Thanksgiving Week has always personally been my favorite time of the year. To kick the week off right, I wanted share what our entire staff is thankful for in 2021.
Last week, I sent our employees a 1 question anonymous survey: What are you thankful for? They could answer it however they want. As expected, it received a lot of great responses. The answers covered 3 central themes.
Teamwork makes the Dream Work
I’ve worked for 23 different companies, and have experienced of a wide variety of workplace cultures and management styles. However, I have never witnessed a workplace culture where people sincerely care about one another the way we do at Lyon Software. In my opinion, it is the most unique aspect of our company.
More than just working well together, we genuinely value each other as people first, co-workers second. Many of us have developed friendships with each other outside of the office.
Here is what our staff had to say about our culture:
- I am thankful for the ongoing opportunity to professionally learn and grow with the best team I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. I’m also thankful this same team is equally supportive of the pursuits I follow beyond the confines of our shared workdays!
- I’m thankful for the continuity of our team. The same staff has been here for my entire tenure (almost 5 years), and we continue to grow together. Additionally, I’m thankful that working within our strengths in encouraged – it’s allowed me to grow creatively.
- We have a wonderful team to work with: no drama, no fighting, and always reliable – I love this!
- I am thankful for the family I have at Lyon Software. Everyone is kind and supportive of one and other. My Lyon Software family makes me feel valued because they listen and genuinely care.
Technology is Amazing
Nobody realized just how valuable technology would become for our work until March 12, 2020. That is the day we began working from home.
We are all so grateful that as a company, every person in our office was able to make a smooth transition to working from home. It could be argued that our communication and productivity has actually improved since beginning to work from home.
Here is what our staff said about technology:
- I’m thankful that we can still provide service to clients that meets their needs without interruption, even during a pandemic.
- I’m thankful for web cameras that keep us connected and allow us to see each other’s smiles.
- I’m thankful for the technology that provides me with the ability to see the prospects I work with and talk to them as if we were in the same room.
We Truly Care for our Clients
We wouldn’t be here without all of the wonderful people from client hospitals and senior living facilities that we get to work with every day. We all love that we have developed great business relationships with so many of our clients, regardless of whether they have been with their organization for 30 years or 30 days.
Here is what our staff said about working with our clients:
- I’m thankful that our clients are excited about our newest version of CBISA.
- I’m thankful that our clients are always wanting to improve their community benefit work.
- I’m thankful that we continue to gain new clients and grow those relationships.
- I’m thankful for the opportunity to become friends (outside of business) with so many of our clients.
What would you add to the list?
Comment your thoughts below.
Next month is international Campus Sustainability month. Throughout October, colleges and universities will be organizing events to bring awareness to sustainability issues, with the hopes of inspiring students and faculty to be more environmentally conscious and encourage generational change.
Whether you’re on campus or not, if you are in charge of a sustainability program, there are four critical areas that you need to address in order to ensure it has significant long-term success. Thinking back to my university days, these four attributes of their recycling program have stuck with me for over 20 years, even though I wasn’t directly involved in any campus sustainability groups.
Make it Cool
I arrived in McDonald Hall as a freshman at Bowling Green State University (Go Falcons!) in August of 1997. One of the first things I noticed in those few days before classes began were all the recycling containers. It was a huge transition from high school, where recycling wasn’t nearly as top of mind.
What makes the BGSU recycling program memorable for me is that they attached a slogan with a double-meaning to it. BGSU Can Recycle was a creative play on words. Yes, it was obviously an initiative for students to recycle their pop cans. More importantly, it was also a proclamation to everyone associated with BGSU. Bowling Green was committed to doing a better job of recycling and being environmentally conscious. Their motto let everyone on campus know that we all had a part to play.
Make it Convenient
If you’re trying to change the habits of people in your organization or neighborhood, removing as many barriers as possible is crucial. Bowling Green consistently did a great job of this.
Recycling containers weren’t just in dining halls. They were everywhere. If you were walking from the Student Union to Jerome Library, you passed one in the center of campus. If you were farther away, like at the Rec Center, a recycling center was there too. BGSU made it very easy for students to recycle, and we responded accordingly.
Even at massive events like the annual back-to-school campus cookout, recycling containers were prevalent. Yet, if you walked by University Hall even 15 minutes afterward, you would never know that thousands of hungry college students just had lunch, all spread out across the lawn. Keeping the campus clean was important to everyone, so we all did our part.
Make it a Challenge
Nobody likes a problem, but everyone loves a good challenge. I heard Tony Robbins say that once, and it really stuck with me.
When I was a student, BGSU was great at promoting challenges for various causes. These were highlighted at football and basketball games, where Greek houses and residence halls were always highly visible and usually competing for some cause.
Friendly competition gets people involved. More than just saying “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, find a way to put a competitive spin on your program. You’ll be surprised at the results you can achieve through fun competition.
Make it the Culture
As a student, I was always very impressed that Greek houses and residence halls were at the forefront of every large campus-wide initiative. Whether it was Dance Marathon, environmental causes, or special one-day events, they were instrumental in promoting to the rest of campus. Your organization can operate similarly.
Find the influencers in your organization and get them on board with your sustainability initiatives. It only takes a few people taking consistent action to improve the culture and spread positive change.
Times Have Changed
In my research, I found that BGSU Can Recycle was retired quite a while ago. To be honest, I’m not sure if that was ever an official slogan, but it was everywhere on campus and obviously had a lasting impression on me. I’m a very thorough and consistent recycler now, and that likely took shape during my years at BGSU.
You can find more about the Going Green at Bowling Green initiatives (started in 2008) by visiting their Office of Campus Sustainability.
Most people in the United States are taught that they should recycle, and most (94%) say they support recycling, so why are only 34.7% of Americans actually recycling? According to a 2019 survey by the waste management company Covanta, this inaction can be attributed to a lack of understanding on how to recycle, rather than a lack of care. Unfortunately, despite their good intentions, even those who do actively recycle are not always doing so correctly. This leads to recyclables becoming contaminated and unusable.
What is recycling contamination?
Contamination occurs when product residue remains on recyclables, when non-recyclables are mixed with recyclables, and when different types of recyclable materials are mixed. If a batch of recycling has too high of a contamination percentage, the entire batch is discarded as waste. The most effective way to prevent this waste is to follow the guidelines established by each recycling company- Never assume that the procedures for each type of recycling will be the same!
How can contamination be prevented?
A great first step to avoiding contamination in recycling is making sure the intended items align with current guidelines. For plastics and some other non-standard materials, start by searching for a recycling number or recycling instructions- If you cannot find a recycling number or instructions, chances are that the item in question is not recyclable. Exceptions may include cardboard, paper, aluminum, tin, or steel cans, which are typically recyclable. After confirming an item is recyclable, the next step is to thoroughly rinse out any food, cleaning, or cosmetic product residue from the container. If recycling cardboard or paper, be sure to look out for any oil or food stains, as those count as contaminates.
Another great way to avoid contamination is by using sorted recycling bins instead of single-stream recycling bins. Single-stream recycling is a system in which all types of recyclables can be placed in the same bin; however, this type of recycling often leads to cross contamination causing huge waste. While convenient, oftentimes neither humans nor machines can adequately and quickly sort single-stream recyclables resulting in high levels of contamination. Remember, contaminated recyclables end up in a landfill: exactly what we are trying to avoid by recycling! Because of these reasons, separating recyclables into like bins is the safest way to go.
A Note from the Author
The next time you unpack a cardboard box or empty a can of soup, remember the simple step I have laid out for you. I hope you feel empowered by the knowledge that you can make the correct decisions regarding product recyclability and preparation. Thank you for doing your part to keep waste out of landfills!
To find more information on specific types of recycling, follow these resources:
Living sustainably on an individual basis may seem as simple as drinking from a refillable water container, refusing plastic grocery bags, and recycling. However, many people miss out on a major and necessary area of sustainability, which is what they wear.
According to the EPA, textiles, such as clothing, shoes, bags, bedding and more, accounted for 14.4 million tons of total municipal solid waste in 2017, which equates to around 70 lbs per person in the US. These numbers do not need to be so high, but the reality of the matter is that consumerism and fast-fashion are so common that they have been conditioned into the minds of millions.
Thankfully, there are several approaches that can be taken to help decrease the amount of needless textile waste that ends up being added to landfills or incinerated.
Buying less is the most impactful and obvious thing that can be done to decrease textile waste. This can be accomplished by repairing old clothing vs throwing it away, avoiding purchases based on trends, and putting together custom capsule wardrobes. A capsule wardrobe is centered around a few staple, versatile articles of clothing, shoes, and accessories that pair well with each other, and can be easily mixed and matched to create multiple outfits that suit the style and needs of the wearer. Taking the time to create an individualized capsule wardrobe deters people from submitting to the temptations of fast-fashion, as well as simplifies the process of getting ready for the day.
Guide on how to get started with a capsule wardrobe here: https://importantenough.com/how-to-create-the-perfect-capsule-wardrobe/
The best thing to do when in need of additional clothing is to try to find items you need second-hand from a yard sale, thrift shop, or online marketplace. Buying second-hand can easily save you money, while also saving on textile waste.
When buying second-hand is not an option, choosing clothing made from sustainable materials like organic cotton, hemp, linen, bamboo, recycled cloth, etc., or choosing clothing from brands that are transparent about their production processes still helps to make up for some of the negative environmental impact brought on by introducing more products into existence.
Go the extra mile
One extra step that can be taken to minimize harm to the planet is to purchase a filter to help catch some of the synthetic microfibers that come off of clothing while washing, preventing them from entering and polluting the water system. This step may not fit the budget of all sustainability warriors, but another alternative to installing a filter is tossing your clothes in a filtration bag while washing, or adding a specially designed laundry ball that helps catch some of the microfibers that would otherwise be washed away.
Versions of these items can be found here: https://eluxemagazine.com/living/tech/5-great-microfiber-filters-to-help-stop-microplastic-pollution/