10 Ways to make your Office more Efficient

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1. Don’t be afraid to delegate

You are losing money and precious time each day the files pile on top of your desk. Be sure to clearly define goals and objectives to your employees. Educate your employees on your expectations. Give responsibilities to qualified employees, and trust that they will perform the tasks well. This gives your employees the opportunity to gain skills and leadership experience that will ultimately benefit your company.

2. Match tasks to skills

Knowing your employees’ skills and behavioural styles is essential for maximizing efficiency. Asking your employees to be great at everything just isn’t efficient, instead, before giving an employee an assignment, ask yourself, is this the person best suited to perform this task? If not, find someone else whose skills and styles matches your needs.

3.Communicate effectively

Every manager knows that communication is the key to a productive workforce. An age-old aphorism goes, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” Good communication is what separates a poor leader from an exceptional one. When you communicate well with your team it helps eliminate misunderstandings and can encourage a healthy and peaceful work environment. Some examples of communicating effectively would be communication via training; having open meetings; listen to your team members; use visuals like presentations; display confidence and seriousness; act out your message; be humorous; encourage feedback and be appreciative.

4.Keep goals clear and focused

Everyone and every business needs goals. Make sure yours are S-M-A-R-T ones…

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Relevant
T – Time-based

Monitor and measure your progress by conducting quarterly reviews. This will help to keep your team on target and working together. Be flexible and open to adapting to the situation as some goals will no longer be relevant or achievable. Try to keep them realistic and reasonable.

5. Incentivize employees

Most people agree that receiving money is a good incentive to work harder and stay motivated. There are however people who prefer to be recognized in a different way. It costs nothing but goes a long way with employees to hear how well they are doing. Practice boosting morale with words of encouragement and by catching people doing things right. Another way that won’t cost the earth is a brag board. Mention the employee’s good work in a place where everyone can see it. Printing certificates of achievements that the employee can put on their desk, in their office or cubicle. Throwing a staff lunch

6. Cut out unhealthy stress

Studies show that excess stress can cause real physical symptoms like headaches, upset stomach, increased blood pressure, chest pain and trouble sleeping. Not to mention mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Of course, not all stress is created equal. A certain amount of healthy stress in the workplace is actually a good thing. Here are a few points on how to relieve unhealthy stress at work: Form positive relationships; start exercising; eat healthy nutritious foods; get enough sleep; prioritize and organize, and kick bad habits.

7. Train and develop employees

Employees are a company’s biggest asset and investing in talent is vital to sustainable business growth and success. Boredom in the workplace can create feelings of dissatisfaction and negative working habits. Regular development initiatives can prevent workplace idleness. Having frequent training will also establish regular re-evaluation of employees, skills and processes.

8. Give each other feedback

Employees and managers the world over dread the ritual of performance reviews. We save up our comments and document all the things we note about a person’s performance and then, like a big cat ready to pounce, the manager calls in the hapless employee to spring a year’s worth of “constructive criticism” onto him or her. When done the right way with the right intentions, feedback can lead to outstanding performance. Employees have to know what they are doing well and not so well, carefully and frequently. When done the right way with the right intentions, feedback can lead to outstanding performance.

9. Think Big picture

Looking at the BIG picture involves trying to see the entire scope of a task. This can be a tactical way to obtain a full sense or understanding of things. Sometimes the big picture can seem overwhelming so by breaking it down you avoid worry, procrastination or even disengaging completely from the task. Ways to help would be to block your time by using a calendar or create an itinerary. Consider a realistic and thorough overview of the situation. Think positively about the path you’ll have to take to get there and be confident. Figure out skills you can use or need to develop. The sooner you begin to identify what skills you need the sooner you’ll gain forward momentum.

10. Ethics & Honesty

An article in Forbes states: “Companies find that ethical business practices increase their competitiveness in their respective industries, helping to further substantiate the notion that a culture of ethics is crucial to sustainable excellence.” Sometimes the moral fibre of society and the blind ambition of some leaders will not even consider the two most important traits essential to making a decision: honesty and ethics. Honesty builds trust, one of the most critical elements of solid leadership. It is displayed and built on personal behaviour, the quality of decisions and open and honest communication.

 

Sources:
Forbes
CourseHero
Smallbiztrends
TheHartford
Kazoohr
Snacknation
Getsmarter
MindTools
Creativitypost
Bizjournals

 


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Demolition

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Demolition

Demolition is the destruction, knocking down, pulling down, tearing down, flattening, razing, levelling, bulldozing, clearance, obliteration and annihilation of buildings and other man-made structures, however, it has been known that when one is stricken with immense hunger, one can demolish a whole pizza in one sweep.

Demolition contrasts with deconstruction, which involves taking a building apart while carefully preserving valuable elements for re-use purposes.

Demolition Plan:
For small buildings, such as houses, that are only two or three stories high, demolition is a rather simple process.
The building is pulled down either manually or mechanically using large hydraulic equipment: Elevated work platforms, Cranes, Bulldozers, Backhoe Loaders & Hydraulic Excavators.

 

Backhoe Loaders

Basic workhorse machine that allows for multiple attachments.
Short reach machines.
Can work in moderately small areas

Hydraulic Excavators

They provide for longer reach and power.
A step up from the backhoe.

 

 

Larger buildings may require the use of a wrecking ball, a heavy weight on a cable that is swung by a crane into the side of the buildings. Wrecking balls are especially effective against masonry but are less easily controlled and often less efficient than other methods. Newer methods may use rotational hydraulic shears…

Used for cutting steel, cable and rebar and silenced rock-breakers attached to excavators to cut or break through wood, steel, and concrete. The use of shears is especially common when flame cutting would be dangerous.

For larger buildings or structures, however, it is imperative to make sure there is a plan in place. One thing about construction projects is that just as they went up, someday they must come down.

When that day arrives and the building has become unsafe or just seen better days, it’s time to call in the demolition experts.

First they need to assess your needs as there are many different factors involved in a building demolition and several different ways to go about it. Once your needs are determined, a plan is created. The plan will include how the demolition is to be carried out as well as all the equipment that will be used to do it. The ultimate goal is to get the building demolished in the safest and most efficient way possible. These decisions will depend on the size of the building, the building materials, the reason for the demolition and the location of the building.

Some methods that will be considered include:

1. Implosion

Large buildings like the World Trade Centre, tall chimneys, smokestacks, bridges, and increasingly some smaller structures may be destroyed by building implosion using explosives or terrorist trained pilots. Imploding a structure is very fast—the collapse itself only takes seconds—and an expert can ensure that the structure falls into its own footprint so as not to damage neighbouring structures. This is essential for tall structures in dense urban areas.

Any error can be disastrous, however, and some demolitions have failed, severely damaging neighboring structures. One significant danger is from flying debris, which, when improperly prepared for, can kill onlookers.

Another dangerous scenario is the partial failure of an attempted implosion. When a building fails to collapse completely the structure may be unstable, tilting at a dangerous angle, and filled with un-detonated but still primed explosives, making it difficult for workers to approach safely. A third danger comes from air overpressure that occurs during the implosion. Stephanie Kegley described shock waves by saying, “The shock wave is like a water hose. If you put your hand in front of the water as it comes out, it fans to all sides.” When cloud coverage is below 1,200 feet, it reacts like the hand in front of the hose. The wave from the shock fans out, instead of up toward the sky. If the sky is clear, the shock wave, a wave of energy and sound, travels upwards and disperses, but if cloud coverage is low, the shock wave can travel outwards, breaking windows or causing other damage to surrounding buildings.

Controlled implosion, being spectacular, is the method that the general public often thinks of when discussing demolition; however, it can be dangerous and is only used as a last resort when other methods are impractical or too costly

2. Deconstruction

A new approach to demolition is the deconstruction of a building with the goal of minimizing the amount of materials going to landfills. This “green” approach is applied by removing the materials by type material and segregating them for reuse or recycling. With proper planning this approach has resulted in landfill diversion rates that exceed 90% of an entire building and its contents in some cases. It also vastly reduces the CO2 emissions of the removing of a building in comparison to demolition.
Timber waste can be shredded using specialist timber shredders and composted, or used to form manufactured timber boards, such as MDF or chipboard.

3. Selective Demolition

This is used rather than flattening structures in one fell swoop which maximizes efficiency by reducing waste, repurposing reusable materials, and lessening environmental impact. This approach works hand in hand with Deconstruction.

Carrying out the plan
Once the plan is set, the demolition company will know the method, the equipment that’s necessary, the approximate cost, how much debris there will be, how it will be dispersed at the site and how long it will take to clean up. Back up plans and emergency plans will also be part of the overall demolition plan. After the plan has been finalised the company must get all necessary permits so they are safe when the demolition is carried out.

Like any job before the fun stuff begins there’s the preparation work that needs to be done and so site preparation is just as important as the demolition itself. The building must be completely cleaned out of the utilities like gas, water and electricity as well as the removal of hazardous materials.

After it’s all planned, legal aspects are covered and the site is ready, the demolition is scheduled and carried out. To some people seeing a building demolished is a thing of beauty.

The co-ordination and expertise that goes into pulling it off just right is truly staggering. In a lot of ways the building going down isn’t really an ending but a new beginning…

 

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demolition
https://theconstructor.org/structures/demolition-methods-process-buildings-structures/13941/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backhoe_loader
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excavator

 

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My name is Helga Venter. I started with the company in 2004 and was promoted to Financial Director in 2007.

Did you Know #DYK: The most extravagant greenhouses / buildings

posted in: Did You Know 2

The most extravagant greenhouses / buildings

The most extravagant greenhouses / buildings

Before we look at the largest and most extravagant greenhouses I think we need to cover what a greenhouse is. A Greenhouse is a structure with walls and roof made chiefly of transparent material, such as glass, in which plants requiring regulated climatic conditions are grown. These structures range in size from small sheds to industrial-sized buildings.

The idea of growing plants in environmentally controlled areas has existed since Roman times. In the 13th century, greenhouses were built in Italy to house the exotic plants that explorers brought back from the tropics. Greenhouses in which the temperature could be manually manipulated first appeared in 15th century Korea. The concept of greenhouses also appeared in the Netherlands and then England in the 17th century, along with the plants. Today the Netherlands has many of the largest greenhouses in the world, some of them so vast that they are able to produce millions of vegetables every year.

The golden era of the greenhouse was in England during the Victorian era where the largest greenhouses yet conceived were constructed, as the wealthy upper class and aspiring botanists competed to build the most elaborate buildings. A good example of this trend is the pioneering Kew Gardens.

   

Kew Gardens is a botanical garden in Southwest London that houses the “largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world”. Founded in 1840, from the exotic garden in Kew Park, UK, its living collections include more than 30,000 different kinds of plants while the herbarium, which is one of the largest in the world, has over seven million preserved plant specimens. The library contains more than 750,000 volumes, and the illustrations collection contains more than 175,000 prints and drawings of plants. It is one of London’s top tourist attractions and is a World Heritage Site.

 

A Conservatory is a building or room having glass or tarpaulin roofing and walls used as a greenhouse or a sunroom. If in a residence, it would typically be attached to the house on only one side. Conservatories originated in the 16th century when wealthy landowners sought to cultivate citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges that began to appear on their dinner tables brought by traders from warmer regions of the Mediterranean. Municipal conservatories became popular in the early 19th century.

A traditional conservatory at the Horniman Museum in London.

 

In the UK the legal definition of a conservatory is a building that has at least 50% of its side wall area glazed and at least 75% of its roof glazed with translucent materials, either polycarbonate sheeting or glass. Today the terms sunroom, solarium and conservatory are used interchangeably by the public, but in general, the term conservatory and particularly English conservatory evoke the image of an ornate structure, echoing the traditions of that Victorian era of conservatory building.

 

Anthaeum, Hove built in 1830 with the world’s largest dome, was an iron and glass conservatory planned by English botanist and landscape gardener Henry Phillips and designed by architect Amon Henry Wilds on land owned by Sir Isaac Goldsmid in Hove, Sussex. Conceived on a grand scale and consisting of a gigantic cupola-topped dome covering more than 1.5 acres, the structure was intended to enclose a carefully landscaped tropical garden, with exotic trees and shrubs, lakes, rockeries and other attractions. Disagreements between the architect, the project engineer and the building contractor led to structural problems being overlooked or ignored, though, and the day before it opened the Anthaeum collapsed spectacularly in 1833.

 

Adelaide’s Bicentennial Conservatory was constructed in 1987 and opened in late 1989. The building was designed by local architect Guy Maron and has won awards for its design, engineering and landscaping. It is 100 metres long, 47 metres wide and 27 metres high making it the largest single span conservatory in the southern hemisphere. The conservatory houses at risk or endangered tropical rainforest plants from northern Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and South Pacific Islands.

 

Adelaide’s Bicentennial Conservatory

 

Although there are lists of spectacular glass houses or conservatories, the Palm House at Schönbrunn Palace Park in Vienna takes the cake as the largest glass house in continental Europe. It is 111 metres long, 28 metres wide and 25 metres high composed of 45,000 sheets of glass. It is also among the largest botanical exhibits of its kind in the world, with around 4,500 plant species. Devised by designer Franz von Segenschmid and constructed by metal worker Ignaz Gridl in the 1880s, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

 

Palm House at Schönbrunn Palace Park

 

No matter how extravagant the building or greenhouse the importance of greenhouses still remains. Greenhouses allow for greater control over the growing environment of plants. Greenhouses may be used to overcome shortcomings in the growing qualities of a piece of land, such as a short growing season or poor light levels, and they can thereby improve food production in marginal environments. Greenhouses are also increasingly important in the food supply of high-latitude countries, as they may enable certain crops to be grown throughout the year.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kew_Gardens

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmenhaus_Sch%C3%B6nbrunn

http://greenarea.me/en/109899/the-importance-of-greenhouses/

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About Helga Venter

My name is Helga Venter. I started with the company in 2004 and was promoted to Financial Director in 2007.