Posts tagged with "Contractors"

Home Depot ‘guts’ exterior installation workforce nationwide

February 8, 2019

Home Depot is laying off installation workers at its stores nationwide, the company confirmed to Business Insider on January 6.

The retailer says that its cutbacks will affect fewer than 1,000 people. However, if you are looking to buy and install new gutters, you may find yourself putting the work off rather than putting the new system in.

“After reviewing the installation business, we’ve decided it’s right to wind down our roofing, siding, insulation and gutters installation programs,” a Home Depot spokesperson told the business news outlet. “We’re only exiting these four installation programs, so we’ll continue to offer dozens of other installation services.

Home Depot’s website describes its installation services team as a group of professional installers who work in partnership with the company. The blurb also says the team has “a critical role within home services” and requires talent with “top-notch skills” and “a drive for quality and customer service.”

Listed responsibilities for the installation services team include negotiating contracts, contributing to the company’s growth, and working with management.

“Going forward, we’ll focus our efforts on categories that enable us to deliver the best customer experience, while simplifying processes and business structure for our stores and sales team. This does impact some of our associates in our installation business, and our first priority is to take care of them, as well as customers. It’s an extremely small percentage of our overall workforce, and we’re working to identify potential positions for them in our stores and other parts of the company.”

As the news broke, Home Depot employees took to to voice their dismay.

“The layoffs are happening at the wrong end of the spectrum,” one anonymous poster wrote on the message board. “Should have been a top down changeover.”

Another commented, “So sad to hear from my current/previous HDE brothers and sisters. I am from Los Angeles and they have hollowed out the work force here from salesmen to management to installers. I now truly believe that they see us as a body count and could care less about how many lives they have [affected]. The worst part is they tried to spin it like it was going to be better for us lol. How dumb do they think we are?”

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Hate to renovate? Now there’s ‘all-inclusive’ Block

December 21, 2018

One of the “home truths” we all learn—many of us, the hard way—is that renovations to our living spaces seldom go as planned. Not only are they pricey and prolonged, but, after the dust settles, undesirable aesthetics or shoddy construction can create misery (not to mention clashes with contractors and vendors).

However, the prime movers behind a new Brooklyn, New York-based company called Block Renovation are positioning it as the painless and penny-wise way to remodel.

And they do have experience providing premium products at relatively reasonable prices: Co-founders Koda Wang, former chief customer officer at Rent the Runway and COO at HuffPost; and Luke Sherwin, co-founder and former creative director of Casper, share an underlying belief that thoughtful use of technology can make high-end architectural details accessible to most homeowners.

Starting with bathrooms, Block is promising to tightly integrate “all the components of a renovation in a single, streamlined experience; so that getting a beautifully designed is an easier, faster, and anxiety-free process.”

Block launched on December 13 in the New York City metro area with the goal of providing transparently priced, all-inclusive packages that include architect-grade design, premium fixtures, and construction labor by experienced contractors.

“A renovation is one of the biggest, most expensive, time-intensive, and irreversible purchases you’re going to make in your life,” says Wang. “Customers deserve to have complete clarity of what they’re getting, how much it’s going to cost, and how much time it will take. This is why a modern company like Block needs to exist.”

Block works with vetted architects and licensed contractors to create premium bathroom renovation packages delivered for 25% less than the New York average. Block bathroom packages start at $15,000 and include design, drawings, raw materials, all fixtures, and construction labor.

Homeowners can browse available designs on the company website. They then will receive a free online cost estimate, along with the option to receive a sample box of materials to their home. After sending Block a few photos and a video of their existing space, homeowners receive a free video consultation with Block.

The company manages design, board approvals and pre-construction challenges. This simplified process is estimated to save homeowners an average of $10,000 for an equivalent renovation, three-to-six weeks in construction time, and approximately 40 hours of their own time that would otherwise be devoted to design decisions, procurement, project management, and contractor coordination.

The Block Renovation team collaborated with multiple veteran contractors and architects on flexible design systems that successfully adapt to 95% of bathroom layouts. Rather than constraining homeowners to fixed templates, the design systems allow for personalization of surfaces, fixtures, and even lighting quality. Key partners include Schiller Projects, Leong Leong Architects, and Kate Scott Studio.

“We are excited to partner with Block for this unique opportunity to reinvent the outdated construction method and better address homeowners’ needs while staying focused on high-level design,” says Aaron Schiller, principal and owner at Schiller Projects. “We’re providing greater access to architect-grade design with our combined expertise in built and graphic design, construction, strategy, and Block’s ability to increase consistency in demand by streamlining complex projects.”

Block’s first offering is the bathroom and soon the company plans to expand to other renovations including kitchens, flooring, and painting.

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60% prefer traditional offices to co-working or ‘open plans’

November 27, 2017

As the economy shifts to encourage the engagement of more contractors and fewer full-time employees, professionals who savor a sense of community as well as a comfortable workspace at a comparatively low cost—many of them Millennials—are increasingly turning to co-working providers.  But is that what they really prefer?

Top among the co-working providers is WeWork, a seven-year-old New York City-based collaborative space that offers such amenities as a loft-like locations, catered lunch, IT support, healthcare insurance, payment processing and more—and in doing so, has become the third biggest U.S. startup by valuation ($21.06 billion), after Uber ($68 billion) and Airbnb ($31 billion) and before SpaceX ($21 billion), according to a report by Recode, based on PitchBook data.

But there are a number of similar providers springing up cross-country—among them, Regus, Carr, and Spaces.

If not in a co-working space, many offices are turning to open floor plans. In fact, 70% of U.S. offices now have an open office layout, according to The Washington Post. And while these spaces are supposedly meant to foster collaboration; they offer a distinct lack of privacy, which can lead to poor productivity for those who are easily distracted.

And there’s the rub: Indeed, according to findings of a recent Civic Science poll, fully 60% of U.S. adults prefer to work in a traditional office space (such as a law office).

Even when the polling organization considered that co-working spaces and open office spaces are much more geared towards Millennials, it seemed that a similar story holds true: While there is a definitive correlation between age and the type of office space a person prefers to work in, the researchers said, most Millennials still prefer to work in a traditional office space. Only 15% of Millennials prefer an open office space – which is slightly higher than the general population – and only 13% prefer to work in a co-working space.

Despite this low preference for open and co-working spaces, Civic Science did find another interesting correlation—job happiness. In fact, adults who prefer to work in a co-working space or an open office space are roughly twice as likely, the pollsters said, to say they are “very happy” in their current job. Those who prefer to work in a traditional office space are most likely to answer, “very unhappy.”

Since suburban households have more room for a private office, it is little surprise that people who prefer co-working spaces are more likely to live in a city.

Companies might want to think twice before jumping on the co-working and open layout bandwagon. Although these spaces provide many benefits, and although they may be fun, it looks like most people are content with traditional office spaces. They might not be as loud, or as collaborative, but the numbers don’t lie.

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