Don’t be a Raisin

If it wasn’t for air conditioning we would all be roasted, literally. As summer moves through July into August, the days get hotter and temperatures begin to peak. It’s the time of the year to remember to keep hydrated and wear sunscreen.

The human body is made up of 60% water and although it is recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, most people fail to meet the quota. Especially now in the summer, it is very easy to get distracted with various activities and forget to drink enough water. Nonetheless, it is crucial for everyone to drink enough water, especially if being exposed to heat for long periods of time. If one knows they are going to be exposed to the sun that day, it is wise to carry around a water bottle at all times. In fact, it is actually pretty common to see people carry a water bottle with them 24/7 regardless of whether they are going to spend their time indoors or outdoors.

Also, something to keep in mind when being directly exposed to the sun is wearing sunscreen. Please remember to wear sunscreen. Not only does it avoid painful burns and peeling skin, but it protects you from an array of diseases, including skin cancer. By taking one step as simple as throwing a bottle or tube of sunscreen in your car or purse, you could save your skin years of issues and avoid the leather skin look, not to mention that constant exposure to sun increases premature aging making you look like a wrinkly raisin.

So this summer, remember to drink up and smear on!

 

Are you over-caffeinated?

Nine o’clock cup one. Ten o’clock cup two. Eleven o’clock cup three. Lunch. Hesitation when you voluntarily chose to drink something other than coffee. Two o’clock regret, dreadful, dreadful regret. As you begin to crash, you realize you probably should have gone for that fourth cup during lunch instead of the “healthy” green juice and water you grabbed in an attempt to seem like a healthy individual to your new co-worker who was bad eyeing you from the corner couch in the break room. So now its three o’clock, you are struggling to keep your eyelids from gluing shut before your computer screen and a cup of coffee seems to be the only solution. You resist. Five minutes go by but you can’t take it, you cave in. You head over to the break room just to realize someone left the coffee maker on and the remaining coffee burned onto the pot. Great. Four o’clock, caffeine… caffeine… caffeine! Like a child your brain throws a tantrum for you to feed it more coffee. But you stay strong and resist. Five o’clock, you’re free! Finally, it’s time to go home, and check out that new Starbucks drive-thru they built down the street.

Office workers and coffee, the unbreakable duo. It is a world renowned phenomenon that drinking coffee and working in an office go hand in hand. Except for the few who “don’t like” coffee, it is fair to say most office workers start their day with a warm cup of coffee. Many will even wake up five to thirty minutes earlier to be able to make a stop at Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee and Tea and pick up a cup. The rest of us feel okay settling for the famous fresh office coffee pot brew. Whether it be for its taste or to stay awake, people can’t seem to get their hands off the coffee pot. Like some drink their sorrows away, employees chug cup after cup of coffee. Maybe they attempt to drink their work load away, or potentially to reach the point where caffeine makes work not feel like work, the way you believed your job was fun the first year you started working. Everyone drinks it. It’s become such a commonality today you can purchase coffee almost everywhere. But let’s get to the real deal here. The truth is, people are indulging in coffee to the point where some become addicted.

Every day in America, 587 million cups of coffee are consumed, that is an estimated three cups per worker every day. Although no negative health issues have been tied to the drink, addiction to caffeine has been proven and was actually just recently added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5). Unlike addiction to other drugs, caffeine addiction works a little differently. In this case, caffeine mimics adenosine, a natural chemical component found in the human brain in charge of making a person feel tired. Once caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors, it doesn’t let adenosine bind to the receptors but doesn’t stop its production either, which causes an overflow of adenosine in the brain. The overflow triggers adrenaline to be secreted which is why many people feel more awake and alert. This effect lasts four to six hours. After the caffeine begins to be metabolized, the abundance of adenosine is finally able to bind to its receptors again which is why many people feel a “crash” and re-caffeinate initiating the cycle again. After a while of ritualistic caffeine consumption, your brain chemistry begins to change. More receptors are developed to be able to bind to the adenosine which is why some people develop a high tolerance and need more caffeine to do the job. Although many doctors will say three cups of coffee is an okay amount to be consumed by a healthy adult, in the end it really comes down to the person consuming it to know their limit and decide if they will continue to feed their addiction, about one thousand dollars a year or twenty to thirty dollars a week on coffee, or kick it to the curb.

Happy Earth Day from Customized Performance, Inc!

Earth Day became officially recognized in the United States in 1970 and was celebrated by more than 20 million Americans.  This was a time in our history when the environment really wasn’t part of daily conversation!  A new level of awareness, changes in America’s use of toxic chemicals, reduction in pollution and a national focus on sustainability are indicators that we are making progress.

Our own focus on sustainability became a public one when we were awarded GS-42 certification for our Customized Cleaning for Health program by the U.S. Green Seal organization in 2009.   http://greenseal.org

Earth Day Network reports that 1 billion people in 192 countries celebrate along with us, so, from all of us here at Customized, Happy Earth Day, 2013!

Cold or Flu?

With the Mercury News reporting the first known flu fatality in Santa Clara County today, it is safe to conclude that flu season is in full swing. But, it’s also time for colds, allergies and other maladies that are hard to differentiate.  From WebMD comes the following:

How do you know if you have flu or cold symptoms? Take your temperature, say many experts.  Flu symptoms often mimic cold symptoms with nasal congestion, cough, aches, and, malaise.  But a common cold rarely has symptoms of fever above 101 degrees.  With flu symptoms, you will probably have a fever initially and you will feel miserable.  Body and muscle aches are also more common wiht the flu.  Signs that are more indicative of flu than cold include:  quick onset, headache, fever, aches, extreme exhaustion, & fatigue lasting 1 to 3 weeks.

     Get rest, stay hydrated and look for improvement over 2 to 5 days.          WebMD

From all of us here at Customized….To Your Health!

Hey Dude! Wash your hands…..

Hey Dude!

Wash your hands…….

We were asked by a client to make a presentation to their field personnel on hand washing hygiene….in fact, to encourage any hand washing activity!  The title of the presentation was, “Hey, Dude! Wash Your Hands.”  And, while we are not working miles away from the nearest sink with soap and water, as we get closer to cold and flu season, a reminder about this easy habit is good.

Why is Washing Your Hands Important?

Did you know?   from your fingertips to your elbow  – 2 million to 10 million bacteria are present

Did you know?  germs that make you sick are called pathogens

Did you know?  only 1 in 3 people wash their hands after using the          bathroom

Did you know?  under your ring there could be as many germs as there are people in Europe!

Did you know?  164 million school days are lost to illness each year in the          US

Did you know?  a study of 305 schoolchildren who washed their hands 4 times a day had 24% fewer sick days due to respiratory illness (cold) and 51% fewer days due to upset stomach

Did you know?  germs can stay alive on hands for 3 hours

Did you know?  damp hands spread 1000 times more germs than dry hands

  Proper Handwashing Technique

  • Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry.

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.

Hand sanitizers are not effective when hands are visibly dirty.

How should you use hand sanitizer?

  • Apply the product to the palm of one hand.
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.

 

Dude!  Wash your hands, and, stay well!

 

 

Cause A Disturbance

skipping stone.1Several weeks ago I attended a BOMA luncheon. This was BOMA’s annual meeting in which several people are  invited to speak on the “state of the economy” as it relates to property managers and  owners. The invitees are mainly Brokers and make up the panel to present their predictions. This year the panel was bit different from past years. This panel consisted of one-Broker, one-sustainability representative, and one investor; a refreshing approach. The Q&A was also different; rather than “lots of stats” the conversation was centered on sustainability and investment and very little statistical information.

I always try to walk away from any event with something that I will benefit from or makes me better. For me, the highlight of this event was something the investor said in his presentation. He said, “investors always invest in things that cause disturbances”.  This resonated with me and I have since challenged myself and the Customized Team to step out of the box of routine thinking and to be a disturbing force!

Making your Office Kitchen or Break Room More Pleasant to Use

The office kitchen or the break room is place that everyone uses. Don’t forget the guest and the occasional “would you like a cup of coffee” trips. What does your Business Kitchen or Break Room say about your company? It is an important question to consider as it may be speaking volumes to your visitors, not to mention the effect it may have on you and your co-workers that use it everyday.

Your commercial cleaning, or janitorial service may do the nightly cleaning of these rooms but they generally are not around all day during office hours to look after all the little tidying up that is often needed after each and every person uses the break room.

Here are some simple manners and common courtesies that should be kept in mind by all. Not “Break Room Rules”, just some helpful reminders to us that enhance our professional lives.

Be considerate

Okay, admittedly that might sound a little bit like dear old Mom. But think about it, everyone is entitled to some space in the fridge or a spot in the cupboard. With that in mind – don’t just toss your lunch into the spot up front. Take a moment to arrange your items carefully among others that might already be in there, leave a little room for the next person and their items.

Where’s my sandwich?

Identify what belongs to you. No, we are not talking about going to camp and putting I.D. Tags on everything, nor staking our territory as a specific shelf in the fridge. Simply marking your items will help to avoid any misunderstandings in the case of misplaced, discarded or wrongfully eaten food. That half eaten sandwich on a shelf may be something you planned to eat later but another well-meaning individual might assume it is a leftover that has been forgotten and toss it in the trash. If it’s yours and you want it, label it so others know!

Preventing Spoiled items                                        

On Friday, or if your day off is approaching, be sure to remove items that belong to you that will spoil.
Consider taking turns caring for the Break Room. Select someone in the workplace to be in charge of creating a cleaning schedule for things like dishes etc. that the janitor service might not cover or might take care of much later that evening.

That last cup of coffee The Coffee Pot

If you are the one that drinks that last of the coffee in the pot, it is considerate to make another pot. Or, if it is too late for more, make sure that the pot is turned off. What’s worse than the awful smell of burned coffee?

Microwave and behind that closed door

If you use the microwave to reheat leftovers, be sure to wipe it down if your dish has overflowed or sprayed around the oven. Spills that are left unattended not only dry hard and become more difficult to remove; they also create an odor for the next person who uses the oven. Another tip if you are the one that cleans the microwave. Take 2 cups of water and ½ a cup of white vinegar, heat on high for 2 minutes. All those crusty splatters can simply be wiped clean.

Crumbs and Spills

Little spills in the kitchen should be swept up as they happen. This will leave the room neat and tidy for the next person’s use. Tables and counters should also be wiped down. All empty disposable cups and napkins should be disposed of.

Hey! We are all out of water

Replace the bottled water if you use the last of the supply, or arrange to have a new water bottle put on the cooler if you use the last of it.

Hope this helps

These are just a few simple things that everyone can be aware of and perhaps be a little more pro-active to help make the office a cleaner, healthier place for yourself, your guests and for everyone.

Just In Case…Emergency Preparedness

Fall seems to be a great time for review of plans.  If it’s holiday plans, we have a reason for anticipation and if it’s tax plans, we still have a couple months for course corrections if needed.  But what about plans for “just in case?”

Having made the transition from hurricanes (East Coast) to earthquakes and fires (West Coast) only recently, it became clear to me that we really get complacent with the “evil that we know.”  Hearing of an impending storm while living in Florida, my preparations were simply to listen a bit more closely to the news.  I rarely took the recommended precautions of having food and water on hand, never considered evacuating – the one preparation was to have candles and matches and an oil lamp on hand.  I had lived through storm after storm with minimal effects and became “immune” to the warnings.

Shortly after moving to the Bay area, I experienced a small earthquake.  That was a first and it got my attention!  I was now paying attention in presentations on emergency and disaster preparedness, making sure I had survival basics on hand and for once, I had a plan. This is the time of year that I revisit the supplies, make sure that I am clear on how to turn off utilities in the event of an event, and just review the basics. 

Maybe you have reached the level of complacency regarding earthquakes, fire and the more common West Coast events that I had reached with hurricanes.  I hope not, but, if so I would urge you to just take an hour or so and review the basics (links below to some helpful sites) and make sure you and your co-workers and you and your family have basic supplies and plan knowledge….just in case.

http://www.redcross.org/www-files/Documents/pdf/Preparedness/checklists/Earthquake.pdf

http://www.earthquakeinfo.com/topten.html

http://www.ready.gov

Cleaning Industry – Size and Scope Alone Should Mandate Green!

  • Size of Sanitary Supply and Building Services Contracting Industries

Having worked in the commercial and industrial cleaning world for most of my career, I forget sometimes how large a group this really is.  In a few weeks the cleaning industry will gather in Orlando for one of the largest Tradeshow and Educational events within this business segment.  The ISSA/Interclean Show (http://issa.com/?id=north_america_2010&utm_source=hpb&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=NA%2B2010) held in conjunction with the Building Services Contractors Association International (BSCAI) Convention is expected to register 14,000+ attendees who come together for educational sessions and the most comprehensive look at what’s innovative and new in the cleaning world.  Granted, this show attracts from outside the U.S. but the numbers give an indication that we are a LARGE group!

  • Impact on Environment through Products Produced and Consumed

Stephen Ashkin, recognized leader and author on the subject of green cleaning, provides these statistics  in an article located on FMLink  website from March, 2009.   These products are produced, used and disposed of by the commercial and industrial cleaning market of the U.S. on a yearly basis.

  • 6.2 billion pounds of chemicals
  • 4.5 billion pounds of janitorial paper products
  • 1 billion pounds of janitorial tools, supplies, and equipment which fill approximately 40,000 garbage truck loads that go into landfills.

These numbers make a great case for a business segment the size of the cleaning industry to recognize the significance of their impact on Mother Earth.  Less chemical, more sustainable paper products and alternatives to the more “disposable” equipment, tools and supplies are readily available and preferable to the old standards.  The Cleaning Industry is becoming more environmentally responsible, but, there is clearly more work to be done.

 

To read the entire Ashkin article on FMLink, follow this link:

http://www.fmlink.com/ProfResources/Sustainability/Articles/article.cgi?Ashkin%20Group:200903-25.ht

Change

What I CAN Change 

  • You can’t change your entire life, you can only change your next action
  • You can’t change a relationship with a loved one, you can only change your next interaction
  • You can’t change your entire job, you can only change your next task
  • You can’t change your body composition, you can only change your next meal
  • You can’t change your fitness level, you can only start moving
  • You can’t de-clutter your entire life, you can only choose to get rid of one thing right now
  • You can’t eliminate your entire debt, you can only make one payment, or buy one less unnecessary item
  • You can’t change the past, or control the future, you can only change what you are doing now
  • You can’t change everything, you can only change one, small thing…and that’s all it takes

 

This excerpt, taken from Mike Robbins’ weekly blog was one I thought worth passing on. He said it came from a friend as an email and I’ll admit that if I had received it as an email, I’m guessing I would have missed it as I delete almost all forwards without even a look.

I’m glad that he didn’t miss it and printed it in his blog. It made me think. I’ve been guilty of the “grand gesture” winning out many times in my life, but, when you get right down to it….the next step really is the only one we can take. And, the one that matters the most. So, I wish you success in every change you undertake….one step at a time!

If you’d like to see the entire post by Mike Robbins, check this link to his Appreciation in Action column:  http://www.mike-robbins.com/blog/2010/09/what-we-can-change/