Change is inevitable. But as the global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us in very real ways, we’ve faced significant change within our personal and professional lives. We compiled a few ideas to help us manage through it, and – dare we say it – experience healthy growth as a result.
1. Self-reflect. Introspection is spending intentional time examining your own thoughts and emotions. It can help you grow your understanding of who you are, who you’d like to be, why you made certain decisions, or why you feel specific emotions. Self-reflection enables you to move from just experiencing to understanding during times of change.
2. Connect with others. Human connection is vital to our overall wellbeing. We’re wired to regularly hold fulfilling interactions and conversations with others. Feeling connected can also reinforce a support system, motivate you, and reduce stress. This can be as simple as reaching out for a regular “pulse check” with your friends or teammates, even if it’s from a distance through video chat.
3. Ease up. You may feel a little out of control or overwhelmed when things change. You may feel like you are not living up to your expectations or that your mind is moving too fast to keep up. Ease up on yourself. We once read a great tip to use when things feel like they’re spiraling out of control – it’s to return to the present. Wherever you are, take a moment to identify a few tangible things around you and recognize that in the present moment, you’re breathing and you’re in control. A small step to feeling better.
4. Focus on positive outcomes. Change presents us with the opportunity to grow, so it’s important to acknowledge the things that have improved around us. Write down a few ways this season of change has impacted you for the better. You may surprise yourself with how many you can list!
5. Stay optimistic. Ultimately, it’s important to see the future through a lens of optimism. We couldn’t have said it better than Simon Sinek: “Optimism is different than positive – and it’s definitely not naive. Optimism is the belief that the future is positive, that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and we’re heading there, together.”
Leggett & Platt employees have been able to apply their sourcing expertise to procure important supplies and help keep employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. On a typical day, our Corporate Procurement Department is responsible for strategic procurement of raw materials for operations. They conduct feed stock cost tracking, negotiate contracts, and provide projections of material costs for our business units. “Our primary role has been assurance of supply, so a branch is never shut down due to a lack of raw materials,” says Dave Church, Staff Vice President of Procurement.
As the pandemic took hold, they adapted their mission to include additional efforts to protect our employees around the world. “Our leaders are implementing very important health protocols within our branches,” says Dave. “We’re working to support them with all the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need.”
When the pandemic began in late January, Corporate Procurement began sourcing masks and other PPE for branches on a local level. They met early requests by working with L&P’s global network of preferred supply companies. Unfortunately, shortages quickly became an issue.
After reconsidering their process, Dave determined it was necessary to centralize ordering to ensure ongoing availability, and we’ve been able to supply our essential workers with vital equipment during an extremely uncertain time. The team has been ordering general purpose masks, disinfectants, alcohol wipes, gloves, face shields, hand sanitizer, and non-touch thermometers. Long-standing relationships with a diverse range of manufacturing suppliers have allowed the team to purchase the items directly, keeping costs competitive.
Bulk orders are delivered to Carthage, Missouri, where the team fills and ships requested supplies directly to each facility. “Branch 0001 in Carthage has generously provided us with storage space near a bay door for incoming shipments,” says Dave. “We’ve even borrowed a few offices from remotely working employees for packing the shipments.”
Almost 500 PPE packages have been shipped to L&P facilities around the world in the past two months. The entire team is proud of the work that they’re doing — most of the recent shipments have gone to support facilities reopening their doors.
“I’m proud to say that we’ve never had to tell a branch we can’t help,” says Dave. “Even when dealing with shortages, we’ve found alternatives to meet the PPE needs within our branches. Our employees are doing an important job, and we are honored to help them stay safe.”
The approval of J.P. Leggett’s 1885 bedspring design by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was one of the many spring-related creations that served as a foundation for our company.
While he excelled in his knowledge of bedsprings, his inventive mind was not confined to this topic. During his lifetime, Leggett also patented other unique ideas, including an “Endless Necktie”, “Target Trap” for throwing clay pigeons, “Lid for Tea Kettles” and his “Motor Vehicle Transmission System.” (Drawings courtesy of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. )
When Deb Veronda learned about the shortage of masks during the COVID-19 crisis, she got right to work. Deb is the HR Assistant at our Sponge Cushion facility in Morris, Illinois, and she wanted to help make the office a safe and healthy place to work.
“When the pandemic began,” said Deb, “all I kept hearing on the news were reports of shortages of personal protective equipment. I knew I had to get busy sewing to protect those dear to me.”
Deb has used her own resources to make hundreds of cloth masks – not only for her coworkers but also for her family, friends, and healthcare workers in her local community.
“I love to quilt in my spare time, so I have quite a stash of material. I began pulling fun fabrics with the hopes of lifting the spirits of the tireless souls working on the frontlines.”
To recognize her efforts, Deb earned L&P’s SafeGuard Leadership Award for going above and beyond to look out for others.
And Deb’s outlook is inspiring. “I have always believed in kindness,” she said. “If we could all be kind and take care of one another, this world would be a much better place.”
This photo shows a section of the shipping room of the Carthage factory in the early 1930’s. This particular area was devoted to crating innerspring units on the Leggett-designed compressed-air baler. Innerspring units arrived at the crating area from the assemblers via an overhead track and were placed on the crating press (far left) for compression into bundles. The man shown on the right uses a wheelbarrow to deliver crated units to the warehouse.
With more people working remotely from home than ever before, we’re all finding ways to navigate this “new normal” and remain committed to our work. Here are a few tips we’ve picked up:
We talked to Cathy Johns from our Corporate HR team about working through various seasons of change throughout her career at L&P.
Can you tell us about your role at L&P?
I began my Leggett career as a general clerk almost 35 years ago. My dad was head of transportation and I’d help out in the offices during the summer. As the company grew, a lot of doors were opened to me.
Eventually, I earned my current role as the Qualified Benefits Manager in HR. Our group provides administration for retirement plans, as well as compliance and integration for all of L&P’s benefit plans.
This includes things like record keeping, calculation of benefits, assistance in setting up plans with payroll, processing paperwork, and communicating with enrolled participants. We also manage the administration of L&P’s Discount Stock Plan. All of this must be completed appropriately to ensure we aren’t being discriminatory and are maintaining compliance with a variety of laws and regulations.
A lot has changed over the years. At one point, the company had over 60 different benefit plans with many vendors due to all of the acquisitions we’d made. They eventually merged into 8 retirement plans, and we have a lot more employees taking advantage of them now.
You’ve obviously experienced a lot of change firsthand. How do you maintain a positive outlook rather than focusing on uncertainty?
For me, it’s all about perspective. With a recent companywide meeting, our leaders spoke directly about change. But things have been changing for a long time. As a company, L&P has been through so many different permutations over the years. Having experienced it, I’m confident we’re just in another season of change.
It’s normal to have feelings of uncertainty. However, it’s more productive to focus on the things you can control. Do what you can do, put your best face on it, and keep moving forward.
What have you enjoyed most about working at L&P?
I love a challenge. Every role within our company comes with its own set of problems to work through — mine just happen to be about benefits. The position is a great fit for me because I get really excited about working in spreadsheets. If that’s all I had to do all day, I’d be a happy clam!
Most importantly though, I see many unique qualities woven through the heart of Leggett. They’re consistent, despite all the changes we’ve seen over the years. You can count on things to be done a certain way here. Decisions are always made with our employees in mind, with our customers in mind — and with doing the right thing in mind.