Mobile Workforce Scheduling: Mutually Beneficial for Employers, Customers and Technicians

Smartphones and similar devices are everywhere. This is not news; these kinds of technology are commonplace today than ever before. If you go to any public space, you will encounter people holding their rectangular smartphones and tablets down to read from, or in the air in attempts to capture the present moment. It is pretty normal to encounter a group of people hanging out together with no verbal communication happening, each person’s nose buried in their phone, the LED lights from the screens illuminating their faces.

Today, 2.6 billion people worldwide are smartphone users, and this number is expected to just keep growing. While growth has leveled off in the North American and European markets, less mature markets such as those in the Middle East, Asia and Africa are expected to see some huge growth in the next five years. The number of smartphone users is expected to jump to 6.1 billion by 2020. With the world population expected to reach a bit shy of 8 billion people by that time, it can be expected that soon there will be more smartphone users in the world than there will be those without.

This kind of mobile technology has a reputation for being a distraction in the workplace. However, mobile technology, when used in such a way, can be harnessed in the workplace to increase productivity. In fact, some ways are so obvious, it’s a wonder some places still rely on paper and outdated desktop management systems.

ClickSoftware has worked to create a system of workplace management that operates using mobile devices, quieting this false perception that mobile devices serve no purpose in the workplace. By merging workplace schedule management with the widespread integration of smartphones into daily life, ClickSoftware has found ways to increase productivity and customer satisfaction while cutting administrative costs and smoothing out the often complicated scheduling processes.

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Hiring a Professional Carpet Cleaner to Help with Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning can be intimidating. To transition ourselves from cold, dark winter to lively spring and summer, we often clean our homes from top to bottom. There are many parts of spring cleaning you’ll want to handle on your own, from cleaning windows to mopping the hardwood floors to cleaning the tiles of your shower. However, some cleaning tasks are better left to the professionals. Steam carpet cleaning is one of them.

When hiring a professional steam carpet cleaner to assist you with spring cleaning, there are several things you will want to consider. First, are you sure this is something you want to pass off to a professional? If you don’t have any experience with steam cleaning carpets or using a steam carpet cleaning machine, we recommend hiring a professional carpet cleaner. If you have it in your budget, hiring a professional will take the pressure off you and ensure your carpets are as clean as they can be.

Do your research before deciding on a company. Read online reviews of different local companies on sites like Yelp and Google Business. Ask friends and family members for recommendations. Call each company personally and inquire about rates, services and fees. Many companies will publish the base price on their websites, while keeping hidden the various fees applicable for extra services.

If you’re hiring a professional carpet cleaner to help with spring cleaning, you’ll want to invest. The carpet cleaner will be cleaning your carpets for the coming year, so he will have to do a heavy duty job. This may entail a larger-than-usual job for the cleaner, tackling a higher surface area of carpet than he would for a normal job. These are things to keep in mind when budgeting money for a professional cleaning service.

We recommend you hire a professional carpet cleaner toward the tail end of your spring cleaning. Cleaning your home will rustle a lot of dust and dirt into the air, which can then fall to the ground, making its way onto the carpets. Then it may be tracked all over your home, around on your bare feet and shoes, as you go from room to room. By hiring the professional carpet cleaners at the end of spring cleaning, your carpets will be at their dirtiest and most ready to be steam cleaned.

It’s a good idea to hire a professional carpet cleaner to assist you in your spring cleaning endeavors. When hiring a professional cleaning service to come to your home, be proactive and smart about it by doing all the necessary research beforehand. Best of luck with spring cleaning!

Tips for Removing Mold and Mildew from Grout

Mold and mildew are part of the package when you have a tile wall or floor in your bathroom. The heat and humidity from the shower creates the perfect environment for black mildew and mold to grow and bind itself to porous surface areas such as caulk. It’s almost impossible to completely get rid of mold and mildew in your bathroom (as the environment is ripe for it), but there are easy and effective ways to combat it at first sight.

The methods you take to tackle mold and mildew depend entirely upon how much is growing and how long it’s been there. For minor growth that’s a little spread out, we recommend using a microfiber cloth (great for absorption) and water. The scrubbing and absorption you get when using the microfiber cloth can sometimes be enough to grab excess mildew from grout. Use a toothbrush with stiff, thick bristles to get the mildew out of those hard-to-reach corners. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is a great replacement for a standard microfiber cloth, if you have one. Remember to always throw out used cloths and Magic Erasers immediately after using them on mold, and discard of them outside of your home, as mold and mildew can be detrimental to your or your family’s health, even when it’s sitting around in the trash can.

If scrubbing doesn’t work – and it may not if your mold and mildew infestation is highly concentrated – all experts point to bleach. Begin with a solution that’s three parts water to one part bleach. Repeat the process from earlier, but with this bleach solution. Scrub deeply with a microfiber cloth and follow up with a thick bristle toothbrush. If this solution doesn’t work, try again with a more highly concentrated solution. However, if it doesn’t work on the first go, don’t play around with cleaning chemicals, as the wrong combination (ammonia + bleach, for example) can produce toxic fumes.

If no chemical solution is strong enough to tackle the mildew in your bathroom, you can try another option. First, consider renting a steam cleaner and using a brush attachment that will employ heat and steam to the effected area.

If this doesn’t work, you might be left with no other option but to rip out the caulk and reseal your tub. To do this, scrape the caulk out with a sharp tool, clean thoroughly with bleach and let it dry before filling it in again with more caulk. If you aren’t experienced with caulking and removing caulk, we strongly recommend you hire a professional.

It’s a good idea to bring in a second, or even a third opinion before attempting to rip out the caulk, as mildew might have gotten behind the tiles or spread through the room’s structure. If so, you may have to retile or remodel your bathroom using mildew resistant paint or flooring.

5 Tips for Handling Unhappy Customers

There are more ways than ever before for your customers to voice their satisfactory and frustrating experiences with your business, product or service. Each positive and negative comment can make or break your next potential customer. It is important to handle each customer interaction with patience and care.

1. Listen

Customers become disgruntled for many reasons, some justified and some not so. The first step to properly resolving conflicts with unhappy customers is to listen to what they’re telling you. Make sure your customer feels heard, despite your feelings about their concerns.

Hastily responding to an unhappy customer by trying to forge a solution too soon can backfire and cause the customer to become more upset. Often times, a customer is just looking to vent and know their message is being heard, and so immediately cutting to a solution will leave the customer feeling like you didn’t take the time to listen to their needs.

Maintain proper body language. Keep eye contact, nod your head and stand up straight. Look attentive.

2. Empathize

Think back to your last dissatisfactory service experience as a customer. We’ve all faced it at one time or another. Why were you upset? What caused it? What did you want the employees to do or say to rectify the situation?

Empathy is a powerful social skill that can help you to strengthen your customer service abilities. Simply letting your unhappy customer know that you see where they’re coming from and you understand their feelings can go a long way in breaking tension and resolving conflicts. Seeing the situation from their vantage point can help you better assess how to resolve it. If you were feeling how they were feeling, what would you want?

3. Sympathize

Respect and understanding are so important when dealing with unhappy customers. As stated earlier, unhappy customers want to know their complaints are being heard. Actively sympathizing and expressing remorse for their unpleasant customer experience can be the first step in conducting damage control, especially when interacting with unhappy customers on social media, where they can be unrelentingly cruel and their complaints can be viewed by hundreds of thousands of people.

4. Resolve the Conflict

Many times, customers simply want to share a dissatisfactory experience with a manager or business owner, and leave it at that. But often, you will have a customer who wants you do to something for him or her to repair the situation. It’s always best to do all that you can to rectify the problem and turn your unhappy customer into a happy one.

Going out of your way to accommodate a customer’s needs makes them feel special and will leave them with a positive story to share with friends and family. If you can, give the customer more than he or she asks for. By going above and beyond their own expectations of your service, you can make that person feel like your most valued customer.

5. Look For a Way to Improve

Don’t forget, customer feedback is the surest way of finding out if anything is going wrong within your business. While it’s easy to get defensive when faced with criticism, remember that each critique is an opportunity to improve your product or service, so listen carefully to what your customer is saying. If it is a complaint you’ve heard from other customers at different times, perhaps it’s time to reassess that element of your business and look to see where it can be improved.

Tips for Staying Awake and Alert Longer on the Road

Transportation trucking drivers work very long days and develop inconsistent and unhealthy sleep schedules. A driver’s pay is often based on the amount of work they get done, so they may have greater incentive to remain awake and alert for as long as they can. Although sleep is fundamental, there are a few easy ways for heavy haul trucking drivers to stay awake and alert longer on the job.

Avoid high contrast lights at night. When you drive at night, the contrast between the pitch black of the outdoors, when matched with the brightness of the headlights and dashboard, will wear you down and make your eyes feel very heavy. One simple way to avoid this when heavy haul trucking through the night is by placing soft, small red lights inside the cab to brighten up the interior at night. Another thing you can do is lower the dashboard light so that it is bright enough to see, but not jarring as you drive through the night.

Remain calm. That’s not a warning, just a piece of advice. By allowing yourself to get worked up over an aggressive driver or a fight you recently had with a friend, you’re eventually going to crash — not the truck, but your body will crash and demand that you give it sleep. Just let go of the strong emotions and focus on driving.

Turn down the temperature. We feel the sleepiest when it’s warm and cozy, so even if the snows are blaring outside your truck, try and keep the temperature to a moderate level. If you feel yourself growing tired, try lowering the temperature so that it’s a little chilly inside your cab. This will give you a nice burst of energy.

Moderate your caffeine intake. Coffee is a fickle thing. Not enough and you might feel lethargic and unable to focus, too much and you’ll feel alert and unable to focus. And, of course, the crash from coffee is something to worry about. Caffeine from coffee or energy drinks is certainly no replacement for sleep, and for your own safety, you should never treat it as such. But caffeine is necessary sometimes, and is a great boost of energy when you start to grow weary. Keep on drinking coffee if that’s what you do, but make sure to moderate your intake and know when to stop.

Nap regularly. You should never substitute a good night’s sleep for a nap, but if you start to lose focus or need a break from transportation trucking, don’t try and fight that either. Pushing through your tiredness can only end badly. Pull over at a rest stop or even on the side of the road if you feel yourself getting sleepy.

Picking the Right Floor For Your Gym

Before you go buy your weights and fitness machines for your new home gym, you’re going to need to designate a workout space and start preparing it: shelves, mirrors and most importantly, a new floor. Exercising on hardwood or plastic tile floor is going to leave you feeling sore, miserable and potentially injured. There are several advantages to using rubber for your gym floor over other materials.

Rubber Gym Mats are the Best Material for Exercising Safely

Rubber is a material that cushions the joints. Familiar floor materials like plastic or hardwood have no shock absorption. An athlete’s every move will be pushed back up into their limbs, placing a lot of unnecessary stress on the joints and muscles. The rubber puzzle’s resilience is what makes it a suitable material on which to lift weights and put other potential strain on the body.

Rubber Floors Absorb Shock and Noise

A rubber floor would absorb most sounds made in the room, muffling them so they don’t reverberate throughout your home and disturb others. If you dropped a heavy weight-lined bar on a tile, plastic or hardwood floor, you might damage it. One of the biggest advantages of a rubber floor is the simple fact that it absorbs the shocks and noises that come when you drop heavy things on it.

Rubber Gym Mats Protect Your Floors And Exercise Machines

Rubber is a practical choice from a property owner’s perspective. By placing a rubber gym mat over the flooring and then placing the machine on top, you will be able to protect both your flooring and the sanity of whoever lives in the room beneath your gym. Rubber gym mats also prolong the lives of your exercise machines by acting as a barrier, separating them from the dust and carpet fibers that could make their way into the crevices and vulnerable parts of your machinery. Exercise machines are incredibly expensive; you should want to do everything in your power to prolong their use as long as possible.

Drawbacks to a Rubber Floor

While rubber gym mats are the only way to go when planning a floor for your personal exercise space, this choice of flooring doesn’t come without its drawbacks.

A Rubber Floor is Expensive

The biggest disadvantage to installing a rubber gym floor in your home is that rubber is very expensive to get installed. You might be able to find low quality materials for as little as $2.00 per square foot, but when it comes to your own safety and the value of your home, you wont want to skimp out on important details like this.

Rubber Puzzle is Susceptible to Water and Staining

While rubber is nonporous and resistant to basic spills, it is still liable to seepage, which can damage or warp the floor beneath. If possible, invest in a water vapor barrier when installing your rubber gym floor, to protect the flooring beneath. Grease, detergent and other abrasive cleaning materials can be damaging to the quality and appearance of your rubber flooring.

Summary

You will want to install a rubber floor in the space you intend to make your personal gym. Not only does rubber hold many advantages for a gym floor including being resistant to spills and protecting your floors, but it is also the only logical choice to protect your body. Placing a rubber puzzle over your flooring will not only protect the material beneath, it will also protect your exercise machines from damage. Rubber is costly to install, however, and susceptible to water seepage and staining.

DIY Guide for Junk Removal

Once you’ve packed up all your belongings, or completed your extensive bout of spring cleaning, you may find yourself with an abundance of junk. This junk usually encompasses garbage, recycling, broken furniture and any old items you decided to discard. Hiring a junk removal company to haul out your unwanted trash is a convenience that you may not have the money for, especially if you just put a down payment on a new house or paid any of the other countless expenses that come with relocating. In this case, you may want to save your money and instead, dispose of the waste yourself. Here are a few tips for DIY junk removal.

Rent a small truck, or borrow a pick-up truck. If you’re doing some serious cleaning or moving, you will undoubtedly have a lot of trash to get rid of. You are not going to want to put that trash inside your car to bring it to a landfill, so your best bet is to rent or borrow a pick-up truck from a friend or truck rental company.

Keep track of your waste and divide it up accordingly. To be as efficient as possible, it’s important to keep track of the waste you accumulate and divide it up according to material. This will help make sure the trips go as smoothly as possible.

Recycle before dumping garbage. To reduce your environmental impact, always separate recyclables from the rest of your trash. Dispose of recyclable items beforehand so that you do not accidentally take them to the dump. Recycling centers will accept aluminum cans, plastic bottles, paper items, glass items and cardboard free of charge. In some states including New York, Maine and Hawaii, you can get money back per item for recycling glass or aluminum cans.

Contact your county landfill before bringing your junk over to hammer out the details and ensure you are bringing the correct amount of money for the amount of trash you’re throwing out. Some county landfills don’t charge citizens for dumping, while others charge a flat rate or a fee after dumping a certain amount. Because some landfills charge to dump, many people decide to just hire a junk removal company instead of transporting the trash and then paying to dump it.

Before deciding to haul your junk yourself, you must take into consideration the possibility of hidden fees. Many truck rental companies charge rates based on fuel or milage.

There are also always the possibilities of risking personal injury, car accident or property damage. When you hire a professional trash removal company, you are trusting someone who is insured against damages. If your garbage falls out of the back of your pick-up truck, for example, and damages another car on the road, your truck is probably not insured for that kind of damage, which may result in a higher payment than if you had just hired a junk removal company from the very beginning.