July 25, 2019

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Middleton’s Volunteer Day 2019

Our 2019 Volunteer Day was a huge success! Get a peek into our Middleton, Wisconsin office’s day of service, which included working with the Clean Lakes Alliance, a long-time partner of ours and a cause we are very passionate about. The Clean Lakes Alliance is a non profit organization that works to raise community awareness of the issues facing the Yahara River Watershed, as well advocate for the welfare of our lakes and help procure the necessary funding to clean and protect these waterways. Our employees worked hard to assist in their mission to improve our lakes and our landscapes. Thanks to everyone who participated this year! Here are just some of the photos of Spectrum Brands volunteers at work:

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July 23, 2019

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Like Father, Like Son

We couldn’t resist sharing this amazing post from long-time employee Ron Poff:

“In November 1996, I walked through these doors to start my career at Tetra Fish, which provided me with incredible opportunities and growth. Today, my oldest, Any Poff begins his career walking through the exact same doors for Spectrum Brands in Blacksburg. Congrats, Andy! #ProudDad #Love”

A 20+ year veteran welcoming his son into the same Spectrum Brands family? What an awesome story. Welcome to the team, Andy. We hope you’re loving your new adventure!

July 18, 2019

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5 Ways to Disconnect From Work

One of the top ways to beat burnout–and some would argue the only way–is to disconnect from work. This could be on a nightly or weekly basis (or in extreme cases, it may call for a week-long vacation or a months long sabbatical.) Here are five ways to incorporate moments of disconnection into your week. It will help your work-life balance, your overall energy levels, and your productivity.

  1. Have a podcast, e-book, or audiobook on hand. And make sure it’s not a business book or podcast! Use your commute, lunchtime, or afternoon walk to decompress with something that’s totally not work-related. Mindlessly watching TV or scrolling through social media does not count! Fiction is a great way to escape from the reality of life, work, and the news.
  2. Incorporate silence into your day for at least 15 minutes. Consider a car ride with no radio–just your thoughts. Or a morning meditation session. Or an afternoon walk sans headphones. Just be with your thoughts for 15 minutes each day and take time to breathe in and breathe out.
  3. Set rules–and stick to them. A line needs to be drawn in the sand. What is work time and what is personal time? For example, “I don’t check my email until 8 AM.” Or “I don’t check my email after work until my kids are in bed.” Or “I only work on the weekends on Sunday nights.”
  4. Shut off your notifications. You don’t have to be the first person to respond every time. And you don’t have to be available at all times. You can temporarily shut off notifications at certain times during the day (for example, just by logging out of your email for 30 minutes while you need to get something done) or by permanently disabling certain notifications from your phone. (You’re bound to check it eventually anyway.)
  5. Don’t keep your phone in your hand. Invest in a docking station and drop your phone and laptop in that area when you return from work. Feel free to check in occasionally–but don’t always have it within arm’s reach. Out of sight, out of mind.

Image via Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr.

July 16, 2019

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Getting Crafty with Coffee in Middleton

When the Middleton office had a plethora of replacement coffee pots on hand, our employee Laura Voss sprang into action. She packed up 25 of the remaining pots and donated them to a friend. This friend just happens to be a teacher who used the coffee pots for a creative project for her class. The students were studying environmental factors. This was a perfect opportunity for them to learn how plants grow and to then have a beautiful flower to bring home to their families. Great idea, Laura!

July 11, 2019

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How to Get Better at Saying No

One huge part of beating burnout at work is being okay with one word: “No.” But I have to be a “yes person” to succeed in the workplace, right? Not necessarily. Those who guard their time and energy and consistently produce their best work will not only earn the respect of their coworkers but will also succeed greatly throughout their life. So how do you make saying no a little bit easier?

  1. Pause, and take time to think. Don’t automatically jump to a “yes.” Literally ask for time to think about it overnight or for a few hours, or even just take a few breaths before replying. Here are some exact lines you can replicate:
    • “Let me think about that for a moment.”
    • “I have a few more questions I’d need to ask you before I say yes.”
    • “I’ll need to get back to you on whether or not I can commit.”
    • “Let me consult my calendar and my workload first.”
  2. Get face-to-face for the final “no.” People might be more willing to accept a no in person or over the phone than via email. When they hear the sincerity in your voice they may be more understanding. But make sure that you are also willing to stick to your guns during that conversation. If they try to downplay your “no” try saying something like this:
    • “I understand, but it’s a hard no for me at this time.”
    • “I wish I could, but I can’t.”
    • “I’ve already run through all the scenarios in my head and I am confident that I won’t be able to commit.”
  3. Don’t apologize or give too many details. A firm no should be enough. Don’t give people opportunities to find a workaround or judge you for the priorities you are making. Here are some ways to be firm but polite:
    • “Unfortunately, I don’t have the capacity to take that on right now.”
    • “Thank you for thinking of me but it’s just not going to work out this time.”
    • “This sounds like a great opportunity but I have to pass based on my current workload.”
  4. Offer to help but in a different way. If you don’t want to commit but still want to be a part of the project in some way, try one of these responses:
    • “I can’t commit now, but my schedule opens up next month.”
    • “I’m sorry I can’t be a part of that project, but I’m happy to offer feedback at the end if you’re looking for an extra set of eyes.”
    • “I’d love to be considered for something like this in the future but I just don’t have the bandwidth at this time.”

Image via marc falardeau/Flickr.

July 9, 2019

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A Peek Inside the Culture at Spectrum Brands

There’s obviously one thing that all prospective employees want to know: What’s it really like to work at Spectrum Brands? 

Our culture focuses on four elements: Speak Up, Be Accountable, Take Action and Grow Talent. We’re building a culture that we love, made up of the right people – a diverse group of people whose varied backgrounds, education, communication style and experiences all coalesce around four common themes:

  • Speak Up: We face difficult issues head on and support others to do the same.
  • Be Accountable: We follow through on our commitments, act with a clear sense of ownership and take responsibility for results.
  • Take Action: We identify and seize new opportunities, and don’t let unnecessary planning bog us down.
  • Grow Talent: We develop ourselves and others through coaching, feedback, exposure and stretch assignments.

You can expect our leaders to inspire, empower, and encourage you as they apply servant leadership as our management philosophy.

Interested in reaching out to us and checking out our latest opportunities? Learn more at our Careers Page at www.spectrumbrands.com/careers.

July 5, 2019

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How a Few Key Habits Can Keep Your Life on Track

As we continue to talk about topics like burnout as well as work-life balance, it’s important to get real about strategies. Because the reality is that sometimes life is completely and utterly overwhelming. A new job, a big promotion, a new baby, an illness, or any other major life event can throw your day to day into a swirl. No matter how organized and competent you are.

So how does one possibly find success in a situation like that? Jackie and John Coleman co-wrote an amazing article for the Harvard Business Review outlining how to get through these hard times. It turns out that focusing on a few key habits when life gets busy is one way to keep you and your commitments on track. “Daily or weekly habits aligned with your long-term goals can keep you on track even when it’s hard to think ahead, and they can add stability in an otherwise unsteady time,” says the authors.

They recommend asking yourself, “What are the 5-10 things you need to do daily or weekly to keep life on track?” When choosing these five to 10 habits, considering mental and physical health, maintaining relationships, and building in time for personal and professional reflection is important. Learn more about how to choose these habits over at the Harvard Business Review.

Image via Steven Kersting/Flickr.

July 2, 2019

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5 Ways to Beat Burnout

Exhausted? Overwhelmed? Completely unproductive? You may be suffering from burnout. We’ve already covered the symptoms of burnout, the feelings that surround it, and how it’s different from depression or anxiety. So what do you do if you’ve identified yourself as suffering from burnout? Experts have given a few tips:

  1. “Prioritize self care,” recommends the Harvard Business Review. That includes managing your physical and emotional energy so you can overcome the feelings of exhaustion. Things like sleep, nutrition, and exercise need to be more important than work.
  2. Forbes says, “Disconnecting is the most important burnout strategy…because if you can’t find time to remove yourself electronically from your work, then you’ve never really left work.” Being available 24/7 isn’t healthy for yourself or your relationships. Take a vacation, turn off your phone over the weekend, or set a rule that you don’t check email between 5 PM and 8 PM.
  3. “Turn to family and friends for support,” says The Muse. Not only will it feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders but they may even be able to offer you some advice.
  4. Lifehack recommends: “Be willing to say no when you don’t think you can keep up with the pace or when you’re feeling overwhelmed.” Saying no and being more protective of your time is an important muscle that needs to be flexed.
  5. According to NBC, “establishing healthy connections at work” can help you overcome burnout. This may include asking for help, delegating, or finding a mentor.

How do you beat burnout?

Image via Geoffrey Roberts/Flickr. 

June 27, 2019

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Giving Back at Spectrum Brands

We love giving our employees opportunities to give back to the community. Our locations across the country have gotten their hands dirty helping out! Here are just some of the events we’ve done over the past year or two that have not only brought great results but have also put big smiles onto the faces of our employees.

 

Our HHI Team donating time to Second Harvest Food Bank by preparing meals and organizing personal care items.

Building homes with Habitat for Humanity in Orange County, California.

Working with the Clean Lakes Alliance in Madison, Wisconsin to help beautify our community.

Our Lake Forest, California office donating their time to the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks.

Donating time to Gateway Greening in St. Louis, Missouri.

Cleaning up parks in Middleton, Wisconsin.

Raising money for the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

Learn more about these organizations:

June 25, 2019

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30+ Ways to Add More Happiness To Your Life

Summer is the perfect time to focus on the good feelings that so easily follow sunny days and warm nights. How can you incorporate those same feelings of joy into your every day? Here are just a handful of ideas that make your day great.

  • Walk away from your desk and take a 30 minute lunch break either alone (if that feels most fulfilling to you) or with someone else (if you feed off other’s energy).
  • Cut out habits that interrupt your sleep cycle like drinking caffeine, reading on your phone in bed, or working out too close to your bed time.
  • Start volunteering for an organization that means a lot to you.
  • Sign up for an exciting learning opportunity at work or outside of work that will increase your skills or knowledge.
  • Take a vacation day mid-week.
  • Get up 30 minutes earlier so you can prepare and eat a fulfilling breakfast.
  • Set an earlier bedtime.
  • Take an afternoon walk: outside, inside, on a treadmill, wherever! Just get moving during the afternoon slump.
  • Set a meal plan for the week (including breakfasts, lunches, and healthy snacks!) so your grocery shopping trip can be more efficient and purposeful, and you won’t be grabbing unhealthy food on the go.
  • Mentor a younger coworker or ask someone to become your mentor.
  • Book a much-needed vacation and completely unplug.
  • If you’re always missing deadlines, always write the deadline as one day earlier in your calendar.
  • Add a plant to your desk like one of these workspace friendly plants.
  • A good set of headphones and a cheery playlist can make or break any day.
  • Surround yourself with a few of your favorite pics of friends and family or from your favorite travels.
  • Stay motivated and on track with a vision board that keep you focused on your dreams and goals.
  • Bring a lamp to add a soft glow to your workplace.
  • Add in a mid-afternoon walk and you may be able to kick the caffeine habit and squeeze in daily exercise.
  • Get some exercise before or after work.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others. Focus on yourself and your goals and accomplishments, and don’t size them up against those of your coworkers.
  • If you’re always late to work, set your alarm 30 minutes earlier.
  • Forgo the gossip. It’s ok to vent sometimes, but venting all the time just builds up a negative wall that’s hard to break down.
  • Choose gratitude. When things go wrong, think about what you’re thankful for. 
  • Hang out with positive people. Surround yourself with people who love to smile and laugh.
  • Don’t let the little details bog you down. Little frustrations, negative feedback, and unexpected challenges can easily dampen your spirit on a daily basis.
  • If you constantly deal with a low-battery phone, why not order a second charger for work and a third for your car?
  • Every day should be filled with a nice mix of friends, family, and you time as well as work and play. Find the perfect mix for you.
  • Start a journal.
  • Cut back on social media.
  • Instead of being jealous, start learning. Find inspiration in an idol’s career path or the bold steps they took to get where they want to be.
  • Not where you thought you were going to be? It doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t happen. Don’t give up. Having something to work toward is a wonderful thing.