My wife and I recently sanded and refinished the wood floors in our home. For the second time. In two years.
To the best of our knowledge, we followed all the proper steps the first time we took on this very labor-intensive project. Our house was only 12 years old, but kids and dogs had definitely taken a toll on the floors, and the mahogany stain – beautiful and stylish when the house was new – now looked dated and didn’t fit the light and airy vibe my wife was looking for. Neither of us had ever undertaken this type of project, but we did our research, rented all the recommended equipment – drum sander, edge sander, etc. – and enthusiastically got to work. We were delighted when the initial sanding revealed the beautiful light maple beneath the orangey stain, and quickly decided that we would simply seal and varnish our new floors for a natural look. Envisioning how the finished product would completely transform the style and feel of our home kept our enthusiasm high, even though the work was exhausting, our kitchen was unusable, and dust, of course, was everywhere.
But by two weeks in, our enthusiasm was seriously waning. With all our research, we never considered the possibility of uneven and (worse!) bowed floorboards; or, more significantly, that this would pose a problem when it came to sanding them. But under the dark mahogany stain – due to a combination of our house settling and the builders having skimped on the support struts – that’s exactly what confronted us. And our rented equipment, in our semi-skilled hands, was proving remarkably ineffectual at dealing with them. With nothing but a drum sander and an edger to work with, we couldn’t sufficiently smooth out one area without causing divots or dents in another area. My wife, who loves her orbital palm sander, said at some point that what we really needed was an orbital floor sander. Did such a thing exist? We looked online and found one for sale, but nothing like it for rent anywhere near us. By this point, we had already spent much more time than originally anticipated, and we had our jobs and other projects to get back to. Worn out and frustrated, we decided that the sanding was “good enough” and moved on to sealing and varnishing. Upon completion, the floors looked good, but not great because – as we realized later – there were patchy looking areas where the grain was still raised and thus didn’t take the final finish the same as the rest of the floor.
Two years later, we had to do some repair work where a friend’s dog damaged some floorboards. We went to the tool rental place we had used the first time and discovered they now had a random orbital floor sander. This one tool would have allowed us to complete our first project much quicker and easier, and with better results. We ended up using it not just to repair the newly damaged boards, but also to redo portions of the rest of the floor. And now the floors look great.
Prior to founding the Mobile-Shop Company eighteen years ago, I worked in maintenance and property management for over a decade, and I immediately understood the value the Mobile-Shop would bring to property maintenance teams. I had witnessed maintenance technicians who took too long to complete repairs because – through no fault of their own – they spent too much time walking back and forth to retrieve needed tools. Many technicians weren’t even provided the necessary tools to perform their jobs; they were simply expected to “make do” with the tools that they brought with them. And I witnessed technicians who felt undervalued and became increasingly unmotivated to perform their jobs to the best of their ability.
Against the backdrop of the modern workplace, which includes massive resignations and ongoing attempts to retain and attract new team members, we can’t keep telling valuable employees to work harder, and faster. Business leaders and managers are charged with maintaining and increasing job satisfaction for their employees or put extra time and energy into finding and training new ones. And on and on.
Having the proper tools for the job, where you need them, and when you need them greatly increases the amount of work you can get done in a given day. It does this by helping certain tasks go quicker and, as a result, giving you the ability to make the most of each working minute. It also puts less physical strain on the worker and enhances workplace safety.
When your employees don’t have the tools they need, it forces them to waste valuable time locating them or get creative and use what they have to the best of their ability. Not only will they not be able to perform in the ways you need them to, but they won’t have a positive relationship with their work. This can greatly hurt productivity in your workplace, which hurts your organization’s bottom line.
Whatever industry you are in, and whatever type of facility, a professional, effective, and responsive maintenance staff is a necessary component to the success of your organization. Give them the tools they need to do their jobs successfully in a timely manner, and they will reward you for it.