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Archive for the ‘Maintenance Tech’ Category

Painter’s World: Helping Your Teammates

You want to keep your job, right? And, you want to stay as productive as you can for as long as they can?

So do your teammates wherever you work. Whether they work in the same department as you, on in a different department.

HOW CAN YOU HELP TEAMMATES TO KEEP THEIR JOBS?

Ten Ways to Be a First-Rate Teammate

1. Keep your eyes and ears open.

2. Pay attention to the different way that a teammate is doing his or her job today, versus yesterday, last week, or a month ago. What’s going on with him or her?

A. Is he or she taking more work shortcuts?
B. Is he or she taking longer breaks?
C. Is he or she babying a certain part of the body – eg. right leg, left wrist?
D. Is he or she slacking off wherever or whenever possible?
E. Is he or she complaining about parts of the job that he or she used to enjoy?
F. Is he or she slipping in mini-breaks, in addition to the allowed 15 minute breaks AM and PM?

3. If your teammate shows signs of needing help:

A. Ask if it’s okay to give him or her a little help.
B. Or, lend a hand without saying a word, or without being asked.
Examples: Lifting a 50-pound bag of mulch, or carrying 5-gallon buckets of paint.

4. Cover his or her back, especially when he or she is going through rough times.

5. Offer to switch your holiday work schedule with a teammate that has children.

6. Show up with a cold bottled water, sandwich and snack when he or she is working alone on a major work order or task, or difficult project.

7. Offer to help a teammate troubleshoot on a time-consuming and stressful problem.

8. During a teammate’s vacation, try your best to keep up with his or her work orders, so he or she is not swamped upon their return.

9. Say “Please” and “Thanks” once in a while. And, always compliment each of your teammates whenever it is deserved.

10. Help make a departing teammate’s last day a really good day. Help throw him or her a little farewell party – even if you’re glad to see the person leave.

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Foremost, a painter is part of a team – and one cog in that BIGGER wheel.
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Thanks for checking out “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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Painter’s View: Maintenance Tech and Nurse Follow New Hospital Procedure

A local hospital has a new procedure for each floor nurse. Every hour, she or he must check on every patient under his or her care. Then, the nurse writes his or her initials in the appropriate “hour” space on a sheet of paper taped on the wall in each respective patient’s room.

 

Here’s what a relative observed…

 

  1. The nurse on each shift did enter the room and did initial the appropriate sheet(s) of paper.
  2. Some nurses at least glanced back in the direction of the patient’s bed before initialing the sheet of paper.
  3. Those same nurses were likely to actually speak to the patient during at least 50 percent of those quick log-in visits.
  4. The same shift nurses were likely to return promptly to the room and check on the patient’s welfare.
  5. The same shift nurses tended to extend patient care in empathetic, cheerful and thorough ways.

 

During the night, a hospital maintenance tech entered the room at the same time as a male nurse. Quietly, they chit-chatted while doing their respective jobs.

 

The maintenance tech checked on the operation and controls of the HVAC system. The nurse checked on the patient’s comfort level, bed, wall lighting fixture, etc.

 

Both men completed their tasks about the same time. They arranged to meet or coffee at break time.

 

Nurse Louis wrote his initials onto both sheets, taped onto the wall. Maintenance tech Juan pulled out a mobile device. He pushed a few buttons on the keyboard. Then he returned the phone to his pocket.

 

It turned out that Juan had a new procedure to follow, too. Each time that he left a work area, he had to log it into the engineering department’s daily data base.

 

Also, both men were originally from Puerto Rico. And, both were working at jobs they loved.

 

When I picked up the relative after dismissal one evening, Louis removed the I.V. and disconnected the mobile monitor. With great pride, he told me about the maintenance tech, Juan.

 

“Juan is the smartest, most honest man I know. And, the hardest worker. The best maintenance tech in America. Well, in Florida. He’s as good at his job as anyone with a big education and degrees. Like me.”

 

In those few words, Nurse Louis said a lot about himself, too. And, he revealed why he was among the few shift nurses that actually looked back and checked on his patient each time that he came along to initial each daily log on the wall.

 

Kudos to Maintenance Tech Juan and Nurse Louis.

 

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A man of merit on the job is a man of worth in any community.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

How Teamwork Cut a Hotel’s Expenses by over $120,000

The hotel management explained, versus announced, to all staff the “need” to cut expenses “across the board,” as much as $120,000.

 

To kick off the effort, all managers – salaried staff – volunteered to take a 10 percent reduction in salary. “To start.” In addition, they agreed to pay 50 to 100 percent of certain expenses “out-of-pocket,” and non-reimbursable later by the hotel business.

 

Examples: Vehicle gas for local driving, association membership dues, event registrations and meals, and business entertainment.

 

They opted to fly 100 percent coach seats for all hotel-related business travel. Also, they gave up their vacation and bonus packages for one full year.

 

Then, the entire staff got accountable, and very creative.

 

1. Each department set a goal to reduce its budget by $10,000.

 

2. Management and all department directors and supervisors agreed, committed to, and announced: “No staff member would be let go.”

 

3. Then, the staff members in each department voted themselves pay cuts: 50 cents an hour for part-time employees; $1.00 an hour for full-time. Like the management they gave up their vacation pay for one full year. (A big sacrifice for employees with families.)

 

4. Each staff member assumed responsibility for reducing his or her supplies budget by at least 10 percent. The supplies had to relate specifically to his or her job description. Also, management’s productivity expectations for staff members was set in proportion to the reduction in supplies and materials available for them to do their work.

 

Examples: Painter. The “paint shop” expense reduction goal: 25 percent.

A. Less expensive paint would be ordered and used for low traffic and less visible areas.

B. Used rags still in good condition would be soaked, laundered and reused.

C. Worn, essential brushes would be replaced with mid-brand products – eg. Linzer, Branford, Arro Worthy, Merrit, Bestt Liebco, Proform. Worn, rarely used brushes would be replaced on an as needed basis during the tight budget year.

       Note: Read “Paint with Budget Cuts: Your Paint Shop Brushes,” posted March 07, 2015.

 

Examples: Maintenance techs. Maintenance shop” expense reduction goal: 15 percent.

A. All recyclable parts, from no-longer usable air conditioners, would be removed, cleaned, catalogued, and stored for making future repairs.

B. Parts, which were tarnished or mildly corroded, were cleaned instead of replaced.

C. Some parts were painted and reused, until replacement parts could be budgeted.

 

5. Each department group launched a “team support” program.

A. Whenever possible, team members shared rides to and from work.

B. Staff that were parents, especially of younger children, created a plan to save each other babysitter and transportation costs.

 

6. A related “Share My Ride” program was implemented interdepartmentally.

Example: Keisha, a housekeeping supervisor, picked up and dropped off PBX operator Elsa at her apartment complex’s front entrance, on days that both worked the same shift.

 

7. Departments shared supplies, tools and equipment whenever and wherever possible. This practice reduced overall purchasing expenses by 15 to over 20 percent with some essential items.

 

8. Monthly, each department hosted its own “carry-in” lunch. During every shift.

 

9. The hotel kitchen sent no good food to the dumpster. Especially leftovers or over-cooking from guest/conference banquets, dinners, buffets, etc.

A. The leftover food was made available to all staff members at meal and break times.

B. Depending on the quantity of leftover food, staff could pack “doggie boxes” to take home at the end of their shift.

 

The hotel management incurred no major problem – and no resistance – from any department or any staff member in meeting the budget cut needs.

 

Everyone pulled together to make it all happen. They protected their own jobs and livelihoods by helping to protect each other’s jobs.

 

They focused on need. They prioritized. They got very creative.

 

Two Engineering Department examples:

 

  1. A maintenance tech attended a technical college two evenings a week. To catch his connecting bus, he had to clock out one hour earlier those afternoons. A coworker passed the college on his way home each day. So, he offered the tech a ride to the college’s front entrance. The tech was able to work his full eight-hour shift, and could afford to pay a few dollars to the coworker for the rides each week.

 

  1. The painter generated free supplies from construction supply and paint stores where he did business. Also, he tapped the superintendents of several large commercial contractors that he knew. In kind, he arranged for the store managers to be able to (1) test out a few new product and equipment lines at the hotel and (2) videotape the new products being used. The construction superintendents received comp stays for their families at the hotel.

 

Hotel budget cuts provide a great opportunity for teamwork in action. At its best! And, at every level: organizationally, interdepartmentally, departmentally.

 

It invites tremendous creativity, collaboration and cooperation on a small-to-large scale. Most important, at a particularly stressful time, team-driven hotel budget cuts bring people together.

 

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An early “HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY” to all ye Irish lads and lassies.

A special “Hello” to everyone in the Chicago area.

 

Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: Upcoming Mini Blogs for Hotel and Facility Painters

 

1. Fences and Gates

 

A. Cleaning Agents

B. Prepping: Metal/anodized tubing vs.

C. Coatings: Low cost, low coverage, low durability vs. higher cost, much greater coverage, superb durability!

 

2. Skylights

 

A. Temperature variations

B. Surfaces

C. Atmosphere – eg. air

D. Problems: Leaks, paint cracks, mold/mildew, moisture

E. Preps

F. Paints/coatings – eg. durable oil-based

 

3. KidSuites and Children’s Rooms

 

A. Designs/themes that kids wants

B. Fun atmospheres

C. Colors appealing to kids

 

4. Children’s Play and Activity Areas

 

A. Designs using animation, cartoons, surreal images

B. Pastel paint colors

 

5. Game Rooms

 

A. Wall colors conducive to activity – not distracting

B. Special effects

C. Simulations

 

6. Teen Clubs and Computer Rooms

 

A. Colors that teens want

B. Special effects

C. Very TECH-Y

 

7. Front Desk and Reception Areas

 

A. First impression of hotel – and people that work there

B. Unique  applications, products, colors, effects

C. Hotel theme colors

 

8. Lobbies and Concierge Centers

 

A. High-end applications – eg. high-quality wallcoverings

B. Decorative finishes

C. Custom materials, textures, colors

D. Consistent finishes, colors throughout areas

 

 9. Guest Connectivity and Communication Centers

 

A. HIGH-LIGHT colors

B. Accent walls

 

10. Indoor and Outdoor Gardens and Rest Areas

 

A. Colors best suited – Complementary-to-au naturale

B. Walking trails – Colors of paint/stain and varnish on benches, signage,etc.

C. Seating areas – Paint vs. wood stains and varnishes

 

11. Pool and Spa Areas

 

A. Problems: High-moisture, high-exposure, high-sun

B. Paint colors

C. Paint types: Oil-based vs. epoxy

D. Gazebo – Colors, tints, special effects, “blend-ins,” etc.

E. Pool Huts – Colors, textures, accents, reflectives

 

12. Outdoor Recreation and Sports Areas

 

A. Special needs: lines, symbols, signage, striping

B. Durability  and environmental exposure

C. Graphics and “planned graffiti”

D. Special colors/blends

 

13. Restaurants, Clubs and Pubs

 

A. Creating atmosphere using color, texture, “overlays,” etc.

B. Murals and scenic

C. Complementing other elements, surfaces, finishes

D. Themes

E. Cozy and relaxing vs. earthy vs. energetic vs. romantic vs. pure luxury!

 

 

14. Food Courts and Snack Bars
A. Colors – Brights, subtle touches

B. Graphic designs

C. Geometrics

D. Illustrations

 

 

15. Theatres and Entertainment Areas

 

A. Colors that complement

B. Low-dim-dark lighting ranges

C. Wall carpeting

D. Problems with paints

E. Wood finishing

F. Toning down other surfaces – eg. chrome, fabric, flooring

Painting In: Company Policy, Common Sense and Common Courtesy: Part 1

Scenario:
A person – let’s say a painter – leaves his or her employment with a company.

 

Whatever the circumstance, it is standard company policy for any former employee to separate physically from the business, organization, people there, and property.

 

It is standard company policy that a former employee not return onto the property except:

 

  1. for a business reason that requires their physical return;
  2. for an occasional, brief visit – one to two times a year maximum;
  3. by invitation – eg. for a departmental party or cook-out;
  4. to “apply in person” for a job opening;
  5. for a job interview;
  6. to return – a rehire – to work there.

 

 

By the way, any and all returns should be cleared, in advance, with the hotel or facility general manager, or front office. That’s called “respect” or “common courtesy.”

 

It is common sense for a former employee to stay away from the business, organization and people. That gives everyone involved the time and space needed to:

 

  1. yes, mourn the departed employee’s loss;
  2. accept the person’s absence from the team, and the group; and
  3. adjust to the changes necessary because of the person’s departure from the organization.

 

It is common courtesy for a former employee to remain off the property, and away from the organization, except for any of the six reasons given above. This gives the replacement the best opportunity possible to assimilate into his or her new position.

 

He or she needs, and deserves, the opportunity to succeed. The replacement – new employee – has a job to do there.

 

  1. He or she needs to learn the ropes within the department, also interdepartmentally and organizationally.
  2. He or she needs to adjust and tweak his or her skills, abilities and resources to meet the unique needs of the new property – and employer.
  3. He or she needs to be welcomed properly by his new teammates and bosses.
  4. He or she needs to find his or her place on the team, and how to fit in!
  5. He or she needs to establish a reliable communication and negotiation system with his or her supervisor, other department directors, and managers.
  6. He or she needs to build teammate relationships and organizational friendships – at all levels – that are mutually beneficial, supportive and gratifying.
  7. He or she needs to find unique ways to contribute to the organization and the business.
  8. He or she needs to participate in and belong to the company family.

 

 

When a former employee stays off the property, and stays separated from the company, he or she benefits, too. He or she has the best opportunity to succeed autonomously.

 

  1. He or she can mourn the job loss, with the attention and respect it deserves.
  2. He or she can look back and gain a clear perspective of his or her total employment experience – and work life – there.
  3. He or she can reflect, objectively and subjectively, on past achievements, contributions and also unmet goals.
  4. He or she can rest in the present, and both assess and appreciate his current skills and abilities, accrued knowledge, creative talents, aspirations, and place in the world of employability.
  5. He or she can plan for the future. The person can create a plan that (a) respects that person’s work ethic and set of values; (b) offers opportunities for changes, growth and doing well; and (c) fulfills the greater need to feel like the person fits in and belongs, contributes, and can do more good.

 

When my grandfather retired from the ministry, he left a parish where he and my grandmother were totally respected, and deeply loved. In leaving, he announced to the consistory and congregation that he and Grandmother would be “staying away” from the church parish for one full year. Why?

 

“To give the new man a chance,” he explained to everyone concerned. (And, others that asked!)

 

Grandfather knew that it would be a major challenge for the successor to fill his pastoral shoes. He knew that it would be a bigger challenge for “the new man” to establish his own place – his own identity – in the church and in the community. To fit in and to belong!

 

Grandfather kept his pledge, and promise. Yes, he and Grandmother maintained their closest personal friendships with a few individuals and couples in the church. (They had retired there, their home community for over 25 years.)

 

Still, they refrained from having any communications and activities that may have, even indirectly, made “life uncomfortable and difficult for the new man.”

 

As a result, the new man sought Grandfather’s counsel on a regular basis. And, the two clergy became trusted friends, strong supporters of each other, and professional confidantes.

 

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POINTS TO PONDER:

1. Have you ever been a “former employee?” Did you follow standard company policy after your departure?

2. Did you exercise common sense about your former employer, teammates/coworkers, and organization – and their circumstance?

3. Did you practice common courtesy toward your former teammates/coworkers, former managers, and former employer, as well as your replacement?

4. Have you ever been working where and when a former employee showed up repeatedly on the property?  For years? How did you handle the situation each time?

5. How well was the company policy, including security rules, followed by all current employees and managers, including you? By the former employee? By the business owners?

 

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“In the long haul, it pays to follow company policy, exercise common sense, and practice common courtesy – and help others do the same.”

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Painting It: A Multi-Family “Home for the Homeless.”

A church congregation purchased a 210-room, two-story hotel that was headed into foreclosure. Most of the property was in reasonably good condition.

 

Mission: Provide safe, clean “transitional-to-permanent” rooms for local homeless persons. The small restaurant on the property would be converted into main kitchen, and central dining area. The food court would be removed.

 

Immediate goal: Clean, repair and renovate the property to meet local codes, and to pass regular health and safety inspections.

 

Volunteers manned the entire project. Five groups of construction people worked on repairing and renovating the property to qualify for multi-family, private, non-profit housing.

 

Group 1. A retired architect volunteered his firm’s design/build capabilities. He did the renderings, and put the plan on paper. Two student interns handled the blueprinting, CAD, schematics, etc.

 

Group 2. An area construction project management company oversaw the project.

 

Group 3. Two church members served as co-general contractors. They handled the actual remodeling of the two buildings, including repairs and replacements, and the reconfiguration of the hotel rooms into efficiency apartments, minus kitchens.

 

Group 4. Local certified trades persons did much of the code-compliant work. They included: environmental remediation/mitigation specialists, carpenters and framers, drywallers, plumbers, electricians, heating/air conditioning specialists, insulation specialists, mechanical systems specialists, roofers, pool specialists, etc.

 

Group 5. Certified craftspersons handled interior and exterior surface repairs, prepping, and finishing. They included: painters and decorators, finishers, glazers; tile and carpet installers, landscapers and nursery experts, pavers, etc.

 

A church member’s son – one of the general contractors for the project – brought me on board. While in college, he had worked summers at the hotel. Bringing a new life – and fresh purpose – to the hotel was a labor of love for him. His “in-kind” donation to the community that had nurtured him from childhood into adulthood.

 

I had five bosses, simultaneously. And all of them worked as volunteers.

 

Employer 1. Church consistory, representing the congregation.

 

My job: Match church’s painting and decorating wishes to the property’s project needs. Help select a color scheme that was “restful”. . .”harmonious”. . .”cheerful”. . .”appealing to the average person.”

 

Employer 2. Architect.

 

My job: Read the blueprints. Using renderings for each area, match the color chips for paints, stains and finishes for all surfaces. Make color-coded order lists of products and materials. Estimate the quantities for each, adding 20 percent allowance for most items, as much as 50 percent for others. Help the interns develop painting and decorating spec sheets.

 

Employer 3.  Construction project management company superintendent.

 

My job: Help select project painters. Help the lead painter to (a) comparison cost-out and order all paint, materials and supplies, and tools not standardly a part of commercial painter’s tool kit; (b) set up written work assignments for each painting and finishing crew; (c) establish flexible duty schedule; and, (d) help identify and set up “in-kind” donations of paint-related products, materials, supplies, tools, and equipment.

 

Employer 4. Co-General contractors.

 

My job: Help “generals” put together painting and decorating prospectus. Help “generals” determine the needed painter and allied trades’ skill sets.

 

Employer 5. Hotel management.

 

My job: Help identify team members interested in future employment with the non-profit housing limited liability corporation. My assigned departmental list included: facilities/maintenance, groundskeeping, housekeeping, and outdoor activity areas.

 

None of my “jobs” required me to do any actual ordering and purchasing; and/or prepping, priming, painting, and finishing of any surface. The “employers” used local people to fill the spots in Groups 4 and 5 above.

 

At least one-third of the volunteer workers in Group 4 had been homeless. Nearly one-half in Group 5 were homeless.

 

One feature of the working arrangements for Groups 4 and 5 workers that had been homeless: They were given first-choice, priority residency in the complex once it was opened for occupancy.

 

On December 20, 2014, the complex will celebrate its one year anniversary. Everyone that worked on the project, located in the southeastern part of the United States, gained many things from the experience.

 

The greatest reward for the project’s volunteer leaders and craftspersons: Seeing over 52 homeless workers walk in those front doors, and watch them being escorted – individually – to their new homes.

 

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Read about “Symphony Sam” in the true-story, co-written blog to be posted on December 22-23, 2014.  An excerpt:

 

“My mother told me recently about Symphony Sam.’ That’s the name she gave the homeless man that played virtuoso-quality music on his violin, in Chicago’s Pedway. And, handed out free copies of the official Vietnam Veterans of America newspaper. . .”

 

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Have a friends-family-fun-filled holiday season.

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

A Painter Walks in an Engineering Chief’s Shoes – and Sees from His View!

Following a recent interview with a facility’s chief engineer, I had the opportunity to meet the hotel’s general manager. He was a twenty-five year plus veteran in hotel administration and operations.

 

One might have assumed that he was inflexible – resistant to change. That would have been an unfair assumption.

 

Within minutes, he started to fire “what if” situations at me with lightning speed and engineering exactness. It was obvious that he was seriously interested in acting upon any suggestion that was do-able there.

 

I’d done my homework previous to keeping the appointment. Also, I’d walked around the property for over forty-five minutes the day before. Eyeing things up close, and further away.

 

Still, how many hotel general managers possess that level of interest in looking at something from a painter’s point of view? Generally, don’t they leave that to the head of engineering or facilities?

 

How many GMs possess any more than a basic level of understanding of a painter’s job? Or, want to know more?

 

A week after the interview, that hotel’s chief engineer phoned. At 7:30 at night. He said that the hotel had withdrawn the posted painter job. He explained why.

 

“Well, Bob, several of your suggestions made so much sense that the GM sat down with me after you left.”

 

He said that they would be acting on one suggestion that same week. He added that he and the GM had come up with a plan to keep their painter right there. And, to keep him happy, healthy and safe!

 

“We want to thank you. Let us know if we can return the favor. You’re welcome here any time.”

 

Periodically, I read online articles and blogs about leadership. Most are factual and fair. A few are harsh, and paint a shaded picture of our leaders today. Many of these same writings lean in favor of the persons that do the “grunt work.” Employees like I. That’s great as long as the shoe fits.

 

One size never fits all. And, as most of my experience with leaders has shown, it helps to stand in their shoes. At least once. Even for a few minutes. And, to view a situation from their vantage point.

 

I must say that it sure felt great when that five-star hotel GM did that for a member of his team – a member of my “painter” trade. Many thanks!

 

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Have you ever walked in your boss’s shoes? Try it!

Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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