Tag Archives: productivity

Put the glass down and push that chair away: Simple spins on minimizing stress each day!

Sit less. Stand more. Start now. The question, “Is your glass half-full or half-empty?” is one of those nasty little clichés that you don’t want to be asked when life’s daily grind starts getting you down.

It’s inevitable, though, right?

No matter how full your glass is each day, the grind will get you down. So the better question might be, how can you reduce the stress induced by the daily grind so you can maintain that ‘my glass is half-full’ mentality each day?

Here’s a great little nugget my dad shared with me. Thank you “Author Unknown.”

A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading a talk and explaining stress management to an audience with a raised glass of water. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘half empty or half full?’… She fooled them all. “How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile. 

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it.  If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm.

“If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “And that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.

“As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden–holding stress longer and better each time practiced.”

~ Author Unknown

In my role as “WorkFit Evangelista” @WorkFitWendy, people always ask, “Why is it so important to reduce sitting time and stand up now and then?” So I quickly jump into “according to researchers”, and deliver the science with passion! Since I’m always looking for ways to keep the recipients of my message engaged with the science of it all, this little nugget kind of serves as a great analogy.

It’s not just the act of sitting that puts our bodies at risk; it’s how much of it we do each day that puts our bodies under stress.

Reduce the stress and other health risks you put your body under each day by adding more standing breaks into your daily routine. You’ll ramp up metabolism, burn more calories, increase muscle tone, improve blood flow and boost oxygen levels to your brain!

@workfitwendy

 

 

 

 

Wendy McCubbin
Sr. Wellness Manager, Ergotron

P.S:  Grr–my apologies, folks, was hoping that I could end the blog there, but I just…can’t…do… it…!! 

Sitting time adds up quickly. Really quickly. Increasing your risk for the chronic illnesses linked to what metabolic researchers call “Sitting Disease.” See just how quickly for yourself—calculate the amount of sitting you do each day using the nifty cool sitting calculator on juststand.org. Disclaimer: Enter at your own risk. This nifty cool calculator also calculates your risk for developing Sitting Disease!

Active people, also beware! “We’ve become so sedentary that 30 minutes a day at the gym may not do enough to counteract the detrimental effects of eight, nine, or 10 hours of sitting” says Genevieve Healy, Ph.D., world-renowned metabolic researcher AND the research keynote for the 3rd Annual JustStand™ Wellness Summit, July 17, 2013.

Strategic thinker or reactive doer? The grocery bag approach

Daneen Kiger, Marketing Director – Global Channel Operations @ Ergotron

daneenAs I was writing to my team a few weeks ago, thanking them for their efforts over the last several months, I shared a story that just might be relevant to you. Everyone had been working extremely hard. And as I looked at the numbers over the past year, it felt good to know that we were a part of that….the communications/collateral that we drive, the events that we get involved with, the trainings that we do, the programs that we are driving…no wonder we feel tired sometimes. It can seem like we do so much through a vacuum. Where’s the time for strategy and fine tuning?

Last week, I took all the papers/folders off my desk, threw them into a grocery bag and sat at my sons’ sports practices and I went through it all.

My grocery bag approach

My grocery bag approach

At least two inches of paper ended up in a recycle bin later on. Two inches! But as I looked through all these things that I had printed over the past several months, it put something into perspective for me.

I’m not going to be able to do everything that I’d like to do.

The things that I am doing on a day to day basis are what is important right now. Yes. And while I would love to sit and read the latest channel magazine, truth is, I haven’t had the time. Fine tuning partner site messages, fine tuning processes and process docs. They all have their time dependant on their place in the priorities list. Some things, I realized, where just nice-to-haves. Not worth delegating, just a “note to self” for future reference. Some things, I realized, I need to MAKE the time. And some things, yes, I could delegate.

I could go on and on since I know that we all have these kinds of piles on our desk.  But it felt good to purge and to sort; it felt good to reprioritize my list and to analyze the gaps in my own approach to the list and my job. Sure, it is important to get something done during our days. But after last week I decided that I need to try to carve out time in my week (or month) to read that channel issue, to make those networking calls, or set some new best practices. To make sure that I spend a little time each week on being a strategic thinker instead of a reactive doer.  The opportunity cost of time. It was a really good awareness.

Later I did a Google search on time management and after going through a few sites, MindToolsTM has a great amount of information and even has a downloadable toolkit to dive into and get busy! (sign up for their newsletter to receive that) I loved their motto – Work Smarter. Take Control of Your Workload.

You’d think after managing a team of twelve people and a family of five I would know how to manage my time. Ah well, some days a little extra guidance is always appreciated.

What’s your “grocery bag” experience of effective time management?

Creating instant ROI

Angela Swenson, Sr. Channel Marketing Manager – Global Distribution @ Ergotron

angela-swenson

As a Channel Marketer I understand that our channel model accelerates sales by putting thousands of feet on the street selling our products, but the downside of this selling strategy is that it also puts us one step further away from our end user customers. 

This is why I was excited to participate in a panel discussion with a group of resellers at one of our distributor partners a few weeks ago with one of the topics being: what are they seeing out there in the marketplace.

 

These resellers, who primarily sell to SMB customers, agreed that what their customers want right now is instant ROI.  That coupled with extending payment terms or being a little more creative with their financing seems to recipe for success in closing sales during these touch economic times.

 

Ergotron has a 25 year history of developing products that make people more productive and comfortable.  In the 14 years that I’ve been working here, there has never been a time that being more productive was as important as it is in these economic times. 

 

With more people doing the jobs of many because of hiring freezes and layoffs, we’re all trying to find ways to get more done and stay sane at the same time. 

 

Having a workstation that not only fits you but also your work style helps you get more work done and be more comfortable while doing it.  In most companies their human capitol is their most expensive investment and the most difficult to replace.  

 

A happy and more productive workforce, now that’s instant ROI!  

 

I’d be interested to hear what your customers are telling you or how your own companies are doing more with less?

A Call for Productivity in the Midst of the US Financial Market Crisis

Will Townsend, Marketing Director, Global Accounts @ Ergotron

Historic events in the financial markets are unfolding.  The largest drop in the Dow in a single day – EVER.  Large commercial and investment bank buyouts – institutions like Wachovia that have been around since the late 1800s are insolvent. Terms like economic “Pearl Harbor” being thrown around. 

It’s all a little frightening – but more than ever these institutions will have to find ways to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of their IT investment.  Ergotron can help.  Differentiation, Efficiency, and Return – these are key metrics that financial services institutions measure themselves against.  And they are also measures that Ergotron carefully considers in the development of its products.

Differentiation.  Dual monitor usage can improve multi-tasking and thereby raise the level of service provided by financial institutions.  With reduced queue times more customers can be serviced.  A no brainer in my mind as financial institutions that differentiate themselves will be the survivors – not collateral damage.

Efficiency.  Financial services IT staffs can deploy Ergotron products and reuse them over multiple PC refresh cycles.  With ever present budget constraints this just makes good financial sense.  The added benefit that Ergotron delivers is comfortable computing and reclaimed workspace – thereby eliminating fatigue and employee absenteeism while also maximizing the clustering of more call center workers into the same space.  I worked at Dell early in my career in telephone sales – and the company was always struggling with how to squeeze more employees into finite spaces. 

Return.  Back office, branch worker, trader, and field sales employees can realize improved productivity through the deployment of dual and multi display computing.  Traders have used quad display configurations for years albeit clunky tied to slat walls.  They’ve proved over the years that there are tangible benefits – and Ergotron has developed a payback calculator that allows any financial institution to compute the Return on Investment.

In this day and age of US $700 billion dollar bailouts – maybe Wall Street ought to consider some simpler ways to improve productivity and investor return to “Main Street”…….. 

 

Defining the debate

JRPI read a post recently from Brian Tankersly on Multiple Monitors. He was interested to see that the “multi-monitor thing is going much more mainstream.”

Just to note, there’s plenty of research that proves dual displays equate to more productivity. One Fortune 500 account’s call center experienced 45% gain in productivity with dual monitors.  Think on that a moment. Folks out there, from gamers to CPAs, acknowledge they get more done, or have more fun, with multiple monitors.  And we can even help prove the ROI with our Payback Calculator. So why isn’t the business community talking about it?

I think I know.

I’ve heard department heads tell me, after they’ve seen our products, that they’ll get in trouble, because all of their employees will want one. 

Get in trouble for investing less than $500/employee for a product that will pay for itself in as few as two weeks?

Get in trouble for increasing employee productivity?

Get in trouble for improving employee morale and providing workplace wellness?

Yup, I think that’s it.  Am I right? Or is there more to the story. Is it safer to stay with the status quo or to actually empower a workforce to get more things done, and actually feel good when they are done?

Branding in the age of seven trikillion impressions a day

JRP

Do you love your job? I love mine, and I’ve found that not a lot of people make that claim. Typically those that do, don’t say it haphazardly. As a round-up-to-one hundred, empty nester, I’m quickly approaching the retirement phase of life, and I can’t quite envision myself there, because, as previously mentioned, I truly do love my job. I can’t imagine “shelving it” just at that time when I’m feeling I’m at the zenith of my personal, and professional productivity and creativity.

And, to further exacerbate the situation, the major problem I face as the marketing team lead for Ergotron ( the title is VP – do titles matter?- that’s another whole blog) is that almost every time I watch t.v. or a movie, or peruse a magazine or newspaper, I see or come in contact with someone or some situation that could be improved through our human centered designed products. Sunday Morning on CBS is on right now. In a recent episode, they showed some researcher who had dual monitors on his desk, but they’re not positioned correctly; he leans forward to see the screen, hunched and crunched. It makes me wince – actually, it makes me crazy. Here someone was showcased getting national attention for their work on a life-saving research project, and the showcased work behavior is counterproductive to his own health and wellness. Which means there’s more work for us to be done, which means we’re really only getting started. Retirement around the corner? Not so fast. . .

HHH with Jane Rodmyre 0372When I was in high school, I went on a student government trip to Washington, D.C. We met Hubert Humphrey, who, at that time, had been Mayor of Minneapolis, Senator from Minnesota, and Vice-President of the United States. He spent over an hour with us, a motley crew of 14 students and two teachers from West St. Paul. predicting the impact television would have in our lives. The premise was that if a picture was worth a thousand words, how much more powerful, for the good, could a minute of television be. . .if the television content was developed correctly. This was the Vietnam era. The time when a picture captured a naked little girl, running away from a napalm bomb blast. It was a powerful image. And a haunting picture. She was nine. I was sixteen. His words, like that picture, have stuck with me ever since.

HHH with SCHS Students, 0372

My boss frequently reminds me we can’t market like “Coke.” We’re not building a power brand. Ergotron’s go to market model is predominantly B2B. Even though we have many “consumer” products, we use the digital intersection of Mac, and PC computer and display market makers, to get our products into both commercial and consumer users’ hands. We’ve recently started working with a physical comedian here in Minneapolis, David Harris, to put a face to our company as “Tester Guy“. Tester Guy’s persona fits our company to a “t”. We are incredibly serious about the products we develop. We have safety tests, quality tests, environmental tests, tip tests, push, pull, prod and nudge tests at Ergotron, before we release a product to the world. Tester Guy puts a little light hearted fun into our own testing process, and then the functionality of the product takes him off into a fantasy world – a world that actually creates a touch point for the fun we have, doing what we do, trying to make the world a better place, at Ergotron.

While we haven’t gotten as many “eyeballs” on our video as we like, yet, we’re just launching the Dare2Dual program behind it on August 1st. I’ll let you know if its a successful attempt to build our brand. I hope Hubert was right. And that this 1 minute 40 seconds really tells a story, for good.

World’s Greatest Sit to Stand Workstation

Pete Segar, SVP Product Innovation & Chief Technical Officer, Ergotron

OK- I may be overstating it just a little- but I really do think that my computer workstation is one of the best in the world.   My computer workstation combines sit/stand ergonomics with dual monitor productivity all for <$1000.  It is an amazingly simple and convenient workstation that is perfect for the laptop road warrior.  

My workstation uses an Ergotron Neo-Flex Mobile Workspace cart fitted with a Combo Dual Monitor bow.  This allows me to position my 20″ Dell monitor next to my open laptop screen for a very nice dual monitor workstation.   When I come in the morning, I dock my notebook to the Dell docking station that is permanently mounted to the laptop tray of the cart, and open up the screen.  Then it is perfectly positioned for dual monitor productivity.   I find this provides a huge improvement in my effectiveness and prevents errors.  In my job, I am afrequent spreadsheet user, and the ability to have an email open in 1 screen, a spreadsheet in the other, and the ability to enter data into a spreadsheet without opening and closing windows is much faster and I am much less likely to make an error.

Sitting at my dual monitor workstation

Standing at my dual monitor workstation

Inserting my notebook into the docking station.  You can see the laptop mounting platform.

The cart has a 20″ vertical lift so I can easily sit or stand at any time.  I find that it really helps prevent back and neck problems to frequently reposition myself.   Plus, research has shown that you burn calories much faster standing vs sitting. There are many sit/stand worsktations that are commercially available, but they tend to be very expensive ($1,500-4,000) and difficult to use.  Motorized lifts need power, and take roughly 20 seconds to raise from sitting to standing-that can be very irritating.  Cranks are slow and very inconvenient.  The “Constant Force” lift technology is a smooth counterbalance that makes the lift very easy, simply pull up, it moves in place immediately, then it stays where you leave it.  Very intuitive and convenient.   Because it is easy to move- you WILL move it!

Finally, because this cart has nice smooth casters, it is really easy to reposition in the room.  I frequently pull my workstation out away from my desk, and over to the table in my room so I can share my displays during meetings.  We show presentation, meeting notes, etc, and then push it back to the desk when it is not needed.  This is really great.

 My workstation rolled over to my table for a meeting

The standard Neo-Flex Mobile Workspace cart works with either a notebook computer or else a flat panel monitor with a CPU.  I have a prototype configuration that uses the combination monitor/notebook mount from our new Neo-Flex Combo Stand to mount the monitor and notebook side by side.  I am very interested in seeing how much support there is for this type of product- so please provide feedback to my blog if you would like to see this product become available. 

I am issuing a “Dare to Dual” to you: combine a flat panel display with your docked notebook screen to achieve a cost-effective, efficient ergonomic workstation that will change your life!