Tips to Ensure a Very Merry Holiday

Nov 30, 2016

By: Chelsea Haley, DKI Ventures, LLC

After releasing the Wildfire Safety and Natural Disaster Preparedness Guides, several of our readers commented they’d like to see more of these easy to reference blog posts. Well, you spoke… And, we listened. Here is the ultimate winter holiday safety guide to ensure protection for your business and clients during the holiday season.

Office Safety

Winterize your Office: How to ensure your facility remains draft-free to maintain a warm environment and save your company money

How to Prepare Your Business for Winter: Additional tips to protect your business and minimize interruption during the colder months

3 Steps to Keep Your Business Safe Over the Holiday Break: Tips to secure your facility and clients while away on vacation

Returning to Work After a Holiday Break: How to transition back to business after a long holiday break

Entertaining

Holiday Décor – Keep Your Building Safe: Safety tips if you and your employees choose to decorate the office for some holiday cheer

Tips for Your Holiday Bash: Make sure your employees feel comfortable and safe if you’re planning an end of the year holiday party.

Travel

Winterizing Vehicles: Tips on how to prepare your vehicles for winter weather conditions, whether traveling for business or to visit family for the holidays

Never Cruise in Winter: Regardless how long your road trip is this holiday, be aware of the dangers of cruise control on slick roads.

 

6 Steps to That Work-Life Balance During the Holidays

November 16, 2016

By: Chelsea Haley, DKI Ventures, LLC

Are you feeling anxious about the holidays this year? Maybe you’re working overtime to hit those sales goals and prepare for the end of the year, or maybe your time off work is being spent running errands around town for your holiday parties or travel plans. Either way, the holidays should be about spending quality time with your family and friends. Read our tips below to help manage that work-life balance during this hectic time of the year.

Prioritize                 

Before you even try to tackle all your projects, take a moment to write everything down. Categorize these tasks by priorities first. What is your top priority for the end of the year? Then, what is the second priority, etc.?

By setting your priorities, you’ll be able to use your time more wisely, set aside other projects that can wait, avoid distractions, and ultimately, free up your time outside of work.

Set Time Limits

Now that you have a list of what needs to be completed versus what can wait, it’s important to establish your work hours. It’s all too easy to spend longer on a project when “it’s almost finished.” But, schedule your time wisely, then enforce it, so you’re not tempted to stay late.

Also, remember to take breaks throughout your day. Consider using the 90/20 rule, working in 90 minute intervals with 20 minute breaks between; or even quick ten minute breaks in between could help you refresh and refocus on the task at hand.

Ask for Help

While you set your schedule, be mindful that some tasks may require longer hours. With this said, it’s important to still enforce your time limits. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if needed. Chances are your priorities are similar throughout your team, so consider delegating work to others on your team so you all remain on schedule to complete the project.

This can be said for work outside of the office as well. If you’re planning a holiday party, ask your friends or family to help with the cooking and decorating. This will allow you time to clean the house, and still have free time with your family each evening after work.

Push Back

Always keep your list of priorities and timeframes top of mind, so that when something else comes across your desk, you can decide if it can be completed on time or will need to be set aside for the time being. Don’t be afraid to scale back in order to complete your priorities, and still maintain a work-life balance.

Minimize Distractions

Make sure your priority is always number one on your to-do list. Don’t get too caught up in email or meetings, not applicable to your main task. Consider screening your phone calls; if you do not recognize a phone number or recognize as a sales agent, let it go to your voicemail.

In addition, while you’re at work, separate your personal life. This time of year, you may be handling outside obligations, but don’t allow those to occupy all your time at work. Put aside your personal mobile devices, purse, anything that can be distracting to getting your work done.

Unplug

Finally, when your set work time is up, focus on your personal life and your time with your loved ones. Work can wait until the next day.

If, however, your business requires you to be on call in emergency situations, you may not be able to turn your phone completely off. Still, make sure to establish a block of window dedicated solely to personal time. This may be during your family dinner, or the first hour after you leave work. Whatever time you designate, be sure to enforce it.

How Do You…? Best Practices for Posting to Social Media

Nov 16, 2016

By: Chelsea Haley, DKI Ventures, LLC

Welcome back to our Best Practices for Social Media! By now, you should have a sufficient list of topics to post to your social media platforms, as well as, ideal times to post. Now, we are going to dive into specific features to include in your posts to increase your audience reach. With continuously changing newsfeeds of content from thousands of different users, it’s important to include certain triggers for visual content and optimization. Otherwise, your post may go unnoticed.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Likes

Considering newsfeeds are constantly being updated faster than anyone can keep up, posts solely containing words can get jumbled in the madness and go unnoticed. According to Dr. Lynell Burmark, educational consultant who studies visual literacy, “Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about seven bits of information (plus or minus 2). Images, on the other hand, go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.” Furthermore, the Visual Teaching Alliance gathers that our eyes can register 36,000 visual messages per hour, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.

Therefore, make your posts stand out! Add an intriguing photo or video clip relevant to your content. If the image is interesting, the viewer may stop to read your post or click the attached link. Based on an analysis from Twitter, tweets with photos receive 35 percent more retweets, and videos receive 28 percent more retweets than the average tweet. Additionally, socialbakers.com discovered that Facebook posts with photos accounted for 87 percent of total interactions among 30,000 different brand pages. Follow our blog and keep an eye out for best practices on how to post imagery to social media.

Hashtag

While posting photos and videos may give you an increased engagement rate once noticed, you still need to ensure your posts gain optimal exposure. The number sign, once known as the pound sign on a telephone or as the foundation of our favorite childhood pastime (Hopscotch), is now most commonly known as the hash or hashtag, a means to increase reach on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook). According to Hubspot, posts with hashtags see an average of 60 percent more interactions. However, it’s best to not replace every other word or phrase with a hashtag. We assume you don’t usually speak like Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake in their #Hashtag skit, so don’t write your posts like that. A report by Salesforce revealed that tweets with just one to two hashtags receive 21 percent higher engagement than those with three or more. With the exception of Instagram that gets the highest engagement with 11 hashtags (Track Maven), keep it simple, and tag only those words most significant to your topic, words that your audience will be most likely to search. You can always check out the top daily hashtags and use the ones relevant to your industry and/or post. These can be found on the left column of Twitter (Trends), the right column of Facebook (Trending) and under the search icon on Instagram.

questions

We all know this symbol – to imply a question, which if done correctly, solicits an answer all on its own. Including questions in your social media posts is a win-win. Asking your followers questions about themselves helps you build an identity of your audience demographic; asking them specific industry questions can build engagement on your page, as well as, allows your followers to look “cool,” knowledgeable. According to Hubspot, posts/tweets that ask questions receive 23 percent more engagement on average. So, throw in a few questions here and there on your social media platforms and watch your engagement rise, while you also get to know your audience.

happy exclamation    happy exclamation

That subtitle alone may invoke strong emotions in you. Exclamation points and the traditional happy face just tend to stand out among the remaining punctuation marks and emoticons. According to Emoticons in mind: An event-related potential study, scientists have discovered that when we look at a smiley face online, we activate the same parts of the brain that we would looking at a real human face. When we see someone smile, our natural response is to feel happy or smile in return. While this symbol used to be viewed as unprofessional, it is growing increasingly popular among the corporate world. However, just like anything else, overusing this can be viewed as unprofessional, insincere. Give your followers something to smile about, but use the happy face sparingly to maintain your brand’s integrity.

Use the exclamation point carefully as well, as this one can invoke both positive and negative feelings in a person. The exclamation point has several uses – for exciting, over the top news, as well as for an alert or emergency. You don’t want your followers to feel like you’re shouting at them, so if you have exciting or emergency news, throw in one exclamation point for attention, but then end the rest of your post with periods. And, as with the happy face, save your exclamation points for the happiest or scariest of news to maintain your brand’s authenticity.

How to Prepare Your Business for Winter

Nov 2, 2016

By: Chelsea Haley, DKI Ventures, LLC

Winter can bring harsh weather conditions that could impact not only your property, but also your business operations. Since daylight saving time ends this weekend, it’s the perfect time to begin preparing your business for winter and its extreme weather.

Answer the bottom six questions, and follow the tips to winterize your office:

  1. What are your winter weather threats?

Winter affects places and businesses differently. It’s important to be aware of the potential risks your business could face during severe winter weather. Could your business be impacted by any of the following?

  • Power outage
  • Frozen pipes
  • Blizzard
  • Closed roads (leading into work or to go home)
  1. Do you have a severe weather continuity plan?

Now that you’ve identified the risks to your business, do you have a plan to manage them and minimize your business interruption? If your business is susceptible to snowstorms, do you have a plan to set up your employees to work remotely in case roadways are inaccessible? If a power outage is possible, do you have backup power generators to keep your business running?

  1. Is your property winter ready?

Extreme winter weather can impact the structure to your building, and this can be very costly to repair, plus it may force you to close. It’s important to perform a thorough inspection throughout your property to ensure it can weather any winter damage.

  • Mold from melting snow and ice seeping into your building could cause costly damage to your structure and be detrimental to your and your staff’s health. Check your property carefully for drafts, leaks and cracks on your roof, doors and windows.
  • Another common winter weather threat is from frozen pipes. Shut off outdoor plumbing so remaining liquid doesn’t freeze and break your pipes.
  1. Is your staff prepared?

Listen to the local weather news for storm warnings and updates. Keep your employees informed of the updates and your emergency business continuity plan.

  1. How will you handle your customers during severe winter weather?

Save a list of key clients and vendors and their contact information, so they can be contacted of severe weather and any change of operations. If your business occasionally has client visits, consider adding a safety plan for them to your emergency strategy.

Is Your Property Safe from Vandalism on Halloween?

Oct 27, 2016

By: Chelsea Haley, DKI Ventures, LLC

Halloween is the spookiest day of the year!

According to Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, statistics show more vandalism insurance claims are filed on Halloween than any other day of the year. Don’t let your business be a target for vandalism. Make sure you take the proper precautions to protect it.

Lock it up

Whether you close early or on time, make sure the last person to leave checks to ensure all doors and windows are locked. Also, make sure any important paperwork or money is locked up and secure. If possible, bring in any equipment from outside and store away.

Sound the alarm

Always turn on your alarm system before you close, but, especially on Halloween night, test and ensure this is set up to ward off burglars. If you do not have an alarm system, we highly encourage you consider installing one.

Light ‘em up

The alarm system will chase unwanted visitors away, but may leave you with a broken window or other damaged property. Consider keeping some of your lights on, or installing motion sensor lights to deter them from sneaking around your property. Burglars and vandals sometimes target businesses on Halloween, since customers are typically elsewhere or pre-occupied with their little trick-or-treaters, turning these business blocks into dark ghost towns – a perfect mark for vandals. So, light ‘em up!

Check it before you wreck it

Since streets are filled with candles and jack-o-lanterns, the number of fires increases greatly on Halloween. It’s wise to test your smoke alarms around your place of business to avoid serious property damage. Also, consider replacing your own candle decorations with battery-operated lights to reduce your risks. Even if a vandal causes the accident, your business may be liable.

DKI Restoring More Than Properties After Hurricane Matthew

Oct 21, 2016

By: Chelsea Haley, DKI Ventures, LLC

This week DKI is restoring more than just properties!

As you have seen or read about last week, we were more than prepared for Hurricane Matthew, with our contractors from around the country set up at specific locations, with the required equipment and resources supplied by our vendors/sponsors. Since the hurricane hit, the DKI Team has been busy meeting with clients and assessing and repairing damaged properties. As our contractors have seen the effects of Hurricane Matthew, both physical and mental, they started brainstorming ideas to restore, not just their clients’ properties, but also their lives and hope.

Bryn Lopes, our National Project Consultant, met with the city of Lumberton in North Carolina to discuss a possible community luncheon for the residents of the area who were impacted by the hurricane. Together they decided on holding a cookout with barbequed burgers and hot dogs, and plenty of snacks. Several DKI member companies participated, offering to barbeque and hand out lunches.

And… word quickly spread through social media!

What began as a small, one-day cookout at the grounds of one of the local churches quickly developed into a partnership with the National Guard, American Red Cross, North Carolina Agricultural Department, making it an opportunity for THOUSANDS within the community to enjoy food, clothing, supplies and more.

PLUS, the cookout was such a success that the city asked us all to return the following day to throw another community cookout.

Read more about it from the Robesonian and on our News’ Page.

We decided to continue the positivity throughout Robeson County by hosting Revival – a Baptist service, followed by another cookout. The event is expected to draw in thousands from the 39 local churches, which have not been able to have services in weeks due to the hurricane. DKI has been working on First Baptist Church in Lumberton, where Revival will be held, and will be cleaning up the parking lot and setting out DKI trucks so Pastor Murray can preach on one of our 35-foot flatbeds. Spread the word!

DKI Restores More than Properties

On Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 17 and 18, DKI Partnered with Several Local Lumberton, N.C. Groups to Support the Community Affected by Hurricane Matthew

October 19, 2016 – 

5DKI, North America’s largest disaster restoration contracting organization, today announced the success of their hosted charity cookout for thousands in Lumberton, N.C. affected by Hurricane Matthew.

On Monday, Oct. 17, Bryn Lopes, national project consultant for DKI, gathered DKI member companies and corporate staff at the grounds of Robeson Community Church on W. 5th Street to set up, grill and serve the Lumberton community hundreds of hamburgers and hot dogs.

What began as this one-day barbecue event to give back to those affected by the hurricane, quickly developed into a partnership with the National Guard, American Red Cross, North Carolina Agricultural Department and the City of Lumberton to also hand out clothing, supplies and more.

The event drew in thousands of residents in need of food, supplies, encouragement and hope.

“DKI has been busy restoring properties, buildings, and facilities along the East Coast, but today, we made small strides at restoring many lives,” said DKI Commercial Solutions VP of Operations Bill Robinson.

14567987_1159594687427947_6577526271617898370_nThe turnout was so successful that all groups decided to hold a second community event the following day, October 18, at Sandy Grove Baptist Church on Martin Luther King Drive.

“The unity of the DKI members and their generosity, compassion, and commitment to those in need has been unbelievable, and truly shows the power of this incredible group,” Robinson continued.

More events may continue throughout the week. Follow DisasterKleenup on Twitter and DKIServices on Facebook for updates.


About DKI

DKI, headquartered in Chicago, is the largest disaster restoration contracting organization in North America. DKI franchise member companies provide full service restoration to their customers: emergency response, water damage mitigation, fire and contents cleaning, mold remediation, complete reconstruction and much more, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. DKI returns damaged property to its pre-loss condition quickly and efficiently, delivering complete satisfaction to their consumer, insurance, and corporate customers. For more information about DKI, visit our website at www.dkiservices.com

Cousino Harris Sponsors 5th Annual Community Toy Drive

October 16, 2015 – 2012_toysDKI, North America’s largest disaster restoration contracting organization, today announced that one of its member companies, Cousino Harris Disaster Kleenup of Ohio and Michigan, is running their fifth annual “Play it Forward” used toy drive on October 23-24, 2015.

The Play it Forward toy drive collects gently used toys, books, games, puzzles, bicycles, stuffed animals, wagons, etc. for underprivileged children. Toys are sorted by age group and category, then washed and properly cleaned to remove any bacteria.

Over the years, the toys have been delivered in a variety of ways, including dropping off at shelters and giveaway events at the Wayman Palmer YMCA and Erie Street Market. This year, organizations will be invited to Cousino Harris’ main location to “shop” for toys that can be used at their facilities or distributed amongst the families.

“It is an event that the community looks forward to as much as we do,” said Shelly Konz, marketing of Cousino Harris. “By collecting the outgrown toys we are essentially recycling them and keeping them out of landfills. Toys are essential to creativity and imagination development, and Play it Forward helps to make sure children who may not have toys receive them.”

Play it Forward would not be possible without the incredible support of the Perrysburg’s DECA Program’s marketing students, Penta Career Center’s Job Training Department students, Bowling Green State University’s sororities, Perrysburg High School’s Honor Society, Batteries Plus, several retired Knights of Columbus, and many more who contribute their time and donations.

Donations of used toys and batteries can be delivered on October 23 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and October 24 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at Cousino Harris’ main office located at 26901 Eckel Road, Perrysburg, OH. The date of the giveaway will be determined based on completion of sanitation and cleaning.

If you have questions about the event, please contact Shelly Konz at 419-931-2054.


About Cousino Harris Disaster Kleenup

With a full service team of skilled craftsmen and technicians, Cousino Harris Disaster Kleenup is equipped to tackle any size reconstruction and/or remodeling project, whether residential, commercial or institutional. Cousino Harris Disaster Kleenup is proud to be able to be involved with projects from beginning to end. For information please visit us at www.cousinoharris.com or call 419-874-9500.

About DKI
DKI, headquartered in Chicago, is the largest disaster restoration contracting organization in North America. DKI Franchise Member companies provide full service restoration to their customers: emergency response, water damage mitigation, fire and contents cleaning, mold remediation, complete reconstruction and much more, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. DKI returns damaged property to its pre-loss condition quickly and efficiently, delivering complete satisfaction to our consumer, insurance, and corporate customers. For more information about DKI, visit our website at www.dkiservices.com and download DKI’s Red Cross Emergency App www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/emergency-app.

Hurricane Matthew Exposes the Power of DKI’s Network

Oct 13, 2016

By: Chelsea Haley, DKI Ventures, LLC

Our team has been extremely busy these last couple of weeks, gearing up for, tracking and responding to Hurricane Matthew – and this has been our most organized event yet!

Since hurricane season typically runs June through November, our team developed a new forward-looking approach. Because communication is key in times of need, we included our corporate team, member companies, clients and even our affiliates in our new Hurricane Emergency Preparation Plan to ensure everyone was on the same page in the event of a major hurricane. After all, our biggest advantage as DKI is our solid nationwide network – Strength in Numbers.

Closely tracking Hurricane Matthew while it developed in the Caribbean, we were all more than prepared when the hurricane eventually made landfall Saturday morning on South Carolina’s coast.

Before the hurricane was originally expected to land, we were already aware of all contractors planning to or having already mobilized, along with their current whereabouts. And, each of them were familiar with their assignments and specific instructions/procedures.

Our DKI ProSupply sponsors have also been serving as tremendous support to our teams!

  • 1-800-PACK-RAT shipped thousands of portable storage containers to the impacted areas.
  • Sunbelt Rentals delivered an abundance of power supplies.
  • Aramsco-Interlink worked with DKI Corporate directly at our headquarters to get any consumables to our contractors.
  • Lowe’s and Home Depot offered temporary labor, storage for fleets and equipment, and other necessary resources.
  • com provided accommodations in the affected areas of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia for our mobilized contractors.

Our teams and sponsors from all over the country have been working tirelessly to complete and support numerous losses, which we expect to continue as more flooded areas become accessible. We are so proud of and thankful to our entire team for their commitment and patience through the challenges. It has been incredible to watch this plan unfold so successfully, and we owe it all to our amazing DKI Network!

We have already received amazing support from some of our members –

“Your team is doing a phenomenal job! We are extremely pleased to be working this storm with your amazing team!” – Doug Burton, President, Skyline DKI

“I’m proud to be affiliated with such a compassionate company.” – Lindsay Biren, ASR Construction DKI

If you or your business has been impacted by the hurricane (flooding, fallen trees, downed power lines, etc.), please call us at 866-277-2977. Our crews are more than ready to help get you back to business!

Expressing Gratitude

Oct 13, 2016

By: Chelsea Haley, DKI Ventures, LLC

Thank you – Those two words that most parents try to instill in their children from an early age. When Uncle George bought you that toy that was “so last year,” you begrudgingly smiled and choked up a “Thank you, Uncle.” And, as you get older, those two simple words become second nature, and often more sincere. When a stranger holds the door for you, or someone allows you to “go ahead” as you clutch onto that gallon of milk in a grocery line of ten people long, it’s almost reflexive to voice your gratitude.

However, how many times do you hear these words in your office, other than the standard closing of an email? Do you thank your co-workers for their help with a project? Probably. Do you thank your boss for giving up his or her time to discuss something? Do you thank him for the opportunity to work for the company? Are you too rushed in between meetings to even acknowledge that he held the door open for you as you struggle to hold onto those piles of presentations?

Gratitude is one of those things that most people don’t expect, but can entirely change one’s mentality and build positivity. People like to feel appreciated for their hard work or courtesy. At work, it’s often too easy to get caught up and frustrated or stressed. And, who feels more so than the boss, managing and trying to keep the entire company afloat? Make them feel appreciated. When people are aware their presence or performances have meaning, the desire to stay and accomplish their tasks is greater.

Friday is National Bosses Day, and if you are grateful for your boss’ commitment to the company, appreciative for the day off yesterday or your boss simply stopped to ask how your weekend was, take a moment to thank him or her. We all like to feel appreciated now and then.