Phoenix has integrated DryLINK into iRestore to save contractors’ time. Users of iRestore can have their job information automatically imported into DryLINK and have the drying report automatically available in iRestore.
iRestore users now have easy access to the Power of DryLINK including jobsite data collection and remote monitoring. “We continue to partner with as many software platforms as we can to make life easier for restorers. We have heard over and over that restorers want our industry to simplify all the different systems on the market. This is another example of our efforts to do this for the industry” said Erin Hynum, Senior Director of Product Management for Phoenix.
“With this integration, it makes it even easier for restorers to send the documentation from DryLINK via iRestore to their customers and their insurance companies closing the loop on the proof you can provide to get paid faster” said Jack Lavender, Business Development Manager for iRestore.
This integration is an extension of our commitment to restorers to streamline and build the ideal automated workflows for their company and teams.
About iRestore iRestore is a provider of comprehensive restoration management software designed to empower restorers with the tools they need to streamline operations and achieve success. Built by restorers for restorers, our user-friendly platform offers a wide range of core functions, including Job Management, CRM, HR, Timecards, Scheduling, and more. With a firm commitment to customer success, iRestore strives to deliver robust systems and exceptional support to restoration businesses worldwide. To learn more about iRestore, visit https:// irestore.io/.
iRestore is a CRM and job management software program developed by a former restoration professional and computer programmer for restoration industry professionals.
About DryLINK DryLINK is the only completely automated jobsite data collection tool with remote monitoring capabilities, live drying reports, and asset management for the water mitigation market. The drying report can be shared with stakeholders for up-to-date jobsite information.
About Phoenix Restoration Equipment Phoenix is a leading supplier of innovative equipment and technology solutions for water mitigation professionals. Phoenix launched the first LGR dehumidifier, the Phoenix 200, in 1994 and continues to lead the restoration industry forward with innovations like DryLINK. Phoenix is a brand of Therma-Stor LLC, a company dedicated to innovation in the indoor air quality and water damage restoration industries. To learn more about Phoenix Restoration Equipment, visit www.usephoenix.com.
Why does Santa check his list twice? If we consider the practice of checking the list twice, we could speculate that there is a drive towards excellence and a desire to deliver legendary service. The list needs to be accurate and thorough; the list allows him to honor his commitments efficiently, and list is what is used to make sure that nobody is disappointed; so, he checks it twice.
Mistakes happen! Sometimes things go wrong and it’s not even human error, it just happens. When something goes wrong and we apply root cause problem solving which unveils that if we had checked our work, we could have avoided the issue, perhaps, there is a simple solution. Can problems be reduced with a little checking? Yes!
As a casual observation, when work habits include self-checking and processes that account for double checking things, the result is fewer errors, mistakes, and problems. As an ability, we may call it conscientiousness. Considering that errors, mistakes, and problems can have a ripple of disastrous consequences in our restoration organizations; it is deserving of some attention.
Have you ever wondered how someone gave you a message with the wrong phone number? It is likely because the number was not read back to the person who gave it to them. This is an example of a very basic self-check that everyone should be trained to do in the organization. When someone gives an email and/or phone number, you always read it back to them to make sure you recorded the very important contact information perfectly. Being just one number off can make the difference between your ability to respond to a loss and/or honor the commitment to call a person back or not. It’s a big deal and can be proactively managed by the work habit to double check.
As I walked into work one morning, I complimented a coworker on the speed and quality he executed in the reconstruction of a bathroom that experienced a water loss. He thanked me and qualified his response by explaining that he needed to go back that morning. He explained that the tank of the toilet leaked, and it needed a few parts. He had removed and reset the toilet. Since I had been pondering about an individual’s work habits and the ability to self-check work, as well as the supporting processes in the organization, I began to question him.
“How did you know the toilet was not working properly?”
“I flushed it to make sure it was working after I re-installed it.”, he responded.
“Why did you do that?”
As he looked at me with some dismay at my line of questioning, I answered for him, “Because you always check your work!?”
As I pondered, in over five years, I could not recall a defect or workmanship issue regarding the work of this individual.
I don’t know if he was specifically taught these work practices, if it is innate to him, or if he learned from mistakes; but I do know that I thought, what if everyone did that?
Equipment: Equipment would never be left behind. Even with the application of the software that tells you a piece of equipment is left on-site, if the person who installed it failed to scan it to the site, it can be left behind. A quick walk-through in the spirit of double-checking that all equipment is pulled can eliminate the call, “You left an air mover here.”
Repairs: Some trades lend themselves to easy checks. Install a faucet? Check that it works properly and is not leaking by turning it on. Some trades require the detailed eye of a craftsman: is the drywall paint ready?
The examples of problems that can be reduced by checking are endless as are the potential solutions. It applies to everything from field execution to office, administration, marketing, accounting, etc. Here is a brief list to get started on helping our organizations and teams to improve with a little checking:
Organizational processes can support and contribute to checking in the spirit of reducing errors. A simple example is a co-worker double checking, inspecting (and signing off as “inspected”) contents before they get packaged for storage and/or returned to the customer.
Reconciliation is a concept that is often associated with accounting functions. A bank reconciliation is a check and balance that everything that is recorded in the accounting system is in perfect alignment with the bank system. Any discrepancy is identified and corrected. Reconciliation as a process can be applied to many areas within your company. As a simple example:
10 water losses to be monitored
10 monitorings are scheduled 10 readings/maps get submitted at day end
0 Steps were missed
Culture and Training always have a global impact in our operations and outcomes. We can incorporate checks (self-regulation) into the training of skills and tasks within the organization. Culturally, we should celebrate and hold people accountable to their level of conscientiousness in the performance of their work and be prepared to coach and develop them on improvements.
A little time in double-checking can have exponential value in time wasted and service-related issues.
This is the first article of a multi-part series on employee burnout in the restoration industry. Part one introduces the nature of burnout and summarizes findings from a study on burnout in the restoration industry. Part two begins a discussion on things restoration companies can do to manage one of the most complicating factors for burnout among restoration professionals – workload. Part three advances the conversation and discusses what restoration professionals can do at the individual level to manage workloads more effectively.
Since the 1990s, experts have been declaring burnout levels are reaching epidemic proportions among North American workers (Maslach & Leiter, 1997). Since that time, most people would probably agree that work-related stressors have only intensified with the proliferation of metrics, technology, and the need to be “on” all the time. A recent study by Gallup (Wigert & Agrawal, 2018) surveyed 7,500 full-time employees in the United States and reported that 67% of the respondents experienced feelings of burnout on the job. Another study by Deloitte (2018) surveyed 1,000 full-time professionals in the United States and reported that 77% of respondents said they had experienced burnout in their current job. In addition, the World Health Organization announced it would be revising its definition of burnout in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases, effective Jan. 1, 2022. One of the primary changes will be how burnout is classified—this revision will involve a change in classification from “a type of psychological stress” to a “syndrome.”
Disaster restoration professionals operate in a niche of the construction industry that is inherently stressful. Their work often demands being on call and working long hours under stressful and dangerous conditions following fires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and a variety of other catastrophic events to structures. In addition, there are performance demands driven by metrics related to response times, project completion rates, customer service, and many other factors. Such conditions make restoration professionals more susceptible to burnout; therefore, it is important to understand the nature of burnout and how the effects may be mitigated.
“Burnout is defined as a crisis in a person’s relationship with their work, as well as a syndrome of three distinct feelings that comprise the dimensions of burnout: exhaustion, cynicism, and professional efficacy (Masiach & Leiter, 1997)”.
The reasons for burnout can be complex and are addressed at length in many studies and books that have been published on the topic over the past few decades. Many have debated the reasons for burnout, whether occasional feelings of burnout can be good for someone, the complexity of burnout and the degree to which non-work factors may contribute to feelings of burnout on the job (and vice-versa), and where future inquiries into the subject should focus—among other topics. While many of these factors are still being debated and explored, there are many things scholars and professionals have come to understand about burnout and agree upon. Specifically, it is important to understand that some industries have higher burnout rates than others and that contextual factors such as organizational culture and the capacity to cope with stress within individuals vary widely.
Regardless, there is much for an industry to gain by having a deeper understanding of employee burnout among professionals and to explore strategies for improving the health and lives of its members. The primary goal of this article is to discuss the nature of burnout, share findings from a recent study on burnout within the restoration industry, and begin a practical discussion related to how we, as an industry, can seek to thrive with the inherent challenges the industry faces. We hope many productive conversations develop from this article.
Restoration is a great industry that does great work for the great people of our society. It is inherently challenging and stressful, but rewarding for those who enjoy working hard and doing good work for good people in need. This article seeks to candidly discuss the challenges of burnout for restoration professionals and begin a productive conversation on how we, as an industry, can do our work in a rewarding, enjoyable, productive, and effective manner.
Burnout is defined as a crisis in a person’s relationship with their work, as well as a syndrome of three distinct feelings that comprise the dimensions of burnout: exhaustion, cynicism, and professional efficacy (Maslach & Leiter, 1997).
Dimensions of Burnout
The three dimensions of burnout help us understand the primary characteristics of burnout and provide insight into the nature of the burnout experience.
Exhaustion: The feeling of being overextended and physically and emotionally drained. “[It] is the first reaction to the stress of job demands or major change” (Maslach & Leiter, 1997). When someone is feeling exhausted, they lack energy and are unable to unwind and recover (Maslach & Leiter, 1997).
Cynicism: Leads to people developing a distant attitude toward work and the people surrounding them at work. In a sense, it is a defense mechanism that is deployed to protect oneself from exhaustion and disappointment (Maslach & Leiter, 1997).
Professional Efficacy: Relates to feelings of effectiveness and adequacy regarding a person’s work. Accomplishment is vital and it is important for professional development and self-confidence. As someone loses confidence in themselves others lose confidence in them (Maslach & Leiter, 1997).
(Sources of Burnout)
Equally important to understanding the components of the burnout phenomenon it is essential to examine the primary sources that influence exhaustion. There are six sources of burnout that mediate feelings of exhaustion:
Summary of Findings from a Recent Study
A recent study on burnout conducted by two of this article’s authors, Dr. Avila and Dr. Rapp, sought to explore the nature of burnout and worklife context (sources of burnout) among restoration industry professionals (Avila & Rapp, 2019). We distributed a survey that consisted of a demographic questionnaire, the Maslach Burnout Inventory, (MBI), the Areas of Worklife Survey (AWS), and a set of exit questions that gauged respondents’ turnover intentions. A total of 318 respondents completed the entire survey.
The results on burnout revealed that, when compared to other industries, restoration professionals were experiencing higher levels of exhaustion, cynicism, and professional efficacy. The researchers had not anticipated this interesting finding. The model, as discussed in earlier in this article, suggests that as exhaustion increases, cynicism increases, and professional efficacy decreases. Why would restoration professionals have increased professional efficacy when the mediating factors suggest they should be experiencing the opposite? Is it their resilience? While years could be spent studying this to find an explanation we aren’t going to be doing that. It is time for a practical discussion. We know restoration professionals experience burnout so it is imperative for us to discuss why we think this is the case and what we (professionals and employers) can do to mitigate the effects of burnout.
“Results of the six sources of burnout found that workload was the only source having a statistically significant effect on exhaustion for restoration professionals.”
Moving forward, an important part of the discussion on burnout should explore the reasons restoration professionals would experience burnout in a manner that is so unique and different from other industries. What factors do we think are contributing to this dynamic? Could findings on the sources of burnout help us understand how and/or why restoration professionals would experience burnout in the manner the study has revealed? Could the amount of hours restoration professionals work be contributing to them having a high sense of professional efficacy? Could factors related to the number of years they have worked in the industry influence their sense of professional efficacy?
Results of the six sources of burnout found that workload was the only source having a statistically significant effect on exhaustion for restoration professionals. From this point, the researchers had to look to answers respondents provided in the demographic questionnaire at the beginning of the survey. There were two primary data points in the demographic questionnaire where the researchers discovered correlations to workload:
Number of hours worked: Respondents self-reported the number of hours worked and the average was 52 hours per week; however, some respondents reported working more than 80 hours per week. As the number of hours increased, the respondents were move likely to report a heavier workload.
Number of subordinates: Respondents self-reported the number of subordinates supervised and this finding was negatively correlated with perceptions of workload. As the number of subordinates supervised increased the respondents were more likely to report a heavier workload.
While workload, in itself, can involve many factors, we will explore ways in which it can be managed effectively at the company and individual levels. In the second part of this series, we will start to discuss how to manage the burnout.
The authors wish to extend special thanks to the members of Business Networks who have graciously shared their experiences, NextGear Solutions who opened the door for public discussion on these topics among restoration professionals, and other industry professionals who have engaged us on the development of the study throughout the entire process. Thank you for the support, feedback, and valuable insight.
It is of critical importance that whoever is answering the phone in your restoration company projects soothing confidence to the caller who may have just experienced damage to their home, their business, their property or sometimes even worse…
The person who answers the phone may be having the very first impression of your company, and everything from tone to knowledge will have a direct impact on the confidence level the caller has in your organization from that point forward. In addition to giving empathy and evoking confidence and trust, we have to begin the process of interviewing. There is quite a bit of information necessary to effectively and efficiently deploy restoration services. A couple of tips to help you start strong when the phone rings:
1. Choosing The Right Words
Consider the use of a script and make sure that the person who answers the initial call understands their role and its importance. If using a script, choose your words carefully. It may not be best to have a default script that calls for an enthusiastic, “It’s a great day!” After all, someone may have had significant damage to their property, and their lives may have been drastically impacted. Likewise, the person who is taking the call should be prepared to answer a variety of questions and have the right information at their fingertips.
2. Classes and Training It is extremely beneficial to invest in office staff’s technical training. By having some training in classes like water, fire, smoke, odor, mold, etc., they will have an increased level of confidence when assisting your customers. The customer will find their technical knowledge assuring. In addition, having technical knowledge will help with the gathering and communication of critical information in the rendering of services. Overall, this helps with the company’s efficient deployment.
3. “Decide What You Want From The Interview”
Facts and Information– Collect name, address, contact information, preferred method of contact, date and referral source. Make it protocol to get phone numbers immediately after the interview starts in case there is a disconnect for any reason.
Insurance Information– Collect carrier, adjuster, policy, agent and related contact information. Was this loss reported to the carrier? Is there a claim number?
Loss Information– Collect the cause of loss, date of loss, extent of loss, types of materials affected and quantities of contents.
Other Information– This is any additional information that is pertinent to the loss or rendering of the services. It is good for all personnel to be trained to understand the concept of “meaningful contact.” All meaningful contacts should be documented and recorded. Examples can range from: “Beware of dog in rear yard,” to “A resident has a chemical sensitivity – review all products used with property owner before application.”
Read more on the art of interviewing the customer here.