Time off should be a comfort, not a punishment

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As I sit at breakfast this morning enjoying the calm before the storm that is coming from the AGMA/ABMA Annual Meeting, I couldn’t help but look around at all the busy families around me – we are at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Yes, some might say this is an unusual venue for a business meeting, but that is a discussion for another day. What surprised me this morning was that, at almost all of the tables surrounding my group of colleagues, there was at least someone on their phone and many talking about their work while their children inhaled the Mickey Mouse shaped waffles in front of them. This is the mecca of family-vacation destinations, and no one is paying attention to their family. Now, I am not going to throw stones; I have definitely been guilty of working while on leave, but has the remote working situation made work too available?

“A study by Passportphoto Online found 68 percent of people use their smartphones for work while they’re traveling, and 62 percent said the use of their device for work on vacation made it tough to recharge or relax.” (forbes.com)

Yes, remote work has created a flexibility for employees that some say is invaluable. For others, having 24/7 access to email and databases has made the work/life balance impossible. According to McKinsey & Company’s survey results, 87 percent of workers are jumping at the opportunity to work remotely (even at just part time), and 80 million people are taking advantage of flexible work, making it apparent that employees are preferring to stay out of the office if they can (McKinsey). Over time, however, I am very curious to see if, in future surveys, that they find people are working more than ever, now that their office is literally in their house.

One solution that an industrial startup implemented to kick this working-on-vacation habit was to fine those that engaged with the person on leave. “Instead, the company removes the vacationing employee from its systems for an entire week and fines anyone who attempts to interrupt their holiday $1,200, allowing employees to fully ‘unplug.’ No email, Slack, phone calls, etc.” (Industrial Equipment News [ien.com]) Now this might seem a little drastic, but if you want your employees to truly feel like they can step away, this kind of support could be necessary. In the meantime, for those who are choosing to check in while away from their desks, here are a couple things to try to avoid if you want to actually enjoy the money you spent to get away.

Do not bring your computer or work phone with you on vacation: If your work email is on your personal phone, remove it. We all know cellphones are with us all the time, and given a minute of opportunity, we will check email, texts, social media, and everything we can to stay in the know. Just don’t give yourself the ability to do it.

Tell your team ahead of time you do not want to be disturbed and have a backup plan for urgent matters that come up: Trust your co-workers or employees to handle what needs to be done. Many of us do not have our names on the building, so it is going to be OK if you let someone else answer questions – just prepare people in advance.

Be present with your family and surroundings: I am not trying to get all Zen on you here, but there is some truth that we have to condition ourselves to shut off from work. If you are worried about an email that comes in, you are just cheating yourself and those you are with from having a good time. Make a concerted effort to remember you work hard for the opportunity to take time off.

These three ideas are just to get you started. No one is responsible for your use of time other than you. If you feel like you never get a break, then my guess is you are enabling the problem. It is appropriate to stand up for yourself and set boundaries if you need them. If it feels like you can’t, then don’t hesitate to talk to your employer or manager and ask for help balancing – communication is key.

I would love to say I am going to end this article and go on to the theme parks and ride roller coasters, but I am actually here for work.

Upcoming Training Opportunities

What Bearing and Gear Manufacturers Need to Know About the Inflation Reduction Act’s Support for the Electric Vehicle Supply Chain

April 19 | Webinar

Passed in 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act provides a range of subsidies designed to promote development of the U.S. electric vehicle supply chain. The implementation of the act has not been without controversy, and many of the key provisions manufacturers need to be aware of are only now coming into effect. In this program, a group of tax, trade, and policy experts will pull back the curtain on this legislation and explain the key provisions and opportunities that are starting to reshape the competitive landscape for bearing and gear manufacturers.

Reverse Engineering

April 25-26 | Online Course

Reverse engineering a gear system is not too unusual a task, and in many, but not all, cases, the process goes fairly well, thus it is easy to become complacent. It is important, however, to fully understand the process and the best practice procedure for reverse engineering a gear system. Failure to fully follow best practice can result, at best, in an unhappy gear user, but in the worst case, it can lead to very expensive, time-consuming, and reputation-damaging litigation.

Advertising & Finding the Best ROI

April 26 | Webinar

Does advertising really work? Randy Stott, VP, AGMA Media, and David Friedman, Associate Publisher, AGMA Media, will go over the importance of spending a little money to make some and why a good advertising plan can bring immediate ROI. They will teach you why using trade publications, newsletters, curated webinars, and many other advertising channels are so important to get your brand name in front of your customer. Join us to get the inside information on how to start using all your resources today.

Gear Manufacturing & Inspections

May 2-4 | Cincinnati, Ohio

While function and rating are important factors in a successful gear design, to be truly optimal and successful the gear designer must also design the gears to be manufactured and inspected. In this course, we will address key factors in a wide variety of manufacturing and inspection processes to enable the gear designer to better design optimal gears considering both rating and the necessary manufacturing and inspection processes to produce the gears as designed. We will also help the designer to understand how to interpret inspection data so they can ensure the gears meet the design. To be clear, this is not a course in how to operate the various machines. Rather, it addresses the design provisions required to allow the gears to be optimally manufactured and inspected. The learner will develop a broad understanding of the methods used to manufacture and inspect gears, as well as interpret how the resultant information can be applied and interpreted in the design process.

Managing Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Compliance and Supply Chain Risks

May 17 | Webinar

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continues to aggressively enforce the ban on imports that contain forced labor inputs. Increasingly, this is affecting supply chains in the transportation and equipment sectors as CBP and some congressional stakeholders seek to hold automakers and manufacturers accountable for careful vetting of their supply chains. In this webinar, we will discuss the latest compliance requirements, enforcement cases, and steps that bearing and gear companies can take to ensure their operations are not adversely affected.

Alternative Marketing Efforts: Don’t Kill Them with Emails

May 24 | Webinar

Many companies market using traditional platforms and see a great return. However, if you are looking for newer and unique ways to expand your brand recognition and gather new business, it might be time to try some new methods such as content marketing, sponsorships, partnerships for events, and more. Come hear it from Membership and Communications Director Rebecca Brinkley on why these unique channels can make your brand synonymous with quality and expert-driven innovation.

AGMA industry events

2023 Strategic Networking & Leadership Forum

The 2023 AGMA Strategic Networking & Leadership (SNL) Forum will be in Fort Worth, Texas, May 17-19.

The SNL Forum offers robust, peer-focused networking opportunities to mid-level managers and next-generation executives in the gear industry, giving attendees new tools to use in a rapidly changing industry and economy.

The event features educational opportunities in business training through exposure to both leadership and emerging technology resources and hands-on learning with a tour of a future-focused industry facility.

This year’s event will include a tour of the Bell Helicopter facility, the lauded makers of vertical-lift aircraft.

MORE INFO  agma.org/events/2023-snl-forum

Calendar of Events

April 17-21 — Basic Training for Gear Manufacturing — Chicago, Illinois

April 19 — What Bearing & Gear Manufacturers Need to Know About the Inflation Reduction Act’s Support for the Electric Vehicle Supply Chain — Trade Webinar

April 25-26 — Reverse Engineering — Online Course

April 26 — Advertising & finding the Best ROI — Marketing Webinar

May 2 — Gear Accuracy Committee — WebEx

May 2-4 — Gear Manufacturing & Inspection — Cincinnati, Ohio

May 10 — Sound & Vibration Committee — WebEx

May 11 — Flexible Couplings Committee — WebEx

May 12 — Emerging Tech – Electric Vehicles Committee — WebEx

May 16-18 — Gear Failure Analysis — Chicago, Illinois

May 17 — Managing Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Compliance and Supply Chain Risks — Webinar

May 17-19 — Strategic Networking & Leadership Forum — Fort Worth, Texas

June 5-8 — Advanced Concepts of Bearing Technology — Rosemont, Illinois

June 6-8 — Fundamentals of Gear Design & Analysis — Oakbrook, Illinois

June 8 — Aerospace Gearing Committee — WebEx

June 8 — Emerging Tech – Electric Vehicles Committee — WebEx