Recently, FlexTrades was recognized with a ‘Risk Control Award of Merit.’ Companies receiving this recognition account for only the top 25% of all businesses considered. Grading was applied for critical statistics such as loss frequency, and loss severity, in addition to proactive measures taken by participants to reduce risks within facilities and maintain the safety of all employees.
FlexTrades is honored by this recognition and proud of the way it reflects on how our company constantly champions a safety-first culture in manufacturing. This unwavering commitment is integral to our efforts to move the line in American manufacturing while being amazing partners for our employees and clients every day.
“I’m incredibly proud of our team for receiving this recognition and continuing to move the line by providing as safe of a workplace as possible for our technicians. This could not have been achieved without the efforts of all of our different operational teams, led by our safety team, to establish best practices for screening, training, communicating and managing safety risks and expectations,” said Amy Grussing, FlexTrades’ CEO. “I hope this award helps demonstrates to our clients, prospective clients and the industry at large our commitment to bringing the highest level of safety to their work sites and our partnerships.”
Summer is just beginning to turn to fall, but many people around the country are already starting to think about colder weather. Maintenance managers aren’t any different than the rest of us when it comes to considering the needs of their HVAC/R equipment and facilities. They don’t want to be caught unprepared when the weather is at its worst. Creating and following a winter checklist can greatly simplify maintenance of an industrial or commercial facility. Here’s a checklist that can help you prepare your facilities for the cold weather ahead.
Steps that take advantage of the changing weather for savings.
Regular system checks, throughout the year, ensure major (and costly) overhauls or repairs are rarely needed. They also ensure that HVAC/R equipment is operating at it’s most efficient (and cost-effective) capacity regardless of the season.
Thermostats and/or zone controls can result in greatly reduced energy consumption (and increased savings). Production machinery in a shop will produce enough heat on its own to have much different requirements for warming than conference rooms or shared office spaces. Having the proper controls to take advantage of this will not only result in savings but a much more comfortable, and productive, workforce.
Drain and winterize non-essential chillers and cooling towers. They don’t need to be a focus of maintenance until preparing to bring back online for warmer weather. This allows manpower to be redirected to more seasonally essential tasks. It also decreases weather-related wear and tear on HVAC/R system equipment.
Steps that make sure things work best when the weather is at its worst.
Preventative maintenance on outdoor assets and equipment is essential BEFORE cold weather hits. A plow or snowblower isn’t much good to anyone if it doesn’t start the first time it’s cold enough to snow.
Heat pumps and boilers need to be operating at optimum levels when they’re most needed. HVAC/R and water systems work harder during severe weather. It’s also important they work efficiently to reduce system strain and energy consumption as much as possible.
Test emergency generators/systems and fuel supplies regularly. A blizzard knocking out heat or a storm knocking out fire prevention can be catastrophic for a company. This makes backup systems one of the most imperative checks a facility maintenance manager can perform.
Prepare your facility for the most extreme weather.
Preparing high traffic and communal use areas like entryways, parking lots, and loading docks for cold (and often ICY) weather is a necessity. They can often be slip/trip/fall hazards in even mild conditions. Simple steps like the use of deicer, gravel, safety mats, and proper signage can go a long way to reducing the frequency of worst-case scenarios occurring.
A burst pipe due to freezing is one of the worst things that can happen to a facility. Such an occurrence can result in both water damage (flooding) to the physical facility and equipment damage to HVAC/R and water systems. Properly insulate pipes and valves to keep water and building temperature at proper levels.
Snow and ice can be a great hazard for the roof of any facility. Freezing and melting can cause ice dams in gutters that result in leaks and other water damage. Meanwhile, snow load can result in structural damage or even cause roofs to collapse when improperly anticipated. Regularly clearing drainage or ventilation systems is paramount for winter weather prep due to these hazards.
These aren’t the only steps required to prepare a facility for winter, but they are some of the most important ones. If you’re swamped and need help checking some items off your building’s list, contact our Client Solutions team to see if our HVAC/R or Facility Maintenance techs can help you out. If you’re experienced preparing industrial and commercial properties for seasonal changes, send your resume to our Technical Solutions team to learn more about our projects. Either way, all of us at FlexTrades hope all of you stay safe, productive, and warm this winter.
In recent years, the Clean Slate Initiative has emerged as a growing movement towards a policy shift in the United States. It aims to address the challenges faced by individuals with criminal records. This groundbreaking initiative offers both opportunities and challenges not only for those seeking a fresh start but also for employers. Let’s explore what the Clean Slate Initiative entails, its implications for both employers and employees, and how it varies from state to state.
What is the Clean Slate Initiative?
The Clean Slate Initiative is a progressive legal movement that seeks to automate the process of expunging certain criminal records and convictions. Its primary goal is to help people with past convictions reenter society as productive, law-abiding citizens. While the specifics vary by state, the initiative typically involves the automatic sealing or expungement of arrest and conviction records for minor, non-violent offenses after a predetermined period of good behavior.
What Does the Clean Slate Initiative Mean for Employees?
Diverse Talent Pool: Employers can tap into a previously underutilized talent pool, potentially finding skilled workers.
Legal Protections: In some states, employers who hire individuals with expunged records may receive legal protections against liability related to their employees’ past convictions.
Risk Assessment: Employers must navigate the complexity of assessing the potential risks associated with hiring individuals with criminal histories.
Legal Compliance: The initiative’s legal requirements and implications can vary significantly from state to state, posing compliance challenges for businesses.
How Does the Clean Slate Initiative Differ by State?
Legislation and Eligibility: The Clean Slate Initiative’s implementation differs from state to state regarding the types of offenses eligible for expungement and the waiting periods required. Currently, 12 states across America have passed Clean Slate legislation.
Resources and Support: Some states allocate more resources to support individuals seeking record expungement, making the process more accessible and efficient.
The Clean Slate Initiative represents a transformative approach to criminal justice and rehabilitation in the United States. While it offers numerous opportunities for both employees and employers, it also presents its fair share of challenges. These opportunities and challenges vary significantly depending on the state, highlighting the importance of staying informed about local legislation and resources. As the Clean Slate Initiative continues to evolve, its impact on the lives of millions of Americans and the workforce as a whole remains a subject of great interest and importance.
FlexTrades is all about manufacturing, and this industry is all about making things. However, we try to remember the people doing the making, and all the things that are important to them. Our families, careers, and histories deserve recognition beyond what we do when we’re “on the clock.” In that light, this article will gladly answer a question that we are hearing more and more often…
What is Juneteenth?
We’re thrilled to see awareness around this holiday grow every single year, and we’re very happy to answer the question above.
Juneteenth is observed annually on June 19th and has been since 1865. It began in Galveston, Texas, following the Civil War, as African American Emancipation Day. In the 156 years since, the celebration has grown and spread beyond the United States and, sometimes, beyond the date. Today, Juneteenth is a day, a week, and in some areas even a month that commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement.
Juneteenth originated when Major General Gordon Granger landed with his regiment and brought news to Texas of Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and General Robert E. Lee’s April 1865 surrender. This announcement “officially” freed the enslaved population of Texas with Granger’s General Order Number 3.
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”
Why Is Juneteenth Important Today?
Juneteenth today celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. But, as historian Henry Gates Jr says, today the day is “not only an opportunity to celebrate, but to speak out.”
As the holiday grows in a national — and even global — perspective, Juneteenth is becoming an increasingly symbolic event to not only recognize the achievements of the past but to also advocate for societal improvements in the future. In essence, we’re all collectively remembering where we came from while recommitting to what we want our future to be. How can you not celebrate that?
How Can I Celebrate?
In the Workplace:
Recognizing Juneteenth in the workplace doesn’t just support corporate diversity; it shows a true commitment to creating a diverse workforce and recognition of an increasingly diverse society. There are many ways this can be done, but bringing in a guest speaker is a great one.
In the Community:
If your community doesn’t already have a Juneteenth committee, forming one is a great first step. However, if it does, participating in events is all you really need to do. Whether attending a block party, hosting guest speakers, or watching a parade; the aim of the day is to remember, celebrate, encourage, and support freedom, unity, and improvement among all of us. There isn’t a wrong way to participate in that!
In the Home:
Plan a special meal and gather the family together to acknowledge Juneteenth. Decorate your table and/or door with a Juneteenth theme and discuss what the celebration of the day means. Emphasize the mandates of responsibility and striving to be the best you can be. Make specific pledges for the remainder of the year, ask for support in accomplishing your goals, and commit to supporting the goals of another.
We hope this FAQ didn’t just answer your question but inspires you to more actively engage with Juneteenth this year. If you still have questions, there’s a lot more to learn about the holiday. You can always get other answers from us too. Just send your questions to our Writing Team and keep an eye out for future FAQ’s. We can’t wait to share our next answer with you!
Every technician has a toolbox, but what do you NEED to have in it? While there’s no “right” answer, here is a list of tools that FlexTrades’ most successful technicians always have in their toolboxes – and some recommendations for the average Joe, too.
Chisels & Punches
Files & Deburring Tools
Drills & Drivers
Cutters & Saws
Grinders & Sanders
Calipers & Micrometers
Indicators & Edge Finders
Markers & Soapstone
Hand Tools for Your Toolbox
Machinists and maintenance technicians need a good set of wrenches, ratchets, and sockets in typical SAE and metric sizes. A good adjustable wrench and a set of Allen wrenches are also must haves. Most also carry a quality torx set because of their prevalence in industrial settings.
Hand drivers may be the toothbrush of tools; rarely appreciated though used every day, but that’s what makes them essential. Every technician prefers a power tool for any job, but sometimes you can’t get power tools where they need to be. A good selection of hand drivers with varied lengths and a multitude of heads (slotted, Philips, square, etc.) can often be a big job saver.
Whether used for holding work pieces, trimming and stripping wires or turning the nut a wrench can’t reach, a technician can never have too many pliers. From slip-joint to locking and needle-nose to linesman’s, make sure this tool is well represented in your bag.
Technician or not, everybody knows about hammers, but those used in manufacturing aren’t your father’s claw hammer. It doesn’t matter if you need to set tooling and fixtures, make repairs, fine adjustments, or just knock something loose. A good collection of specialty hammers such as ball peens, brass, and dead blows will more than pull their weight in the shop.
Sets of up to 1” for chisels and punches can go a long way for working on tooling, fixtures and finished work pieces. Having them may also be the difference between saving the machine, the tool, or your fingers from unnecessary damage in the process.
Files and deburring tools are integral for finish work on parts and features for both machinists and welders. Owning a great set of both is often all that separates a tedious job from an impossible one especially when dealing with fine materials or high tolerance pieces.
Drills and drivers replace hand tools, where appropriate, to save time and physical strain. Recent advancements in battery technology now allow many companies to make great entries in this field. However, regardless of brand, the choice will always be between power and physical profile (smaller drills = smaller, less powerful batteries). Be honest about the work you do most or be prepared to see this collection grow quickly.
Cutters and saws help make faster, more accurate, cuts more often than hand tools. You can choose from corded or cordless varieties, and both have their advantages. The convenience and portability of cordless versions normally win in most scenarios. Remember though, it’s still a battery tool. The same considerations apply to these as mentioned for drills and drivers.
A quality belt sander and an angle grinder, with both cutting and grinding heads, are essential for rough maintenance and fine finish work. It doesn’t matter if you’re a welder, machinist, or maintenance technician – you will have to clean up weld slag or tool chatter at some point. Pro tip, if you need to use either for more than a few minutes at a time, go with the corded version. Cordless sanders and grinders drain batteries quickly!
A quality 0-1” micrometer and a good 6” caliper will take any machinist a long way by accommodating most typical sized work pieces and features. If you need a bigger range for your daily work, then your toolbox is probably already in great shape without this list. Pro tip: Analog dials never have batteries die, but digitals have fewer parts that need cleaning to maintain accuracy over time.
Machinist square or combo square, both will help you start and check your work. You won’t get far without one or the other. When buying, go for sturdy over fancy.
A 6” scale is standard, and I recommend sticking with metal for durability and accuracy. Indicators and edge finders are essential for setting your axis, finding the edge of your part and fine-tuning settings. A scale is often overlooked, but you’re simply not a machinist without it. *Pros can get their measuring tools piece by piece or in a kit to meet all needs, like this one from Insize. But most Joes can get by with just a good tape measure like this classic from Stanley.
Flashlights make it easier to do work when you can see it. Get a few and make sure at least one has a flexible head. Magnetic bases frequently come in handy too.
Don’t use your phone as a calculator – there’s a greater chance you’ll wreck it. A calculator capable of performing trig functions is a must for multi-axis machining.
Being able to read your markings on greasy, oily metal is essential in production environments and being able to remove the markings after is a plus.
This is your most important tool as a technician because it allows you to reference work you’ve done and make sure you can apply that previous knowledge to the current job at hand.
When you go to the job, your tools need to come with you. FlexTrades’ traveling technicians all need a quality toolbox that is portable, adjustable, and lockable. This 22-inch rolling system from Husky is a great option! If you’re wondering what to do with the tools you decide to leave at home, they need to be stored properly as well. We suggest you watch this interview with Stor-Loc, a great American-made option, before deciding on your next tool chest!
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
Every work site has its own requirements for PPE, but they all begin with boots. Steel or composite safety toes are the standard, but built-in internal metatarsal protection boots are becoming more common all the time. Waterproofing, slip resistance, and electrical ratings are other things to consider when buying boots. Something like this pair from Red Wings checks all those boxes.
Hard hats or helmets, safety glasses, and hearing protection are often provided by the employer, but every technician has a favorite that works best for their job. When you find yours, buy two immediately!
Position specific equipment like auto-darkening visors for welders and respirators for painters are also PPE worth considering.
While this list is not definitive, it’s a great start to building your kit. See what your toolbox is lacking and consider adding some missing items.
If your collection already includes everything mentioned above, and you know how to use it, you’re probably ready for a career in the manufacturing industry. Send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you started!
In a recent interview with one of our skilled technicians, Shane, I asked who inspired him to start his work in the trades. He went on to tell me how he owes it all to his mother. I just smiled and thought about how my mom was the biggest influence on my career path too. I’m certain Shane and I aren’t the only ones in that boat!
My mom worked as a middle school teacher for over 40 years. She touches tools as infrequently as possible. Most folks who know her would agree that her mechanical aptitude can be described as “limited at best.” It’s safe to say I learned most of my technical skills from somebody else. Despite this, every skill I have that has made me stand out from others over the years WAS learned from her. And there’s nothing technical about them.
Career Lessons from Mom
Your technical skills get you hired but your soft skills are what keep you hired and allow you to advance. I’ve said that to every class at every tech school I’ve ever visited. I learned the truth of that lesson myself over decades working with people possessing far more “craft” than I do. However, I learned the skills themselves from a life spent as my mother’s child. I had no idea they would all be relevant to life in the trades as well.
Work Ethic – My mom never missed a day of work unless she was physically unable to work. She’s never paid another person to do a job she could do herself. She does extra so others can do less. And she never complains about it. Unsurprisingly, she’s consistently viewed as an indispensable team member.
Organization – No matter how many events, projects, parties, or tasks my mom must juggle she never drops the ball. Calendars on the fridge, post-its in her purse, and notes in her phone all help my mom keep her work (and life) properly prioritized and on-schedule. Her rigorous planning means she rarely wastes time or effort and is universally assumed to be always on-point.
Punctuality – Being late doesn’t make you a bad person but it can make for some bad problems – especially when it comes to your employment. Being early never cost anybody anything except a few extra minutes. Show up everywhere early with something to fill your time and you’ll always be there when it matters. Do it enough and people will notice. My mother’s adherence to this principle didn’t just result in a good reputation. Punctuality means she is never the one seeking out critical information that was missed, but frequently is the one dispensing it.
Communication – Sharing blood doesn’t mean that you share a communication style. That’s certainly true in my family. But whether my mom “speaks my language” or not, she still needs me to receive her information and provide mine to her in a manner we both can absorb. This means she’s constantly trying out new phrasing, imagery, and tools. She even got a Snapchat account to continue that effort with her next generation of communication failures (her grandkids). This commitment to communication has allowed her to understand (and be understood by) many generations of different ages, races, creeds, genders, etc. It has also kept her professionally relevant well into her fifth decade in the workforce.
Professional Pride – Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability and then stand by it. This is true regardless of whether the final result ends up being good or bad. If you try your hardest and own your work, you will benefit by either an increase in esteem (external factor) or knowledge (internal factor). Both will always benefit your career. Knowing this has allowed my mom to change with the times to continue to provide the same quality of education to students today as she first did so many years ago, throughout very different eras.
This Mother’s Day I hope you all take the time to think about what your own mom has done to help form the person and professional you’ve become. Then tell her why and make sure to say “thank you”. She deserves it. If those of you who are mothers would like to further influence your child by getting them to think about a career in the trades, that’s a great idea! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this holiday (and the trades) than by having a conversation with mom.
Spring means a lot of things across America but in hiring and educational circles it mostly means one thing – career fair season. There are events everywhere put on by schools, community groups, and sometimes even by employers. A fair is easy to find, you only need to look online or in your local paper but getting satisfactory results can be a lot more difficult. You can already find a lot of info online to help prepare for a fair ahead of time. But we’ve come up with three easy, actionable tips so everyone involved with a career fair can find success while at the event.
Door Prizes – Foot traffic is the name of the game for employer events. Prizes and giveaways can help a lot when it comes to getting people in the building for your event. Fewer prizes with bigger values will always be a bigger draw, even if it means you must give them away in a drawing or raffle.
Employer Maps – Students, alumni, and community members come to a career fair to find a job. Make it easy for them to find the kind of jobs for which they’re searching. The easiest way to do this is with a booth map showing where each employer is located and clearly calling out the skillsets/positions for which they’re hiring.
Walk Around – Surveys after the event can be helpful when planning for your next one but walking around during your event allows you to connect with employers and job seekers in real time. This gives you the best chance to put on a great event by ensuring you can tackle problems and questions immediately.
Make Jobs Obvious – Attendees at a career fair are looking for jobs. Make it easy for people with the right skills for the jobs you’re filling to find you. Hiring welders or drivers or office admins? Then say it clearly and specifically in your signage and table literature rather than something ambiguous like, “Now hiring for ALL positions.”
Use Images – A picture says a thousand words, so using a view pictures or videos can replace thousands of words in your signage. This saves money and space as well as simplifying your message and creating a neater overall booth appearance. Quality images also help you draw more ESL speakers or people that may not read well from a distance into your booth too.
Know Your Product – This may sound self-explanatory, but it is a frequent problem at career fairs. Companies often send out people that know their hiring process best, but those people don’t always know the day-to-day details of the work itself. Having an event team that can speak to the full employee experience (onboarding, compensation, benefits, daily work duties, etc.) goes a long way to generating interested candidates.
Do Your Research – Some hiring events can get truly huge with hundreds of employers and thousands of job seekers. Showing up unprepared to such an event is a sure way to get overwhelmed quickly. To avoid this, do your homework first. Research employers on the internet ahead of time to create a list of target companies you want to connect with and to make sure you have questions ready for them once you do!
Take Notes – You can make a great many connections, and learn a lot of information, in a short time at a career fair. Don’t trust your memory to remember it all! Whether you take an actual notebook, take pictures and notes on your phone, or just jot down details on the back of business cards – writing down who said what and when will be extremely helpful for follow ups and actual interviews.
Make It a Game – The real benefit to a career fair for a job seeker is sheer volume. The more potential employers you talk to, the more likely you are to find the right opportunity for you. To capitalize on this, try incentivizing yourself to hit as many booths as possible. You can do so by pre-determining a “reward” for yourself if you speak with X number of employers or simply making a competition between friends to see who can connect with the most.
We hope you find this list helpful in getting the most out of the next employer event you attend. If it winds up leading you to your next career, you may want some additional help too. Remember, if you have ideas for things to do, or NOT to do, (or places and situations in which you shouldn’t do them) we’re happy to share those too! Just send them to our Writing Team and we’ll cover them in a future blog.
The second full week of February is recognized as National Secondhand Wardrobe Week. The intent of this observance is dedicated to encouraging people to shop secondhand and donate, or sell, old clothing rather than throw it away. The reasons behind this initiative are to support local thrift stores while helping people reduce the estimated 92 MILLION tons of textiles that end up in landfills every year. These are worthy goals by themselves, but I’d like to encourage you to observe this week for a different reason. I’m hoping you’ll clean out your closets for National Secondhand Wardrobe Week 2023 to help support the future of skilled trades.
Why Support the Skilled Trades
The skilled trades have opportunities for everybody in America. Regardless of your skills or experience, we have a professional home just waiting for you somewhere in construction, agriculture, or manufacturing. But these careers can go hand in hand with real barriers to entry. We’re most familiar hearing about these barriers when people talk about the skills gap that exists in our worldwide workforce today. However, things much simpler than skills can often prevent a person from pursuing work in the skilled trades. Most commonly, these areas include tools, boots, or specialty clothing required for employment.
Where to Donate
There are many groups and organizations that will collect donated clothing for specific purposes like cold weather (Salvation Army Coat Drives) or job interviews (Dress for Success). These are fantastic programs that do a lot of good, but they rarely focus on, or benefit, people in and around the trades. A number of programs are operating with a focus on shoes (Soles4Souls) and other footwear, (Samaritan’s Feet) while other organizations will provide new work boots (Charitable Union) to qualified applicants. Unfortunately, none of these options put a true emphasis on used work clothing or footwear aimed at people trying to get into the trades.
How You Can Help
By now you’re saying, “This is all great to know, but how can I help support the trades with my used work boots and clothes?” I’m so glad you asked because I have a solution!
I’d like you to consider the example of Darnel Royal and Work Boot Ministry. Darnel had an opportunity to give away a pair of work boots and went to social media to make it happen. In doing so, he uncovered a huge need and a mission. In about 4 years, Royal and his colleagues have donated 567 pairs of boots to support 567 different trades careers.
You can do the same thing, and you don’t have to be a local social media influencer like Darnel! My challenge to you is simple and can be accomplished in four easy steps.
Go through your closet and find any old clothes, boots, gloves, hats, outerwear, or specialty items that are fit for trades work (and still in good enough condition to donate).
Do a mental inventory of your network. Who do you know that’s connected to training programs, technical schools, shelters, workforce development centers, relevant employers, etc. (Hint: if the answer is nobody, a quick Google search and a phone call or two will change that quickly!)
Schedule a drop off and let them take things from there.
Pro-tip: If you’re willing to put up a post on social media and handle follow-up / delivery yourself, you can cut these four steps down to three.
Make a Difference In Your Community
Here at FlexTrades, it’s our intention to make a difference every day, in every way that we can. This is reflected in every one of our core values. It’s my sincere hope that this article inspires you to try to make a difference in your own community today while making it a little easier for you to do so too.
Would you like to read about other ways we try to make a difference? Check out our blog page today! Do you have ideas on how we can help? Send them to our Writing Team, and you might be reading about your idea in our next blog article.
Robots Aren’t Coming for Your Jobs
Have you heard about Industry 4.0? It’s the fourth industrial revolution. The first was about mechanization and happened in the 18th century. The second occurred during the 19th century and centered around electrification. The 20th century saw the third, which was all about computers. Now we’re in the 21st century and smack dab in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution. This revolution is about what are called cyber-physical systems – the convergence of machine and computer. Industry 4.0 is evidenced by automation, robotics, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and the ongoing move towards “lights out” manufacturing.
Most of you have heard about Industry 4.0, you just don’t realize it. This is because most of what you’ve heard has been misrepresented. In general, talk about the fourth industrial revolution starts with, “The robots are coming to take our jobs!” Does that ring a bell? I’m here to tell you, that isn’t going to happen.
133 million Jobs Expected to be Created
We expect technology (like robots and larger automation processes) to eliminate a lot of jobs around the world. According to a oft-cited study conducted jointly by Hays and Oxford Economics, it can be expected that technology will “cull” 75 million jobs globally by the end of this decade. That’s an undeniably huge number, so why am I saying that the worries about robots taking jobs are being misrepresented? Because an even larger number mentioned in that same study never seems to get the same amount of attention. That number is 133 million, and it’s mentioned in reference to the number of jobs we expect to be CREATED by technology during that same time frame. That’s an almost 2:1 ratio and means that robots and technology are expected to create 100% more jobs than they eliminate worldwide!
Why People are Worried
Why, then, is everybody so worried about robots? In my opinion, it’s mostly because people inherently dislike change. Technology’s biggest benefit to industry (whether manufacturing, finance, retail, etc.) is to move the variable (in most cases, that’s the human element – you) further and further from where machine (mill, lathe, pen, phone call, point of sale, etc.) and material (metal, wood, receipt, service, etc.) meet. This is because that intersection is where errors, inefficiencies, and injuries happen most often. By moving that wild card (you), technology can help deliver better results while simultaneously making jobs safer.
Technology will Change Today’s Jobs
There’s a silver lining – technology is making our human jobs easier, safer, and more secure every day. So, what’s the bad news? It’s that technology will cause those same jobs to change continuously and consistently throughout a career. And that’s not going to change. This is also why a skills gap exists today. We have the jobs. We have the people to fill them. But those people don’t currently possess the skills needed to fill those jobs. The skills gap has led to a hiring shortfall of over 2 million people in American manufacturing alone!
Opportunities for Employers
What does this mean for you? If you’re an employer, it means that your workforce headaches aren’t going away anytime soon. FlexTrades can help with that, if needed. Visit our website to learn more about our manufacturing solutions.
Opportunities for Employees
If you’re an employee, this means that the robots are making more employment opportunities for you than ever before. McKinsey expects somewhere between 75 million and 375 million workers will eventually be “displaced” by technology. The sheer scale of opportunity for career advancement for workers worldwide is mind boggling when you think about it. You just need to keep growing your knowledge and skills, along with the technological advances of your industry, to ensure that you can benefit.
Already in manufacturing or the skilled trades? We could be a good employment option for you! Browse our jobs and bookmark our blog page.
Do you have a topic you’d like to learn more about? Send it to our Writing Team and we’ll try to cover it in a future blog.
Not Home for the Holidays
You don’t have to look hard during this time of year to realize the holidays are upon us. City streets are decorated, store windows are full of gift ideas, and seasonal music is omnipresent. For most of us, even if this isn’t our idea of ’the most wonderful time of the year,’ it’s a time of joy and nostalgia. But there’s a large portion of the population that the rest of us forget about during this season – those who can’t get home. While most are at home, millions of people around the world are working so that we can celebrate.
From flight attendants and emergency workers to our own FlexTrades technicians keeping the wheels of industry turning through seasonal spikes, there are a lot of people missing time with their families. We want all of you in that position to know we appreciate you a lot! But we also realize that all the recognition in the world doesn’t make such a sacrifice any less lonely. Therefore, we turned to our travel-work experts for some tips on how to make sure you don’t feel alone just because you’re spending this holiday away from home.
Holiday Tips for When You’re Away from Home
The number one rule of family planning is communication and that goes double for holiday schedules. Once your shift is solidified, the first thing you should do is let your family know. There are a lot of ways to make alternate seasonal plans, but most are not very realistic at the last minute. It sounds simple, but often the best answers are exactly that. If you know you’re going to miss a party or tradition, talk about it asap. You’ll be surprised how creative your family can get.
Whether you’re in an office or on the shop floor, you might not be able to go home for the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring some of it to you. Christmas lights, a mini-tree, or a singing reindeer are easy ways to surround yourself with some seasonal items. You can even level-up this step into a simple group activity by involving coworkers or others with a ’project’ such as setting ten minutes aside for everybody to cut out a paper snowflake for their station. Do you have a cherished tree ornament at home? Bring it with you on the road so you’re not leaving all your nostalgia behind. Even wearing a work uniform doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker. If you can’t wear that Santa hat or Grinch shirt, try wearing a themed lanyard or safety glasses with decorated frames!
Technology can be a stressor in life, especially during the holidays, but it can also be a day (or even a season) saver. Video calling and messaging apps, like FaceTime, have already changed the roadwork experience for many FlexTrades technicians. You don’t have to be on the road to also benefit from these technologies though. Even if you’re just missing a New Year’s Eve party for a single shift, using FaceTime and a well-timed break can make sure you’re still there with the people that matter to you when the ball drops. There are lots of other technologies that can help with this too. One that we love is using the group watch function of your favorite streaming platform to share a classic holiday film with your friends and family, no matter where you all are around the globe! Using VR goggle could make it even more exciting but does require a few extra steps.
Working over the holidays, especially on the road, can be a team effort. It could make sense to celebrate those holidays with your work team. Little things like group caroling competitions or gift exchanges can add a lot of fun to seasonal work. Those little things make it easier to focus on the big stuff too, like making sure your teammates know just how much you appreciate them. Shared appreciation is always a good thing!
Do you feel bad about something you’re missing this season? The best way to feel good is to do good. If you can’t make it home for the holidays, then do something to make where you’re at feel homier. Church groups, charitable associations, and community organizations put a big emphasis on holiday projects, and they can always use extra hands! There are many online platforms, like VolunteerMatch, that make it easy to find opportunities to help, no matter where you find yourself around America. A great side benefit to volunteering for the road warrior crowd is that it doubles as networking for the out-of-towner too. Doing good and meeting good people is a win/win in any season!
We hope this list gives ideas of how to make the most of this holiday season away from home. If you have other tips, we’d love to hear them! Send them to our Writing Team. We’ll do our best to cover them in future posts.
Do you want to give yourself a gift that keeps on giving all year? Check out our blog page to catch up on other advice about working away from home.