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customer-support-superhero

I can barely contain my excitement – it’s almost here. When we round out September, we’ll plunge headfirst into a fiesta of food, a plethora of prizes, and a sea of shenanigans. What do I speak of, you may ask? Why, it’s National Customer Support Week of course!

The widely celebrated (and much adored) National Customer Support Week is typically the first full week of October. This year, it falls on the Week of October 6th. As is customary, HON has embraced the festivities and we’re planning on celebrating in style with our ‘Superheroes’ theme.

Thinking of what you can do for your own band of caped crusaders? Here are a few tips on celebrating your own Customer Support Week:

  • Fiesta of Food – Anyone hungering for Shawarma? Avengers jokes aside, we’re serious about our food days. Throughout the week, we’ll have an array of Superhero Sandwiches, a Power-Up Your Popcorn bar, and even green ‘kryptonite’ (rock candy). At the end of the week, our members will be designing their own smorgasbord inspired by their Superhero region (i.e. – Metropolis, Gotham City, etc). To reward your own heroes, you may consider doing a snack or a lunch, even if it’s not tied to a theme. Hungry for a bit more? Consider having a potluck where everyone brings in their favorite dish.
  • Plethora of Prizes – While our prizes do not include a princess, a rare gem, or the key to a city, they’re worthy of our – some might say – heroic members. We’ll have contests and games each day where our members can play to win any number of HON branded prizes, punctuated by our fabulous daily giveaways (can you guess what they’ll receive?). In years past, we’ve noticed that everyone enjoys receiving giveaways – whether that be a colorful notepad or even a water bottle. If it’s something they can use outside of the office, that allows a little more freedom.
  • Sea of Shenanigans – Though our ‘shenanigans’ would dismay the Joker, we’ve got quite the lineup scheduled! Capes in tow, our members will experience a gauntlet of games, from identifying the cityscape, to matching which Superhero or Villain said what. We’ll be decorating our rows according to which Superhero they’ll represent (hopefully no one in our Spiderman row has arachnophobia) and holding various contests between them during the week. Though we won’t be playing ‘Pin the Jail Bars on the Villain’, we will celebrate our members’ accolades by posting them throughout the office. You could start by adding your own themed décor, or playing games throughout the week. If your members are answering calls, consider playing a game through email, like bingo.

As always, our members are ‘heroic’ enough to handle having fun while maintaining our excellent customer support.  If you do happen to call in to HON Customer Support during National Customer Support Week, you may hear a random cheer, hoot, or (otherwise atypical) exclamation. Don’t worry; it’s all a part of our master plan to take over the world – er – Office Furniture world. Make sure to buff your boots, Batman, and have a happy Customer Support Week!

1. Be Early

Nothing creates stress like falling behind. If you wake up late, your whole day will be thrown off as you rush around. Set your alarm for a few minutes early so you have plenty of time to tackle unexpected road blocks head on.

2. Plan Ahead

Do as much as you can ahead of time. I set my coffee pot the night before to start making coffee before I’m even awake! I like to pack my lunch and even plan my outfit the night before. You won’t have to stress over these small decisions in the morning.

3. Prioritize Tasks

If you know you have a big project to conquer, get it done first thing in the morning. Move it to the top of your list and you’ll breathe a sigh of relief when it’s done. Letting it hang over your head all day (hello, procrastination!) only makes for more stress over the course of your day.

4. Take A Break

Hit a wall with your project? Go for a quick walk around the block. The fresh air and exercise will give you energy and clear your stress. You may even get a great idea while you’re out and about.

5. Reward Yourself

Treat yourself! Allow yourself a reward for working hard. I like to grab a fun coffee or have lunch with a friend to celebrate accomplishments. It’s a nice reminder that working hard pays off.

What do you do to get rid of morning stress?

Team Meeting In Creative Office

At times, finding an open window of time to meet with an entire project group can be difficult. How can you make the most of your time? Let’s look at a few ways to keep meetings on task and more efficient.

Share Expectations
In the meeting invitation, include an agenda and attendee expectations. The agenda gives the attendees an idea of what will be discussed.  This allows them to have their thoughts together so they can join into the conversation. Letting attendees know if they need to have anything prepared will make sure everyone is ready to share ideas and keep the meeting rolling.

Set Your Space
In preparation for the meeting, ensure the room you reserve meets all of your space requirements. Determine if there is enough seating for all those attending the meeting so you aren’t searching for an extra chair when the meeting should be starting. Make sure the meeting space offers the equipment you need, whether this is a screen and projector or flip chart.  Having your space prepared for success will keep the meeting running smoothly.

Get Started
Start on time. The attendees know what time the meeting was scheduled to start. Therefore, it’s important to be respectful of their time, especially if it is just a short window of availability. Begin the meeting at the start time and immediately start covering items on the agenda.

Offer Support Materials
Bring handouts for all attendees if necessary. And if you will be handing something out, make sure you have enough for each attendee. Handouts can be helpful if a large amount of information is presented in a short time to allow the attendees to have a hard copy to review.

Close the Loop
Recap the meeting and the follow-up activities. If there are action items coming out of the meeting, it is good practice to send out a follow-up communication summarizing those items.  Be sure to include what tasks will be completed by the next meeting and/or specific deadlines.

What tactics do you use to keep your meetings productive?

A few years ago I came across an Inc article that sang praises for the benefits of bringing your dog to work. According to a Virginia Commonwealth University study, workers who brought their dogs with them to work “experienced lower stress levels throughout the work day, reported higher levels of job satisfaction, and had a more positive perception of their employer.” How can you argue with that?!

Below are a few examples of some of our favorite 4-legged friends busy at work.  Who else has canines as co-workers? We would love to see your pics!

Even Maslow can’t help but Migrate to Flock.

Even Maslow can’t help but Migrate to Flock.

Bones showing his immense admiration for the unmatched comfort of Nucleus.

Bones showing his immense admiration for the unmatched comfort of Nucleus.

Lollipop taking a spin on Purpose.

Lollipop taking a spin on Purpose.

Ceres seating makes a 'ruff' day at the office much more enjoyable.

Ceres seating makes a ‘ruff’ day at the office much more enjoyable.

Steve giving Voi his official seal of approval.

Steve giving Voi his official seal of approval.

Rambo chilling out on Flock.

Rambo chilling out on Flock.

Capture
Whether you’re an avid basketball fan who knew the starting lineup of every NCAA team, or a novice basketball fan who just caught a game here and there, you most likely noticed that March Madness owned the airwaves over the past few weeks.  If you are still unfamiliar with this annual college basketball sensation, look at your social media platform of choice and you’ll see at least one disparaged fan mention their busted bracket.

The March Madness basketball tournament garners excitement in basketball fans and basketball beginners alike.  There is an opportunity for workplaces to create this same excitement, energy, and competitive spirit with their own contests or competitions.

Try some of these ideas to pump up the energy in your office while adding an element of friendly competition:

  • Spring Cleaning Food Drive Contest:  Place co-workers in teams and have a contest on who can bring in the most canned food, clothes, or home goods to donate to a local charity
  • Throwback Thursday:  Co-workers wear a throwback clothing item (throwback jersey, band shirt, etc) and the person with the best item wins
  • March Madness Inspired Contest: Match team members (or teams) up with each other to create friendly competition.  Instead of points in a basketball game, they advance to the next round by having the higher chosen workplace performance metric.   For example: Your Customer Support team could be based on the number of customer touchpoints, your sales team could have the number of sales calls, etc.

March Madness creates a contagious energy where millions of people are completely engaged in an athletic event.  Athletes perform some of the best games of their careers because of the high-energy atmosphere, cheers and fan support.  Our workplaces can also perform exceedingly well by increasing the energy and engagement of employees.  Think about implementing a fun contest or competition in your workplace to increase employee morale and build group cohesion through teamwork.

What games, contests, or competitions do you implement in your organization?


cold weather blues

If there is one thing this seemingly never-ending winter has taught me, it’s how to find joy in life when it’s nothing but white, gray, and dark brown outside.  There were days when it seemed like even the sun didn’t want to come outside—and who could blame it?  Negative 50 degrees?  No thank you!  However, as someone who has bills to pay and work to do, I had to brace myself and venture out into the Midwestern version of the Arctic Tundra.  Since I prefer being outside to enjoy the bright colors of spring, summer, and fall, this winter was particularly rough.

One of the things that helped me this winter was finding new challenges, both personally and professionally.  There’s a clichéd New Year’s Resolution that a lot of people make to “Try Something New Every Day.”  I’m a bit of a creature-of-habit, so that doesn’t really appeal to me.  However, since this winter continues to drag out, I’ve had to broaden my horizons a bit.  Some areas I have been more adventurous in include.

  • Trying new recipes. Who knew I would actually like quinoa and kale chips?  Granted, this stemmed from my goal to eat a little healthier this year, but I was pleasantly surprised.
  • Be more creative.  A few of my friends and I recently took a painting class, and it was a great experience.  I’m no Van Gogh, but I enjoyed it regardless.  I also have a cake decorating class on my list of to-dos.
  • Challenge myself with new workouts.  Working out (along with the healthier eating as mentioned above) is a necessity, whether I like it or not.  This winter I have tried some more challenging HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts, hot yoga, and strength training.  Exercise is a great way to boost your mood!
  • Tackle that last item on your to-do list.  I’ve found that since I have more time to stay inside, I’ve accomplished quite a few things.

Along with trying new things, another way to boost your mood if you have the winter doldrums is through interactions with other people.  Staying engaged with activities at work, visiting friends, even something that seems insignificant like going out to eat can brighten your day, since interacting with other people can often take your mind off of your troubles.

Last and certainly not least is to relax and take time for yourself.  Feel like spending the day lounging on the couch in your PJs with a good book?  Do it!  (As long as it’s a weekend!)  Go out for a spa day with some friends, go shopping, take a weekend trip, or eat that piece of cake that you maybe don’t need…all of these things will help you feel better.

It’s important to remember that, even though it doesn’t feel like it, the seasons will change and winter will be over soon enough.  However, with the cold days lingering, and the hint of snow still in the air, don’t forget to take a little time for yourself to keep those blues away.

How do you battle the bad weather blues?

1944 collage

What do Diana Ross, Michael Douglas, Stockard Channing, George Lucas, Danny DeVito, and HON all have in common? They all turn 70 this year!

With World War II drawing to a close, our founder C. Maxwell Stanley foresaw a post-war housing boom. He had the idea to start a manufacturing company that would put returning G.I.s to work making steel kitchen cabinets for use in new homes. He invited his brother-in-law, Clement T. Hanson, a successful advertising executive, and H. Wood Miller, an industrial designer, to go into business with him. They called their business “Home-O-Nize,” and they incorporated in 1944.

Before we fast forward 70 years later, let’s take a quick look back at 1944 (it turns out we were in good company!):

  • #1 Song: “Swinging on a Star” by Bing Crosby
  • Best Picture at the 16th Academy Awards®: Casablanca
  • #1 Book: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • TIME Magazine® Man of the Year: Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Famous Entertainers: Rita Hayworth, Lauren Bacall, Fred Astaire, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, Bob Hope, Katharine Hepburn, etc.
  • Famous Musicians: Benny Goodman, The Andrews Sisters, Frank Miller, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, etc.
  • World Series Champions: St. Louis Cardinals
  • NFL Champions: Green Bay Packers
  • Wildly popular board game, Clue®, is born!
  • U.S. Forest Service creates its beloved Smokey Bear
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt seeks his 4th term in office

12 Presidents, 7 decades, and only 3 logo changes later – we’ve certainly come a long way. A philosophy of fairness, honesty, integrity, and respect have made us a leader in workplace furniture. Every moment is an opportunity to build momentum. We’ve seized each and every one to build a legacy you can be proud of and to prepare for a future that keeps getting brighter. HON is ready.

Cheers to another 70 years, and happy birthday to those that share our birthday year!

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