Williams Scotsman

Constructing a New Year

As 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to look forward to the new year.

Dodge Data Analytics forecast that global economic conditions are anticipated to remain sluggish but the US economy will continue to register moderate job growth. Lending standards are easing, market fundamentals for commercial real estate are improving and funding support from state and local construction bond measures is increasing. Total construction starts are forecast to advance 6 percent. Not overwhelming numbers, but encouraging enough as we kick-off the new year. 

What resolutions are you going to make on January 1 for positive change in 2016? Making resolutions is a universal response at this time. The idea of a fresh start is an appealing one to be sure and full of the very best intentions.

Some people might take a simplistic approach modeled on this:

For the more ambitious of us, consider the top 10 New Years’ resolutions:

1. Lose weight

2. Get organized

3. Spend less, save more

4. Enjoy life to the fullest

5. Staying fit and healthy

6. Learn something exciting

7. Quit smoking

8. Help others in their dreams

9. Fall in love

10. Spend more time with family 

Most of us have “been there, done that”. Let’s change things up and adapt these top resolutions to the workplace and our business goals for the year.

Lose weight. Get organized. Spend less and save more. The first three can be combined and tackled using the LEAN philosophy. Create more value for customers while using fewer resources. Improve operational performance in terms of customer satisfaction, cost, quality and delivery by focusing on the customer and eliminating waste, variability and inflexibility. Make sure the way you do business optimizes your people, your products, your equipment and your brand. 

Enjoy your life job to the fullest. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey, employed persons spend 8.9 hours on work and related activities per day. Do you really want to be unhappy almost 50 hours a week? We usually excel at things we like, so learn to love your job (if you don’t already). How? Career expert Paula Davis-Laack encourages people to incorporate their individual strengths into their job. Research suggests that people who do this are happier, experience less stress, are more confident, realize faster growth and development, and find more meaning at work.

Stay fit and healthy. On-the-job safety rules and regulations are created for a reason – they protect us. At WillScot for instance, the goal is for everyone to return to their families at the end of the work day the same or better than when they left for work in the morning. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 4,679 workers were killed on the job in 2014 — that’s an average of almost 90 deaths every week. Fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 17 percent of all fatal work injuries. This is an important resolution to keep if you want to be around to make more resolutions for 2017.

Learn something exciting. Take a good look at all the possibilities new technology is affording us. If you’re not utilizing some of them, you could be missing out on a lot of opportunities. BIM, 3D printers and the move to paperless environments can be intimidating, but there are so many long-term benefits to be gained. Embrace change instead of fighting it. 

Quit smoking. This can apply to breaking any old or bad habit or practice you or your business has. Sometimes doing things the same way you always have is not the best way to go. For instance, construction management software with document management capabilities can save companies thousands of dollars a year. You can write, process and submit RFDs, project updates, applications, LEED forms, invoices and contracts online. Save some trees in 2016.

Help others with their dreams. Externally, honoring commitments to customers helps them realize their dreams. Also, developing more products and services that make their life easier can contribute to their goals as well. Internally, a company can encourage employees to learn new techniques and new technologies to keep their current skills sharp and their future full of potential.

Fall in love. OK, this may be a stretch or possibly venture into the corny realm. Get to know your co-workers. Respect their contributions and realize everyone’s job is important. If you trust a company or a co-worker, you know you can depend on them. To create a solid structure, each Lego® has to connect to at least one other Lego.

Spend more time with your family. According to a 2015 Ernst & Young study, a third of full-time employees in some of the world’s largest economies say maintaining good work-life balance has become more difficult in the last five years. Here is another take from William Bauer, managing director of Royce Leather Gifts: “Work-life balance always has to take priority. The more my employees and I feel as though our lives are out of balance, the more likely we will pay a physical and emotional price — and so will our business.”

Not a believer in resolutions? Consider this approach by award-winning author Neil Gaiman: “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something.”

Happy New Year!

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