Team Building Brings Big Thrills
Every year, Gaughan Companies hosts an annual team building event for all of its employees. This year, we took a day during the week to go to Big Thrill Factory in Oakdale with the whole company.
After an address from the company president, Patrick Gaughan, the attendees ate lunch and gathered into smaller groups in order to connect one-on-one with their coworkers. Our staff is growing, and with many of them at locations throughout the Twin Cities, it is important for us to take the time for these team building activities.
We participated in activities like go karts, laser tag, a ropes course, indoor zip line, and other events, like the Gaughan Jeopardy game. The atmosphere was filled with good spirits and friendly competition!
We appreciate our employees and all that they do for our company and our community. We are blessed to have a wonderful group to work with!
Gaughan Team Meets Future Employees at Career Fair
This week, our team hosted a booth at the Dunwoody College of Technology Construction Sciences Career Fair. We were able to meet students from many different majors and converse with college faculty and staff.
We enjoy attending the Dunwoody Career Fair ever year. Hearing about the students’ future goals is so exciting! We are proud of everyone for working so hard toward those goals. We wish you all the luck on your future endeavors!
If you are interested in applying for a position at Gaughan Companies, visit our career page or contact a member of our Human Resources team.
Winter Water Leaks
Do you have a water leak in your home? Is water dripping from your light fixtures or smoke detectors? If it is, one reason for this can be condensation.
As warm, moist air from inside the home rises up and comes in contact with a cold surface (like the underside of the roof deck), the air cools and moisture condenses out because cold air can’t hold as much moisture as warm air. That condensation forms a layer of frost on the cold surface.
When this frost builds up for weeks at a time and is followed by a warm day or two, it can melt all at once. Then, water will start running down the walls, out the bathroom and kitchen fans, through recessed light, out of door frames, etc.
People often jump to the conclusion that it’s a leak, even though it’s not raining and there isn’t too much snow to melt. But, what they are seeing is water that was already inside their home in the form of water vapor.
The best thing one can do to help this issue is control indoor winter humidity levels. If it’s 0°F outside, it’s best to maintain a humidity level of 20-25%.
WCCO recently released a story on this topic, too. Read more: http://cbsloc.al/2D6KxKi
Homeowner Hints: Humidity at Home in Subzero Temps
When the temperature outside is less then 10 degrees, run the bathroom vents during a shower or bath, and leave it run for 10 minutes afterwards. This will keep the warm, moist air from freezing onto the inside of the vent. Also, recommended humidity levels in a home during the winter should be 35 to 40%.
MN Snow and Ice is Hard to Avoid!
Even with contracted snow removal service, we still experience freeze/thaw cycles that can wreak havoc on our sidewalks and driveways. But there are steps you can take to avoid a fall.
1) Walk slowly and carefully.
2) Ever heard of the Minnesota shuffle? Take small steps.
3) Keep both hands free to allow for better balance or use of handrails.
4) Step out of vehicles, don’t jump.
5) Walk as flat-footed as possible.
6) Wear appropriate footwear for conditions.
If you do fall, you may be able to reduce any injury by;
1) Rolling with the fall. Relax as much as possible.
2) Don’t protect what you’re carrying! Protect yourself and toss anything if you need to break your fall.
Tech Talk: Spring Cleaning Kitchen Appliances
Spring is finally here! Here are a few reminders that might be helpful in your spring cleaning.
- Pull out the refrigerator, clean up the back, and vacuum under to remove any dust and food particles that have accumulated.
- If you have an older fridge, be careful around any uncovered coils in the back or beneath!
- For the stove, pull it out, clean behind it, underneath and on the sides. I suggest using a kitchen cleaner, like 409 or Lysol Antibacterial, to remove any grease that has fallen down the sides.
- Check all electric and/or gas connections for the stove and oven.
We know spring cleaning isn’t always fun, but I hope these tips help the process go a little smoother!
Gaughan Tech Talk: Air Conditioner Care
Now that warm weather is approaching, it’ll soon be time to turn on the air conditioner. Here are a few tips on air conditioner care so you can keep your A/C in top working condition.
- Replace the pleated air filter every 3 months.
- Remove any sticks, leaves, grass, etc. from the condenser unit located outside. Debris on the outside of the unit will drastically affect performance. (I recommend an annual cleaning by an HVAC technician.)
- To clean the outside of the unit, use a little car polish on the box; that will shine it up. On the inside of the unit, a water hose and coil cleaner are used to clean the condenser coil.
- Do not cover the condenser with a cover or tarp in the off season. This will hold in moisture.
- Indoors, check the evaporator drain line to make sure it isn’t plugged. This removes condensation from the air handler, and it must be kept clear.
- It is a good idea to change the thermostat batteries at the start of every cooling season.
These are just a few things you can do to help your air conditioner run efficiently this season.
Prepare for Summer with these Spring Cleaning Tips
It’s that special time of year in Minnesota when the sun starts to shine a little brighter, a little longer and a little warmer. Spring is here! While everyone is enjoying the weather, many are also anxious to get their home ready for summer. While spring cleaning the inside of your house is good, spring cleaning the outside is equally as important.
On the outside of your house, remove all of your holiday decorations and lights as the weather permits. One of the best components of an association is the feel of a close and well-kept community. If it applies, a good outdoor spring cleaning might include washing all exterior windows to get rid of any dirt on the outside and cleaning cobwebs off of light fixtures. Lastly, to prepare for the coming summer weather and activities, clean up the grill, wipe off all outdoor furniture, and prep the garden by tilling.
With summer around the corner, people are more likely to entertain inside, too. Now is a great time to scrub all walls and baseboards to give each room a fresh feel. Replace water and air vent filters in order to get rid of what has built up over the last year. In the same way, it’s important to clean out all faucets and showerheads of rust and calcium deposits with a water and vinegar solution. Also, remove lint from the dryer vent inside and outside. This is one good prevention against residential fires. Most importantly, test all of your smoke alarms.
For more tips on what to clean, how to clean, and what products to use, check out this article from the Today show and this article from the DIY Network.
Gaughan Roofing Tech Talk: Downspout Problems
Although the snow can be beautiful, Minnesota winters can cause a lot of damage to a property. Avoid downspout problems through upkeep of all gutters and downspouts. It will minimize the negative effects of winter on a property’s outside drainage system.
Here are a few upkeep tips:
- Twice a year do routine inspections of roof-to-ground downspouts.
- Inspect general operation; clean out sticks and debris stuck in downspouts.
- Check straps. Are they still secured to the wall? Are screws missing?
- Are they damaged to a point that a new full or partial downspout is required?
- Get these repaired or replaced as soon as possible to avoid other associated problems.
Employee Attraction and Retention Tools
We all know someone who loves or hates their workplace. Every day, thousands of workers quit one job only to rush to another one for any number of reasons. Let’s take a look at what companies are doing to attract and retain talent.
Most people think of money when they consider a new job. Questions often pondered are, “Will this increase in salary improve my living conditions,” or maybe, “Will this new salary be enough to support a move to the neighborhood I’m eyeing?”
Although salary is a huge draw, there are many other things that companies are using to lure the best talent. After a prospective employee is decided upon, the company will consider where that future employee is currently living. If he or she isn’t within an hour’s drive of the office, it’s time to consider a relocation package.
A good relocation package will pay for a percentage of closing costs on both the old home and the new one. It will often pay for movers, and if the employee needs to report onsite before his or her family can arrive, then the company may also pay for temporary housing.
In addition to these items, a company needs to consider the overall health and well-being of the employee. Paid time off, offering good medical insurance, dental and vision, short and long term disability plans, profit sharing and 401K plans should be part of each company’s benefits package.
Some companies are large enough to include a workout area in their plaza. Others may staff this area with health and fitness promotion workers who can offer suggestions for diet and workout programs in order to improve the health of the employees.
After the employee is acclimated to the new job, a challenge lies in trying to keep the employee happy at work. A good company recognizes that their workers are human and that things come up, such as having a child get sick or repairs needing to be done at home.
Flex time or telecommuting is a nice plus. Some employees can’t always be at the office from 8-5. If management can offer a small flex work or telecommuting schedule, the employee can still see to his or her personal needs without having to call in or take a personal vacation day.
Having a great relationship with an immediate supervisor and manager is key to an employee’s happiness. A good company will empower an employee to make certain business decisions up to a point. If a supervisor needs to have the final word, then it’s important that this person be accessible whenever needed. It’s also important that the supervisor supports the employee when dealing with other in-house departments and the public.
In addition, the best companies go a step further and reward employees who put forth their best efforts. If an annual bonus is offered, it is often based on performance review. A good company will hold weekly one-on-ones between supervisor and employee so that the employee understands how well he or she is doing in the position.
Besides an annual bonus, a company that focuses on employee retention may also have programs such as internal recognition or employee recognition day. These companies also realize that if it’s possible to promote within, then they should do so. Otherwise, their employees may feel that they’ve been overlooked and will want to head for another place where they will feel appreciated.
Finally, continuous improvement is another effective employee retention tool. A company may offer to pay a part or the entirety of classes at the college level that will aid a worker in his or her job. The company will also offer in-house training and some will even give workers a chance to take classes on-site or intern in other departments for a few weeks.
Changing jobs or keeping the one you have is always challenging. Everyone wants to make sure that he or she is getting the most value in exchange for his or her efforts. The best companies will recognize and respond to this and will go out of their way to promote employee retention. As a result, their bottom line looks great and their workers are happy, which creates a positive workplace.
Gaughan Companies is committed to building strong communities and creating good relationships within those communities. That includes our workplace. Our core values are honesty / integrity, priority focused / accountable, positive / solution-based, strong communication, and hardworking.