, as evidenced by my sister successfully surviving the disease.

Breast cancer affects all of us, at one point or another in our lives. My hope is that future generations won’t have to go through the pain and uncertainty of a diagnosis, worrying about survival rates and chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. I support all of the charities that work tirelessly to raise money for the fight, knowing that one day, I might need that support network and the work they do. How do you contribute to the fight? Do you donate or purchased endorsed products?

10
Sep

Words of Wisdom

We’re going to try a new thing here at the ReStockIt blog, and that’s hosting a guest to impart their smarts to us! Today we’re going to showcase an article by Verne Harnish and Sebastian Ross, so I hope you enjoy! Drop a line and let us know what you think.

A Better Way to Measure Employee Happiness

by Verne Harnish “Growth Guy” and Sebastian Ross
August 1, 2013 09:50 AM ET

Successful leaders know they need to balance the needs of employees, customers, and shareholders to build a thriving company. Many firms excel at tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) like profits, as well as customer feedback on a weekly or daily basis, but they fall flat when it comes to monitoring employees’ morale – and it shows. New research by Gallup found that 52% of American workers are not engaged in their work, while another 18% are “actively disengaged.”

 Many CEOs think that they can keep an eye on morale with annual employee surveys, but that is like driving your car by only looking in the rearview mirror.  By the time you get the results, most of the “accidents” have already happened: Grumpy employees have alienated good customers, incompetent managers have killed productivity, and the best talent has left for the competition.  You need to measure your employees’ morale at least weekly. As a growing body of research has found, employees’ happiness has a direct impact on your company’s performance.

THE “ULTIMATE” HAPPINESS QUESTION

Tracking employees’ happiness doesn’t have to be arduous. There are some cutting edge tools to simplify your efforts. Apple and Rackspace use the employee Net Promoter System (eNPS), a metric that is picking up traction, as Fred Reichheld, the intellectual father of NPS, mentions in his book The Ultimate Question 2.0.

While the well-known NPS tracks customer loyalty, the eNPS measures employees’ engagement and happiness, asking them in a confidential survey: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend your workplace to a friend or family member?” Employees have room to comment, providing qualitative data, too.
What is the right frequency for posing the eNPS question? That depends on what is going on at your company and the pace of change within your culture. Apple asks the question every quarter. Buuteeq, a Seattle-based marketing automation software company, pops the question every month. It increased its headcount from 25 to more than 100 people in a little over a year. Quadrupling staff in such a short time is a huge challenge for a culture. The eNPS is a great way to monitor how well the integration of the new recruits is going.
Fred Reichheld has recently launched a new software-as-a-service (SaaS) tool that is built around the eNPS and allows team leaders to drive weekly conversations about progress toward goals, constraints and priorities for keeping customers happy. It is now in beta testing. Stay tuned.

Be prepared: The scores you get from your team are likely to be lower than you get from your customers on the traditional NPS. Employees tend to be tough critics – but if you’re willing to listen, they will tell you what you need to hear. At the same time, don’t obsess about your scores. The qualitative data is important, too and will help guide you and your senior leadership team on how to react to the data. If the majority of your team is very happy, and only 5% of your employees are grousing about random complaints, you may decide that it isn’t urgent to act on the negative feedback. However, if the comments you get suggest that the unhappy 5% are all concentrated in a particular job title or department, getting to the bottom of the situation may be an emergency.

TAKING A WEEKLY PULSE

Choosing a tool that will allow you to measure your team´s morale daily, weekly or at other frequent intervals will help you keep levels of engagement high. TINYPulse for example, a cloud-based service that sends out weekly survey emails, captures anonymous feedback from employees and offers tools to help management to visualize and analyze the data.  When answering the “question of the week,” employees have space to add comments and suggestions. “Rotating different questions allows us to capture input around the various drivers of employee happiness and gives management more specific information to work with,” explains David Niu, founder and CEO of TINYPulse.

Buuteeq, which has been using TINYPulse for more than a year now, supplements the monthly eNPS survey with other weekly questions like: “How likely do you see yourself working here in one year?” “How does your manager’s leadership style impact on your productivity?” and “What is the one thing we should stop doing to be more successful?”

MAKE IT A CONVERSATION

Buuteeq is transparent about the results, even projecting them onto a wall during its weekly all-hands meeting. “Sometimes the meeting is almost exclusively about things that came up in the week’s Pulse,” says co-founder and CEO Forest Key. “It is not always easy but we talk things through and often take very specific action – ranging from switching the lunch caterer to strategic changes in our customer service processes.”No doubt, the company’s discipline in closing the loop with employees every week has encouraged employees to submit the large number of useful suggestions Buuteeq receives through the tool.

Be forewarned: The feedback companies receive from tools like TINYPulse is sometimes uncomfortable. Moz, a 140-person software company based in Seattle, uses a recently added feature of TINYPulse that allows it to customize questions and has allowed employees to come up with some that they would like to be asked. Rand Fishkin, founder and “Wizard of Moz,” says that since they started with TINYPulse in October 2012, his company has received about 500 comments,of which 25 were clearly negative. “These few negative comments have made me become more nervous and worried about our culture and team happiness,” he says. “But I prefer to know and deal with the issues.”

TINYPulse also allows you to comment directly on suggestions and initiate a private, forum-like dialogue with the employee, a feature that Buuteeq finds very useful.  “It is definitely a great opportunity to learn and show that you care,” says Key.  “These dialogues would never happen without the tool.”

Just make sure that you use this part of the system in a way that allows employees to remain anonymous, or they may not want to use it. In very small firms, where there may be only one person in a particular role, it may be easy to guess who made a particular comment.

A DAILY MOOD CHECK

Atlassian, an Australian software company that employs almost 600 people worldwide, created an internal app called MoodApp (great name!) for iPads and scattered them throughout their headquarters, including one to the side of the elevator. On their way out, employees answer questions like “How are you feeling today?” and “Do you think Atlassian is a fun place to work?” A question about how much feedback employees get from their managers uncovered deficits and led the company to use leadership development training to improve the situation.

Does surveying employees this often bug them – and lead them to ignore new questions in the future? So far, that does not seem to be the case. ForTINYPulse, participation rates for the weekly questions are between 55% and 75%, sometimes even as high as 90%. MoodApp has averaged a 60% response rate in its 12 months of life at Atlassian. Larger companies may want to consider sampling smaller groups of respondents to reduce data volumes and avoid survey fatigue.

NO SUBSTITUTE FOR MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS

If your company isn’t ready to invest in software or iPads for your team, consider a lower-tech approach. Careesma, a Barcelona-based company that runs job boards across Europe and India, put up a simple bulletin board where employees can leave post-it notes with suggestions. Every week, Tania de la Paz, head of People & Values, takes the notes to the weekly staff meeting and makes sure that the management team acts on at least one issue.

In any case, no process or technology should become a substitute for meaningful conversations with your team. Senior leaders should formally visit with one employee each week, the closer to the front lines the better, and ask three simple questions: “What do we need to start doing, stop doing and keep doing?”
Then take a few minutes at the weekly management meeting to share what you’ve learned. There is no need for formal reports. Just sharing anecdotes will do. This qualitative data, collected weekly, will give the senior team a real sense of what’s working and not working among the employees as patterns emerge over weeks and months of conversations.

Add to this feedback by looking at some KPIs such as absenteeism, attrition or tenure with the company, knowledge-sharing activities, training hours, or the number of kudos people give each other.

RESPOND TO FEEDBACK QUICKLY

Make sure that you have the management bandwidth to quickly respond to feedback you get. Gathering data is useless if you don’t act on it. Nothing is more frustrating than being asked your opinion and then seeing it ignored.

People, your most valuable asset, are intangible in accounting terms. Measuring their happiness is a way of making them tangible. It will be some time until this type of metric will appear on a balance sheet, but that doesn’t mean you should not pay attention to these measures. They’re some of the best leading indicators of a company´s overall health and value.

 

 

 

14
Aug

The Incredible Can of Canned Air

Canned air has become an office staple for cleaning your keyboard, dusting your CPU tower, and blowing all the dust bunnies off your desk. You’d be hard-pressed to find an IT department that doesn’t have a case or two lying around, and if they tell you they don’t have any then they’re lying to you. They just don’t want to give up the goods.

OurHero

I was spraying down my keyboard the other day (bagel Friday-don’t judge) and I thought about what other jobs canned air is used for. I use it at home to clean blinds, fans, and spray off the top of my kitchen cabinets and a co-worker uses them to dust her silk plants, but what else are they good for? A quick internet search came up with a plethora of ideas, from the brilliant to the hilarious.

  1. Blow dust off of delicate models such as cars, boats, and doll houses. Have you ever tried to Pledge a miniature china hutch?
  2. Blowing out the dust bunnies behind the two ton entertainment center that you will never move
  3. Spraying the crumbs your child left behind in the backseat of your car/van/SUV
  4. Freezing gum on a carpet for easy removal. I wonder if that works with hair…
  5. If you cut hair for a living, it works to blow hair off your clients neck better than a hairdryer. Just don’t give them freezer burn.
  6. Giving a boost to your straw-blow gun during a game of Office Domination. That is so not cheating…
  7. Blowing spiders out of the side-view mirrors on your car. The little suckers always seem to hide in there.
  8. Airing out your cubicle during a…methane…leak. Yeah.
  9. You know how your cat tends to sit on the keyboard when you’re trying to work? One quick burst is painless. Scary, but painless.
  10. Saving the Eiffel Tower from an evil sock monkey

The Battle

30
Jul

Dishwasher Detergent got you Down?

In 2010 Panic erupted across the greater United States. Millions of households began pulling out supposedly “clean” dishes from their dishwasher still covered in spots and food particles.

Many tried to pinpoint their enemy, fiddling with dishwasher parts, trying different cycle settings, and even buying an entirely brand new piece of machinery.

What so many failed to realize was that the true nemesis to clean dishes lay within their detergent itself.

Since then, it was uncovered that a single component of commercial dishwasher detergent was making all the difference between a spotted, muddled glass and a sparkling crystal clear glass. Believe it or not but phosphates are the dishwashing game changer.

That is why Cascade with phosphates is the tried-and-true king of all dishwashing detergents.

picture of clean glass

Hundreds of reviewers have come to this very same realization and are raving over the quality results they have seen in Cascade with phosphates dishwasher detergent.

One ReStockIt.com customer from Ontario, Oregon says:

“I have been so frustrated with the dishwashing detergents available in the stores. Cascade was always #1, however, after they removed the phosphate it cleaned as poorly as the other detergents. I was having to add Lemi shine to every wash cycle just to keep the calcium from building up in the dishwasher. My first load using this “real” Cascade proved that phosphates are an essential ingredient for clean dishes and dishwasher — the dishes were sparkling and the stainless steel interior of the dishwasher was stainless!”

Another customer from Pennsylvania says:

“Ever since the phosphorus was removed from dishwasher detergent our dishes just didn’t get clean. Everything had a white film on it, especially plastics. We even tried some of the homemade “ecologically friendly” formulas with poor results. Now with this product we have seen a return to sparking, squeaky clean in the first dishwasher load. Coffee and tea stains are gone from cups, silverware sparkles and stainless steel pots no longer look hazy. Hooray!”

The phosphates latch on and directly remove stains and all those stubborn and pesky food bits. Phosphates are proven to be more effective than any other ingredient in dishwasher detergent, thus giving Cascade with phosphates the edge.

Tests have proven that Cascade with phosphates not only cleans better but gives glass and dishware more shine than any other leading competitor.

4
Jul

Happy Birthday, America!

It’s that time again: time to stock up on your meats, beers, red white & blue attire, and, of course, mosquito repellant.4th of July

The Fourth of July, a day commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 237 years ago, is a time for patriotism, spending time with family, and enjoying a nice day off at the office.

Right in time for the big day, we’re providing you with some fun facts about how fellow Americans celebrate the Day of Independence

We Love to Party

The very first “official” 4th of July party was held in 1801 in a very fitting place: You guessed it, the White House.

Yet almost half a century before then, citizens of Bristol, Rhode Island were creating their own big celebration. For well over two centuries, since 1785, this small city has been holding the longest continuous Fourth of July celebration.

Parade  Parties bring people together. Fourth of July Patriotism brings America together. Therefore 4th of July puts the “parti” in patriotism. Approximately 41 million of us come together with our fellow Americans and will be celebrating the national holiday at other people’s homes, and 42.3 million Americans will be traveling 50 miles or more from home.

Despite all the legendary parties Americans have been throwing for so long, the Fourth of July wasn’t even a national holiday until 1941!

We Love our Barbecues

If numbers are any indication, Americans will be embracing the tradition of Independence Day barbecues for years and years to come:

Over 74 million Americans plan on barbecuing during the Fourth of July celebrations. About 87% of American homes have an outdoor grill.

Barbecue

Americans consume about 150 million hot dogs on this Patriotic day. (And this isn’t even taking into account Joey Chestnut’s plans!)

Lookout Chicken Little, Americans buy about 700 million pounds of chicken the week preceding the holiday.

We become huge spenders around this time. Americans buy about $193 million worth of hamburger patties in addition to $203 million on mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard.

And, Fourth of July wouldn’t be nearly as successful as the national holiday of barbequing without its title as the most popular holiday for beer purchases. Over 68.3 million total cases of beer are sold during the Independence Day weekend.

Fireworks, Flags, and Fun…oh my!

Fourth of July wouldn’t be complete with the big three F’s: Fireworks, flags, and fun (of course).

Fireworks

Did you know that around Fourth of July, 25 million pounds of fireworks were sold in US cities for public celebration?  There was about $649 million of total revenue in the consumer fireworks industry, and additional $318 million revenue from the display fireworks industry.

Americans import about $233 million of fireworks from China each year, the country where fireworks were originally invented.

In 2011, about 60.2% of US families owned an American flag. $3.6 million of US flags are imported, and $663,071 of flags is exported, with Mexico as the leading buyer.

For all the supplies you will need to make your Fourth of July the best one yet, check out our super sale online!

Sources:

14
May

Hurricane Season

It’s no secret, Southeasterners are procrastinators. I have no doubt there are people that live in my area of the country who are Johnny-on-the-spot prepared for hurricane season in March, but for the vast majority of us, that is just not so. I’ve weathered 7 hurricanes, three of them Category Four or Five, and STILL don’t get my stuff together until a storm is bearing down on me. I was without power for almost two months after the season of 2004, which saw four landfalling hurricanes in Florida (I was in all four), and yet…I still wait. Most of those of us who have been through it, grown up with them, know how to improvise when we haven’t braved the long lines at the stores when warnings go up.

 storm_corkboard

For those of you that DO like to be prepared, here is a handy list of things you should have available in your house if you are in a storm path. This works for all manner of storms, even northern storms (you just have to add alternate heating sources and blankets to yours), and some of the things are handy to have around in the middle of the year as well.

  • Flashlights (fun for scary stories as well)
  • Spare batteries for all battery operated items in your home
  • A car power converter/inverter – they make your car lighter or power outlet into a regular household outlet
  • Non-perishable food for three to four days (canned meats, fruit, dry cereal, non-perishable milk, etc)
  • Bottles and bottles of water (for drinking only. Fill up tubs and sinks for cleaning purposes).  A rule of thumb is a gallon per person per day. Figure three to four days.
  •  A first aid kit, with prescription medications for illnesses.
  • Extra gas for your car
  • A generator. I really can’t stress this enough. Yes, they can be fairly expensive, and you may not even use it in a season, but I learned to appreciate mine when I was standing in a line at Grainger for 12 hours in 100 degree weather, waiting to purchase one after Hurricane Charlie.
  • A portable fan. No, people in the south don’t always have portable fans. We always have ceiling fans.

Terry

7
May

Rugged, Reliable Rubbermaid Receptacles

See what I did there? For anyone that reads this blog, it’s apparent that I don’t do things normally. Well, normal for the average home owner. I pick up tips and ideas from businesses and incorporate them into our home. My Rubbermaid kitchen storage is straight out of the restaurant kitchen. My husband is a chef, and he uses the workhorses in the kitchen at work and swears by them!

We use three different types at our house; round, square, and rectangular. All are heavy duty, and all keep our food so fresh! The square containers are my favorites, and I use them for flours (of which we have five different types), baking powder, corn meal, coffee, etc. Not only does it eliminate messy, bulky bags, but keeps the critters away. Unfortunately in Florida, weevils are a big issue. Also, they have convenient measurements on the sides, so I can pull out how much I need accordingly, with minimal fuss.

The round containers I use for pastas. Like flours, we have a lot of pasta in the house. I’m Italian, so it’s what I do best and because of these fantastic containers, I buy a lot of pasta! Plus, I’ve used them for cereals, granola, flax seed and things like that, and they keep everything from going stale. I’m also keeping all of the Halloween candy that was left over in a spare. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone.

The last one that I use is rectangular ones, and these are really my all-purpose containers. I store marshmallows (in the bag, air removed), granola bars, energy bars, Pop-Tarts…any kind of boxed item that is packaged separately. I just empty the packages into the containers and voila! instant organization. I’m all about organization, if you haven’t read some of my other blogs. I highly recommend, especially for you organizational brothers and sisters of mine, to purchase some of these gems for your house as well!

25
Apr

The Art of Silverware

If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again – I love art work that uses unusual mediums. Not just art work either, but repurposed items too. Give me a tin coffee can and the best I can do is nail it to some driftwood and call it a planter, so people who can turn flatware into a work of art have my vote. Check out the images below for some truly interesting artwork!

Flatware_Complete

Terry

Photo Credits:
http://dornob.com/fork-folk-art-10-silverware-sculptures-cutlery-creatures/
http://www.ehow.com/how_4826426_make-silverware-jewelry.html
wyldestonecottage.blogspot.com
http://whatever.scalzi.com/2011/10/02/athena-and-the-owl/
http://www.mtnmade.com/blog/2012/silverware-folk-artist-rob-seven/
22
Apr

Eat at Joe’s… break-room.

When you have a business, you have a place for your employees to gather on breaks, even if it’s the size of a half bath. Somewhere where a coffee pot sits, maybe a microwave is crowded onto a shelf, and possibly a mini-fridge where your employees can put their meals. No matter where I’ve worked, there has been some kind of set-up, whether it was grand or…not-so-grand.

We have a pretty nice break room here at ReStockIt, and tons of coffee. That’s the important thing. We also have the basics like a full-size fridge, two microwaves, two toasters, a toaster oven, and this hot water thingy that the tea lovers use. Frankly, it scares me, but I don’t drink tea. We also have comfy chairs, a TV, an air hockey table…you get the picture.

Breakroom_Strip_Complete

Most employers usually provide disposables, and personally I like knowing I don’t have to bring in my own plate, utensils, and coffee mug to get broken or, let’s face it, stolen. Not that we have cup thieves here, but it happens. Opening a cupboard in the break room and having a full complement of plates, bowls, utensils and napkins is a blessing!

Some employers also provide food, which I think is fabulous but not in every businesses budget. I worked for a company that had a full cafeteria and that was amazing! There, the food was provided for us, but a friend of mine works for a company where they pay for their food at a deep discount and use their time badge to pay for it (it gets taken out of their paychecks), which I find very convenient. Cereal, chips, cookies, soups…even sandwiches and salads were provided! No matter what type of break room you have for your employees, take it from me, they appreciate the space! Check out http://www.restockit.com today for breakroom deals and discounts! 

Terry

 
 
 
 
 
 
Photo Credits:
foodservicewarehouse.com
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