by Jim Hinshaw


So we are now in a new year, a new decade even, and we have a blank slate in front of us.  Or do we?  Seems like it was just a short while ago that we started down the Pandemic road, and it has moved off the radar and then back on with surprising speed.  I understand that your team may be tired of Zoom meetings, maybe ready to get back into the office, start high-fiving and hugging (remember those days?) again.  The most important part of the previous sentence was: may be tired.  I know I am tired of zoom meetings that are interrupted by weak internet.  Used to be we would have a couple of those meetings a week, now there are a couple each morning.  Keeping up with the calendar in this Covid era is tough.


My suggestion, the management team needs to spend time motivating and encouraging the members on a regular basis.  Matt Michel, the President and founder of Service Nation reaches out daily to the employees.  Every morning he posts a motivational message with a video clip and asks a question: tell me something good, what are you going to accomplish today, what are you happy about.  Those are just some of the questions he asked this week.  Because of the message and video, we all have a starting point on our day, gets us thinking in a positive way, and gets us started!  Critical in the “work from home” era, easy to get caught up in home problems, and the business can begin to slide, people can be less productive.


So this month/year/decade make a decision to be an encourager and motivator for your employees.  No matter if we are all in lockdown and still working from home or in the office on a limited basis, we still need motivation.  When I wrote this the Pandemic had taken an ugly turn, cases had exploded, and some states had set up new rules of engagement.  Make sure your team is on point with guidelines on how you are going to proceed this year.  I just had a chance to have some work done around the home, the same company that had gloved up and masked up 3 months ago did not this trip.  When I asked if they had masks with them, the reply was awkward, said no one seemed to need to wear masks anymore.  We may feel that way, but I am confident there are customers who are worried about who comes into the home and how they are protecting them, just as they were in April.


To that point, just spoke to one of our members who told me he had over 1200 maintenances that he could not run because they did not want him in the home.  We discussed ways to share with the customer that his company would take proper measures to protect the home and family inside the home as well as his own employees.   He needed to train his inside staff on how to handle that sort of response from their customers, and I believe that there are many who would not mind a maintenance on their system.  The opportunity is when they hear “don’t come” from several in a row, they paint all the customers with that same brush, just can’t get into homes today.  Don’t let that happen.


So this year, training your staff is more important than ever, and regardless of how the Pandemic is going, they need a system to stay productive in this economy.  Help them with that, and finally, be very thankful you are in an essential services industry, we are needed today.  The home has become an office and a school, lots of interest in keeping comfortable and healthy these days.


And in another subject, take some time to notice people around you that may be having a hard time.  We are blessed by being in essential services, just heard the airline industry is laying off approximately 45,000 employees next month, after 74,000 took early retirement.  The hotel industry is on the rocks, as are a lot of restaurants and bars.  So be on the lookout for those who may be a fit for our industry, there are a lot of good people out there, they may not be in our industry, but if you take the long view, and assume you will be in business a year or two from now, it may be a smart move to offer some of the furloughed people a helping hand and see if they could move into our industry.


And if this gets to you before Christmas, make this a healthy, happy Christmas filled with fun, food and as close to family time as is practical.


Thanks, we’ll talk later.