How To Clean Your Office to Promote Productivity
“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned” -Benjamin Franklin
Our offices can inspire us to be productive, but a dirty, unorganized office can cause stress and can make a bad impression on potential clients. In today’s blog post, I want to stress the importance of clean office spaces and how to clean your office effectively.
- Organize any paperwork- Many of us accumulate different papers throughout our work day. By the end of the day, our desks can be completely covered, which can make it very difficult to find certain papers when we need them. Make sure to file any paperwork where it can be easily located.
- Clean Desk- Once all paperwork is filed and away, clean off any other items from your desk that you do not need or use daily. Also, wipe your desk to remove any dirt or dust.
- Eliminate Digital Clutter- Digital clutter can be old emails or any older documents that you've saved that you no longer need. Start with your desktop and move any documents into files where they are easier to organize and find.
- Clean Furniture- Once your desk is cleared off, use a cleaning product to really deep clean it. Dust any shelves or bookshelves and wipe down any chairs to eliminate any dirt or dust. Don’t forget to clean your computer! Did you know a typical office keyboard can carry up to 7,500 bacteria at any given time?
- Buy Any Needed Supplies- Take note of any dwindling supplies and replenish any things you may need, like staples, pens, or sticky notes.
- Add Things That Inspire You- Your office should reflect things you like and be a space that inspires you. Some nice things to add to your office could be plants, wall art, or colorful supplies.
Having a clean, inspiring office can increase productivity and morale, while also causing less stress. If you feel like you're lacking motivation, try giving your office a good deep clean!
How to Minimize Water Damage
Spring is the wettest time of year and though the showers bring flowers, it can also cause water damage. No matter how water damage occurs, whether by flooding/rain or a plumbing issue, it can be very expensive. The average cost of water damage restoration is over $3,000. To protect yourself and your home from water damage, first and foremost, it’s important to do any preventative measures.
The best tool against leaks and floods, is being ready beforehand. Below, I’ve compiled a list of a few tips that can help you reduce your risk of water damage in/around your home.
- Keep gutters and downspouts clear
- Check appliances for leaks regularly and fix any problems promptly
- When replacing appliances, replace the hose as well
- Consider installing water detection devices near your water heater, sump pump, washing machines or any other device at risk for leaks
- Keep a watchful eye over your water bills. A spike in the usage can give away a mystery leak
If you have noticed water damage in your home, the best plan of action is to clean it promptly. Water damage can lead to mold growth, which can cause additional damage and produce a smell. After several hours, some flooring and items will be unsalvageable if they aren’t properly dried. Here are some tips for what to do after discovering a flood or water damage in your home.
- First, shut off the water source. Find the shut off valve for the fixture or the pipe causing the leak and shut it off. If you cannot find or reach these shut offs, shut off the main water valve for your home.
- Do what you can to limit damage:use buckets or tarps to intercept the water. Move any furniture away from the wet area.
- Call your insurance company to begin a claim.
- Call SERVPRO for restoration help.
All About Red Flag Warnings
The National Weather Service issues many different alerts to keep people safe. While most people are familiar with alerts such as tornado warnings, severe thunderstorm warnings and high winds. One of the alerts that people are less familiar with is a Red Flag Warning.
What is a Red Flag Warning?
A Red Flag Warning is a forecast warning issued by the NWS that informs the public and firefighters that conditions are ideal for wildland fire combustion and rapid spread.
When are Red Flag Warnings issued?
They are issued when warm temperatures, low humidity, dry fuels and strong winds could combine to produce extreme fire behavior that is currently occurring or will occur in the next 24 hours.
What are some of the criteria to issue a Red Flag Warning?
- Sustained wind speeds averaging 15 MPH or greater
- Temperature over 75 ? or higher
- Relative humidity of 25% or less
Red Flag Warning Safety Tips
- Extinguish outdoor fires and never leave them unattended. Always drown fires with plenty of water.
- Soak any ashes or charcoal in water and dispose of them in a metal can.
- Remove any leaves, weeds, brush, firewood, and any other flammables such as gas cans, patio furniture, or lawnmowers from within 100 feet of your home.
- Do not throw cigarettes or matches from a moving car.
Are you Ready for Flooding?
It’s almost mid-April, and April showers bring May flowers, but they could also bring dangerous floods. Flooding occurs when water temporary overflows onto land that is normally dry. There are different types of floods that can occur, like a river flood, which occurs when a river rises above the river banks, or a flash flood, which is a flood that begins within 6 hours of heavy rainfall.
Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States and can be very dangerous: just six inches of moving water can knock a person down and a foot of water can sweep away a vehicle. Never try to swim or drive through flood waters.
If you are in a flood, find shelter immediately. Depending on the type of flood:
- Evacuate if told to do so
- Move to a higher floor or higher ground
- Stay where you are
Do you know the difference between flood warnings?
FLASH FLOOD WATCH or FLOOD WATCH
Flash flooding or flooding is possible within the designated watch area — be alert.
FLASH FLOOD WARNING or FLOOD WARNING
Flash flooding or flooding has been reported or is imminent — take necessary precautions at once! Get to higher ground!
How to Prepare for a Flood-
- Make a flood emergency plan.
- Prepare an emergency preparedness kit with a flashlight, batteries, etc.
- Raise furnaces, water heaters and electrical components above the base flood elevation level. Install a sump pump system to drain water away from your home.
- Seal basement walls to prevent water seepage
For more information on floods, check out ready.gov/floods.
Everything You Should Know About SERVPRO's Document Restoration
Some of the most important things in your home, like pictures, documents, and books, can be lost forever in the aftermath of a disaster. SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Heights knows the most important factor when it comes to document restoration is working in a timely manner. We work hard to recover your paper goods before it's too late.
Our facilities are
- Secure- It’s under 24/7 surveillance and mastered by HIPPA Master-certified technicians
- Innovative- We use the latest vacuum freeze-drying method, as well as gamma irradiation technology for sterilizing
- Digital: we use a computerized inventory system for digitizing your documents
- Flexible capacity- We can handle large commercial losses or small residential jobs
- Full Service: we offer a range of services including drying, cleaning/disinfecting, re-jacketing, digitizing, and deodorization
We are able to use our freeze-drying techniques with an array of content, like paper documents, books, manuscripts, photographs, film, blueprints, x-rays, and parchment. Our freeze-drying techniques are the same technique that the Library of Congress uses to dry valuable books and historic documents.
Have documents needing restoration? Call SERVPRO!
What Every Homeowner Should Know About Damage Caused by Melting Snow
The snow is melting! While we’re all enjoying the warmer weather, especially after the terrible cold we’ve had the last few weeks, the melting snow is leaving a mushy mess. While we’re all imagining flowers blooming and sunshine, we have to be vigilant to make sure this melting snow doesn’t end up in our homes.
The water can easily seep into cracks in your foundation that have grown throughout the winter and cause major damage in your home. To avoid this, make sure any cracks are sealed as soon as you discover them. Also, set up a good drainage system for any melting snow. Your gutters should be angled and clear to make sure any water drains away from your home into the street drains.
Also, checking your sump pump and water tanks is important. The excess water created by melting snow can put strain on your sump pump, so it's vital to make sure that it's functioning properly. Inspect your hot water tank as well, because the water can freeze, which can cause it to expand. This can cause cracks, leaks, or tank bursts.
If you have experienced water damage in your home, please call SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Heights at 1-708-453-3655.
4 Major Issues That Hoarding Can Cause
We’ve all seen the TV shows about hoarding, but we are unaware of all the different issues that can arise due to hoarding. So what exactly causes hoarding? The definition of compulsive hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of perceived need to save them. Because of the excess items in the home, there are many different problems that can occur in the home.
What issues can hoarding cause?
Air Quality Issues- Due to the decaying waste products, there usually is dust, odor and ammonia in these homes. These can cause air quality issues and be detrimental to one’s health.
Mildew and Fungus- Because people who suffer from compulsive hoarding have difficulty removing things from their homes, they also struggle to throw away food. This can lead to mildew and fungus. Breathing these things in can cause health effects, but they can also cause an odor.
Sanitation issues- People who suffer from compulsive hoarding also hoard animals, which can lead to an excess of animal feces in the home. This can contaminate pet or human food. Also, the animals may pass in the home, but never be removed, which isn’t sanitary.
Plumbing issues- Due to the large amounts of items in the house, there could be a leak in the house and it would be much harder to discover the source or even that the leak had occurred. This could lead to mold, which could cause health effects.
SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Heights is an expert when it comes to cleaning and deodorizing. If you or someone you know is recovering from compulsive hoarding disorder, you can trust us to remove any harmful materials and return the home to its original condition. You can focus on the emotional and mental recovery, and leave the restoration to us.
Top 5 Shoveling Tips!
As I write this blog post, the snow is falling...again! We've seen quite a few snow storms in the past few weeks and the snow has been accumulating. While the snow is nice to look at while inside the comfort of our homes, we do eventually have to go out in it.
I wanted to touch upon 5 tips relating to shoveling in this blog, because shoveling can be painful and dangerous if not done properly.
- Dress warm-This one is pretty obvious, but it's important to wear your gloves, hat, scarf and winter coat to stay warm while shoveling.
- Push, don't lift- Pushing the snow instead of lifting it will reduce the strain on your body. If you have to lift, use your legs, not your back.
- Keep up with snowfall- Shoveling when snow is first falling is easier, because the snow is lighter and fluffier. The longer it sits there, the heavier and wetter it will become.
- Take breaks- Pace yourself and take breaks, especially if the snow is wet.
- Stay hydrated- Drink plenty of water before and while shoveling.
Freezing Temperature Tips
We have had quite a few days well below freezing in the last week, and it looks like we’ll stay in this temperature range a little while longer. With this freezing cold weather, pipes can freeze and burst, causing a huge and expensive mess. I’ve compiled some tips for this below freezing weather to keep you ready and safe.
- Keep your home temperature at or above 65 degrees Fahrenheit- This can help the inside of walls, where pipes are located, warmer to help prevent pipes freezing.
- Check the location for the main water shutoff in your home- Review how it works in case you need to use it.
- Open faucets to let them drip slowly- Keeping the water moving in the pipes will help prevent freezing.
- Keep sidewalks free from ice and snow- This can help prevent slipping and falling.
- Watch for ice dams near gutter downspouts- Ice dams can cause water to seep into your home and cause water damage. Clear gutters of leaves and debris to allow runoff from snow or ice to flow freely.
Winter Fire Safety
Winter in the Norridge/Harwood Heights area can be brutal. While we heat our houses to stay warm, we need to be careful and make sure we are being safe. Heating is the second leading cause of house fires after cooking. House fires due to heating peak in December, January and February. More than a quarter of home heating fires occur because the heat source was too close to things that are flammable. Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires, accounting for 44% of fires according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Some quick tips that can help prevent home fires:
- Keep anything flammable at least 3 feet away from heaters
- Never use your oven to heat your home
- Test smoke alarms once a month
- Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or when going to bed