The Daily Grind features blogs that concentrate on issues affecting offices across the country. The goal is to enlighten, amuse, and interact with our followers.
Please feel free to submit comments, questions, and ideas at any time.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What Does Shredding Have in Common with the House Cat and Easter?

If you haven’t hopped on the environmentally friendly bandwagon yet, now’s the time! Going green is a trend that’s in it for the long haul – from community farming and bike sharing to solar panels and recycling! The goal is to live a healthy lifestyle, personally and professionally, without leaving a large and often unnecessary carbon footprint. The idea is to reduce, recycle, and reuse; each concept can be applied to your personal and professional life in different ways. For the purpose of this blog, we will focus on the professional aspects; more specifically, life in the office.

First, try to reduce your overall consumption of office supplies, especially paper. According to, did you know that one tree makes 16.67 reams of copy paper? Now think about your office and how many reams of paper are consumed in a week, month, and year. Next time you are about to hit the print button, ask yourself if the presentation, email, article, etc. can be saved electronically instead. If yes, save yourself the paper, as well as the printer ink and wear and tear on the printer.

Second, non-sensitive documents that don’t need to be shredded can be recycled. Place a special bin just for paper in the office mail/copy room, then contact a local company to pick the bins up or schedule drop-offs once a month. Recycled paper can then be used to make new products, such as paper, paper towels, coffee filters, hospital gowns, and egg cartons just to name a few.

Lastly, non-sensitive documents that don’t need to be shredded can also be reused as note paper or wrapping paper for valuables being moved or going in storage. For the documents that do need to be shredded, there are some common and not-so-common ways to reuse the shreds.   

Check out these fun and interesting ways to reuse shredded paper, either at the office or take it home.

  • Easter grass – mix food coloring with some water, spray the paper, let it dry and you’ve got some colorful Easter grass
  • Kitty litter – save money and use the shreds as litter or use the paper to line the litter box before using traditional kitty litter
  • Packing material – bag the shredded paper up and use it in place of bubble wrap or Styrofoam popcorn when packing breakables
  • Pet crate liner – use the paper for your own animal crate or donate the shreds to a local animal shelter or vet
  • Potting soil – mix the shreds in with some potting soil to help hold in moisture
  • Compost – add the shredded paper to your garden compost, especially if the heaps contains a disproportionate amount of green material
  • Paper Mache – great for art projects; just make the paste and you’re ready to go
  • Fill a scarecrow – shredded paper works just as well as straw to stuff that scarecrow
  • Garbage bag liner – line the bottom of a garbage bag or recycling bin with shreds to absorb excess liquid

As much fun as shredding can be, always remember to follow the shredder’s directions carefully. It’s also important to perform regular equipment maintenance on the shredder; refer to the owner’s manual for specific instructions.

What does your office do to reduce their carbon footprint and reduce, reuse, and recycle? For example, Remi gives all new employees a ceramic coffee mug and eliminated the use of Styrofoam cups.

Monday, March 24, 2014

I am Remi! Featuring Diane Pfiester

Get to know a different employee every quarter.

Spring 2014

Diane Pfiester
Business Development

You are the Manager of the Direct Marketing Team, and undoubtedly the go-to person in Marketing. What do you like most about working in Marketing?
I love the creative aspect of the job. I get the chance to start from scratch on a lot of projects and see them all the way through. I also love that my job is constantly changing; we are always trying new ideas and it’s exciting to experiment and watch which ones become successful. 

A lot has changed at Remi since you joined the company in 2006, originally as a claims representative. Where do you see Remi headed in the next 5 years? 
I see Remi creating an even bigger presence in the marketplace and continuing to focus on giving our customers a better experience. Remi strives to make the customer happy and I think that goal will allow Remi to continue to grow and be even bigger 5 years from now.

To quote Bob Burg, a published author and public speaker, “All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” What should people know about you and Remi? 
I think the most important thing to me is to treat people the way I’d want to be treated if I was in their shoes, and being around people that do the same with me and those around them. What people should know about Remi is that we have a lot of experience doing what we do. We are always looking to put the customer first and make sure they are happy with our service from start to finish. 

You are one of the few employees who have won the company’s prestigious Employee of the Year Award. If you could give a brief acceptance speech, what would you say?
I would just say thank you to everyone who has taught me about this business and for the opportunities I have been given. I started at Remi as a temp right out of college and I have been here ever since. The experience at a smaller and growing company like Remi is an experience that I think you can’t get at a big corporation, and I’m grateful that I've had the chance to learn and grow alongside such a great company.

Over the past eight years at Remi, who has been your role model or mentor?
Mardell, the Director of Marketing. When I started working for her it was my first job using my marketing degree. She gave me direction on what I needed to accomplish in the position, but she also allowed me to try new things and not be afraid if they didn't work out. She taught me to think for myself and gave me the opportunity to learn so much in the first few years here about marketing and business in general through real life experiences at the company. As new hires join the marketing department, I remind myself to try and do the same for them to allow for the same positive experience.

You have been with Remi since you graduated college. What is one piece of advice you would give to other young, ambitious employees at Remi?
Work hard and take on any task or job possible, even if it is outside of your job description. There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to completely understanding this business and you will learn the most from projects that are not a part of the everyday job and interacting with different departments. 

The NCAA March Madness is right around the corner. On your bracket, what teams are you predicting will make it to the final four?
Florida, Michigan State, Arizona, and Michigan.

Friday, March 7, 2014

THE REMI BOOK CLUB: Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results

The Remi Book Club is back again and with a review of Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results by Stephen C. Lundin, Ph.D., Harry Paul, and John Christensen. The first time I read this book was back in 2006. Since then, quite a few things have changed in life, history, technology, politics, etc. However, one thing has remained the same…the simple, yet powerful message in the still-popular book.

The Fish Philosophy was born from a phenomenon Christensen noticed happening at the world famous Pike Fish Market in Seattle, WA. The fishmongers work at the market is often tedious, smelly, and cold. However, collectively, they chose to come to work with a positive attitude every day and engage their customers in meaningful ways and it changed the feel of their environment completely even though the actual work remained the same.

From there, Christensen, Lundin, and Paul went on to write Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results, along with three follow-up books to complete the series, Fish! Sticks, Fish! Tales, and Fish! For Life; all of which can be found on Amazon. There are countless videos on the Fish Philosophy, but there’s one from John Christensen himself that I enjoyed watching; you can check it out on YouTube.

The Fish Philosophy is based on the notion that, “When we choose to love the work we do, we can catch our limit of happiness, meaning, and fulfillment every day.” as suggested in the book. Fish! discusses four lessons that can transform a “toxic energy dump” or metaphoric “prison” into a positive, satisfying work environment.

The first lesson, which is also my favorite, is that you can choose the attitude you have every day, regardless of the work to be done or despite what’s been done to you in the past or happening to you in the present. The book continues on to talk about the other three lessons: play, make their day, and be present. Each one briefly covers how the fishmongers made it work for them, in addition to how a widowed, middle-aged, single mother working at a bank made it work for her team that was otherwise known as the “last stage of decline.”

Amazon reviews give Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results 4 out of 5 stars. One 5-star review by tfhawkins states “Fish motivated me! The simple steps are the simple truths here. Taught in an engaging and meaningful way. I'll never forget this book!” and I couldn’t agree more. I rarely read books twice, but this was an exception. It was even better the second time, perhaps because I am older and wiser, in a new career, or just because it’s a great book with a life-changing message that’s relatable to almost every situation. Have you read the book or others in the series? How many stars would you give it and why? Share your thoughts with us – we’d love to hear from you!

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Do’s and Don’ts of Love at the Office

It’s February and that means love is in the air! Saint Valentine’s Day, otherwise known as the Feast of Saint Valentine or Valentine’s Day, is celebrated in many countries around the world. Several martyr-themed stories have been told dating back to the 4th century, all of which don’t end well for Saint Valentine. Thankfully, today’s version of the holiday is a little more romantic but a lot more commercialized. And the rules are different now that we are adults; there are no more cupcake parties or sweet, hand-written valentines…or are there?

Love can do crazy things to people, but love at the office is a whole different ball game. 

Below are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to Valentine’s Day, the office romance, flirting, and the “office spouse” at the workplace.

Do throw a party – everyone loves a good workplace shindig. It’s a nice way to break up the day, visit with coworkers you don’t usually get to see, and eat some good food, especially desserts.

Don’t brag about any Valentine’s Day gifts you receive. No one wants to hear how sweet or romantic your significant other is or see you flaunt the goodies delivered to the office in your honor.

Don’t be afraid to take a chance on love with a coworker, after consulting your employee handbook first of course. However, and this is very important, consider the worst case scenario before going on that first date. If you are prepared to live with the consequences of whatever may or may not happen, then tread lightly. Remember to always be discrete and professional.

Do use your charm to get your way. In other words…flirt! It’s fun and women who flirt are often seen as more effective negotiators, according to a study done at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Men don’t get the same results, but keep trying.

Don’t go overboard with the flirting. There’s a fine line between flirting and brown-nosing. Flirting is done with some finesse and offers the opportunity to be sincere where brown-nosing is blatant sucking up and the brown-noser will do almost anything to gain the boss’ approval, often times at the expense of another employee.

Do have a work best friend or confidant. It’s nice to have someone to vent to, bounce ideas off of, or share lunch with at the office.

Don’t let your office bestie become your office husband or office wife. A work spouse can often lead to an emotional affair or worse and create unnecessary problems in your real marriage.

So this Valentine’s Day, whip up a batch of delicious cookies or cupcakes, purchase some cute Valentines, and show everyone at the office some love. It will make their day and yours. How do you plan on celebrating February 14th at the workplace? Share your plans with us!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Meeting Etiquette for Every Employee

Thanks to the iPhone, Skype, and GoToMeeting, video conferencing has become more and more popular
because of its convenience. However, the face-to-face meeting isn’t quite dead…yet. Although video conferencing tends to be more efficient and cost-effective, a face-to-face meeting may be necessary and prove valuable despite possible travel costs.

According to Opinion Matters, for Epson and the Centre of Economics & Business Research, office workers spend an average of four hours a week in meetings. So chances are you’ll be attending and/or hosting a meeting sometime soon. Whether it’s a video conference or face-to-face meeting, with a large or small group, planned or spontaneous, there’s meeting etiquette for every employee.

Let’s start at the beginning of the meeting and work our way to the end.

Below are some basic rules of etiquette when attending a meeting that should be followed regardless of the setting.

Be punctual. 

It’s distracting to the host and other attendees to come into a meeting late. If you are the host, it’s best to show up early to set up and greet people as they arrive in person or log-in online. It’s also your job to ensure the meeting starts on time.

Make introductions. 

If you don’t know someone at the meeting, introduce yourself and be sure to shake hands. A nice, firm handshake still goes a long way. If you see other attendees who don’t know each other, introduce them, starting with the highest position first. For example, introduce the company President to the new Sales Representative, not vice versa. If logging on to a video conference, be sure to say hello and introduce yourself, if necessary. On a side note, if attending an international meeting, be aware of other cultural etiquette rules. You don’t want to accidentally offend other attendees.

Be prepared. 

This means having a pen, paper, water, handouts, etc. If you are presenting, practice your material in advance; you aren’t in college anymore, so “winging it” won’t cut it. If you are the host, always have extra supplies and drinks, and most importantly, send out the agenda prior to the meeting. It’s important to allot enough time for each discussion point so the meeting doesn’t run over the scheduled end time.

Dress the part. 

Always follow the required attire according to the meeting agenda. It will either be business formal (suit or sports coat with a button down shirt) or business casual (khakis and button down shirt or polo; no jeans). Make sure your clothes are neatly pressed and remember not to overdo the cologne or perfume.

Sit up straight. 

Just like your mother used to tell you! Poor posture suggests that you would rather be anywhere else but at that meeting (which might be true, but you don’t need to show everyone). It’s also important to adjust your chair height to match the other attendees.

Mind your manners. 

I cannot say enough about manners; they show respect and differentiate us humans from animals. In no particular order: do not interrupt people when they are talking, listen, set your phone to vibrate and put it out of sight, ask questions at the appropriate time, speak up so everyone can hear you, do not chew gum, and avoid making unnecessary noises.

Wrap it up. 

Recap any assignments that resulted from the meeting. Say proper goodbyes – shake hands again and pass out business cards, if appropriate. Finally, be sure to clean up after yourself – throw away any garbage and push in your chair. Leave the meeting space in the same or better condition than when you arrived.

Remember to always use common sense. Following the etiquette outlined above will eliminate any awkward moments during any meeting. Do you have other tips or maybe a funny meeting story to share? Please leave us a comment!