5 Tips for Businesses to Cut Energy, Save Money

Brandpoint  |  2015-12-03

(BPT) - Companies across the nation are looking for ways to become more energy efficient, and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are no exception. Reducing energy consumption is one of the top areas where SMB leaders need more guidance — up 14 percent from the previous year, according to the 2015 Cox Conserves Sustainability Survey.

Energy costs are among the largest business expenses for any company. Simple conservation efforts will go a long way to lower the power costs of your current operations.

"More companies than ever have said they want information on sustainability," says Cox Enterprises Executive Vice President Alex Taylor. "Our survey showed that some SMBs often find it difficult to make or justify the investment in sustainability programs or prioritize them over other demands and initiatives. From our own experience with the Cox Conserves program, I can confirm that sustainability is as good for our business as it is for the environment."

Here are some quick tips that can help any sized business improve efficiency and cost savings.

  1. Know your baseline. Your utility company can provide detailed usage records that show usage and cost totals, as well as helpful details like peak usage times. This data helps you measure your progress.

  2. Take advantage of savings. Government agencies offer a variety of tax credits, rebates and other incentives to support energy efficiency. Visit energy.gov/savings to find programs that may be available to your business.

  3. Pay attention. Take note of the natural energy sources specific to your geographic location. Sun or wind energy technologies may be great money-saving solutions. If the sun sufficiently lights your office or meeting room, make a point of keeping the blinds open and the electric lights off.

  4. Look at lighting. Lighting retrofits are a simple and effective solution that do not interrupt regular operations and often offer a short return on investment.

  5. Encourage employees. Turning off computers and other office equipment when not in use is an easy way employees can make an impact.

These tips can start your business on a journey toward becoming a more efficient and eco-friendly organization. The benefits start at protecting the earth and extend to enhancing the bottom line.

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Workers Say a Good Cup of Coffee Can Make Entire Workday Better

NewsUSA  |  2015-11-25

(NewsUSA) - If you want to make your workday a bit better, just turn to coffee. That's according to a survey where coffee was identified as key to securing some of offices' best business deals, improving networking and giving office workers a feeling of being at their best.

In fact, the recent survey conducted by Harris Poll and Keurig Green Mountain showed that of the 843 adults who were interviewed (presumably around the coffee machine), 89 percent said a good cup of coffee makes their entire workday even better.

"Clearly, coffee plays an important role in our society and means so much more than just taking a break from work," says Nicole Williams, Career Expert and founder of WORKS. "It has become a way of bringing individuals together, for colleagues to brainstorm or collaborate, to interact with your boss in a more casual way or even spark one's own creativity."

Without their daily cup of joe, coffee drinkers can feel a range of negative emotions -- exhausted (36 percent), irritable (35 percent), unproductive (30 percent), disorganized (20 percent) or forgetful (14 percent). The data only re-enforced Keurig's take that coffee has a variety of surprising social and professional benefits, which is why the company took on a new challenge -- to brew a better carafe of coffee, faster. With its new BOLT System, Keurig believes it has changed the way coffee is brewed in the workplace.

The company challenged its engineers to come up with something nearly everyone in the office will appreciate -- a system that brews a better pot of coffee with no mess in two minutes. What came of the collaboration between the mechanical and electrical engineers and software team was a system that could brew 64 ounces of delicious fresh coffee, faster than ever before -- which may be a huge boon for office workers' productivity.

"The next time you plan a big meeting, go one step further by making a large carafe for everyone in the room," says Williams. "Almost half of office workers who drink coffee agree that coffee has been the key to making some of their office's best business deals happen. The more time and effort you put into planning a great meeting, the better your team will appreciate you and the task at hand."

To learn more about the future of office coffee, visit keurig.com/Bolt.

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Waste and Recycling Jobs: Opportunities Are Plentiful

NewsUSA  |  2015-11-20

(NewsUSA) - Trade and technical positions are the bright, shining stars of the economy these days. They don't require a college degree, do provide the opportunity for a meaningful career, and they often pay very well.

One industry, in particular, shines brightest among those hiring these positions: America's waste and recycling business.

"These are great careers," says Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of the National Waste & Recycling Association. "We do a real service for residents and business owners alike. And business is growing!"

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of waste and recycling collectors is expected to grow significantly over the next seven years. Between 2012 and 2022, more than 21,000 jobs are expected to be created -- a 16-percent growth rate.

In 2012, the median annual pay for truck drivers was about $38,000. With overtime, experienced waste and recycling drivers can earn much, much more. Some workers in various cities make upwards of $100,000 when you factor in overtime. And, most jobs in the field offer generous benefits and possibilities for upwards mobility.

Driving a refuse truck generally requires a commercial driver's license; however, companies are happy to train new recruits.

"The advantages of driving a waste or recycling vehicle are significant: the hours are regular and predictable, the job is local, and it pays well," Kneiss said. "Plus there's job security: We're always going to need good drivers."

But the opportunities in the waste and recycling industry don't end there. Mechanics and welders who work on the industry's fleet are also in significant demand.

For example, the BLS reports that the 2012 median pay for a diesel mechanic was more than $42,000 per year and that the total number of jobs across all industries was expected to grow by 9 percent from 2012 to 2022 -- more than 21,000 additional positions.

There are both formal and informal diesel mechanic training programs. In some cases, the company will train you. But there are also a number of programs offered by vocational schools, community colleges and adult education programs.

In addition, mechanics qualified to work on compressed natural gas engines would do well to investigate the waste and recycling industry: It has one of the largest CNG truck fleets in the U.S.

To learn more about opportunities in the waste and recycling industry, go to http://beginwiththebin.org/jobs.

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Workplace Ergonomics for Today's Economy

NewsUSA  |  2015-11-19

(NewsUSA) - We've heard a lot about "workplace ergonomics" in recent years, but with the economy changing -- more people are working from home, whether by choice or their employers' decisions to "go virtual," -- maybe it's time to acknowledge the obvious: It's just as easy to injure yourself no matter where you physically work.

Think about it: When it comes to a wide range of musculoskeletal injuries caused by stress to the joints from repetitive tasks, overuse of muscles and poor posture, what's the difference if you're slumping in front of an office computer or a home laptop? Or lifting heavy cartons onto the back of a delivery truck or your closet shelf?

As the Society for Human Resource Management advises: "Employees who work from home or travel for work should be taught to assess their ad-hoc workplaces for ergonomic risks."

If you are hurting, doctors of chiropractic - who have a minimum of seven years of higher education -- focus on structure and function. They care for pain syndromes with a drug-free approach that includes spinal manipulation and exercises to help stretch out and strengthen core muscles. Meanwhile, here's a few tips to follow:

  • Invest in a good chair, mind your posture, and learn proper lifting and stretching techniques.
  • Keep your eyes at the same height as the computer monitor - without leaning forward - to help avoid headaches and neck pain.
  • Take frequent stretching micro-breaks and stay hydrated with water.

"Back injuries are the most prevalent occupational injury, and studies have shown chiropractic patients have consistently better outcomes," says the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress' Dr. Gerard Clum, DC.

To learn more or to find a local chiropractor, visit www.F4CP.org/findadoctor.

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Hiring in the Sacramento region has exploded. Seventy-six percent, or just over three quarters of all companies surveyed in direct contacts by phone report, have opened doors for applicants, raising the demand a full six percentage points over this same time last year. Just twenty-four percent (24%) of top regional employers surveyed between August 17th and September 17th say they are not hiring in in the upcoming months.

When asked about motivation for hiring in October, November, and December, Pacific Staffing learned more than half—54%—of Sacramento regional hiring related to workforce growth or expansion of payrolls. However, a larger number—61%—say part of their hiring is required for replacements or attrition among existing employees.

Pacific Staffing also discovered a shortage of qualified applicants and growing worry about retention in keeping those already on the payrolls. Going back to 1992 when the Employment Trends Survey began among top Sacramento regional employers, an unprecedented number of companies report difficulty in finding people with skills to do the work. When asked what challenges they face in hiring, 26% of Sacramento regional companies polled report concerns about finding qualified applicants.


Skills Demand

Shortages of skills include construction trades, route and delivery drivers, RNs with obstetrics experience, sales and accounting, or finance backgrounds. Skills also in-demand include customer service, warehouse, shipping, manufacturing, product assembly, and general office experience.


Special Report: Degrees in Hiring

When asked, “If you were a student, what specific degree, major, or course of study would be most beneficial to getting a job after graduation?” Sacramento employers overwhelmingly said a business administration degree is your best choice. Many also suggested that the degree should include an important minor, such as communications, English, finance/accounting, or economics. Fifty percent of all sectors in service, manufacturing, construction, and retail contacts recommended business.

Seven percent suggested English, while another 7% cited information technology as a major. Five percent said accounting/finance or economics. Other interesting choices included medicine/health, systems analysis, and a new degree in mechatronics. The latter is a new major, blending skills relating to both mechanical engineering and electronic systems.

Sacramento regional top companies polled by industry: 42% are service, 27% are manufacturers, 17% are construction, and 14% are retail.

How does this quarter compare to last quarter or last year? Find out for yourself. For more information, employment blogs, and market surveys, go to www.pacificstaffing.com.

Source: Rick Reed Public Relations

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