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Life@Leggett

Throwback Thursday: Leggett’s Inventions

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. )

 

 

 

 

Making a Difference, One Mask at a Time

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.”

Thank you, Deb!

Throwback Thursday: Preparing for Shipment

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.

Top 5 Productivity Tips for Remote Workers

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:

  1. Establish Your Space: If you don’t have a dedicated workspace, your entire house will end up becoming your office. Take time to create a clean and organized area for work, even if it’s at the dining room table. Setting a few boundaries with family can minimize distractions when you’re in your spot. If not, invest in some noise-cancelling headphones.
  2. Set Your Hours. By now you’re probably starting to see patterns in your productivity. While you should always be available for workday meetings, a flexible schedule may help you maintain your momentum. Create a (manager-approved) schedule that works for you, then stick with it!
  3. Keep Connecting. Talk to someone every day, but not just about work. Regular communication among team members is necessary to keep projects moving forward. However, ensuring that your coworkers feel engaged is just as important. To create an even better connection, share your video – and your smile!
  4. Prioritize… Then Unplug. Many managers fear their employees will slack off without oversight. In fact, remote workers tend to have a really hard time disconnecting. Challenge yourself with small goals each day to maintain productivity. Just be sure to take your time off seriously too, or you’ll risk burnout.
  5. Take Care of You. Most people aren’t productive in their pajamas. Take time to shower and put on clean “work clothes” (a slouchy tee is fine) before opening your laptop. Eat healthy meals, drink plenty of water, replace your commute with an afternoon walk, and get plenty of sleep. When you feel your best, it’s much easier to maintain a positive perspective.

Choosing Positivity Amidst Change

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.

Finding Ways to Help During the COVID-19 Crisis: Our Team at Genesis Seating

As people around the world are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, many are finding opportunities to step up and provide help, assistance, and resources in a great time of need. Our team at Genesis Seating is doing just that.

Genesis Seating in Kentwood, Michigan, typically produces upholstery for furniture. They’re now making cloth face masks for Spectrum Health, government and non-profit health care organizations.

“We started production this week and are hoping to produce roughly 80,000 masks for Spectrum,” said Kevin Kuske, Genesis Seating Private-Label President.

“We did not need to retool any equipment, but we did need to work with Steelcase and Spectrum to develop a design, source materials that do not conflict with other health care supply chains and train our sewing team to make these masks. We are bringing back to work employee volunteers to staff this effort.”

Kuske said employees greeted the opportunity with enthusiasm.

“Our team was ecstatic to help out,” he said. “Many of them have family members and friends who work for Spectrum and other health care groups and they want them protected. We all want to feel like we are helping bring this crisis to an end, and this is the part we can play to help protect those on the front line who are putting their health at risk every day to care for those in need.”

This story was originally written and published by Spectrum Health Beat.

A Statement from L&P

Leggett & Platt is proud to join with many other US manufacturers to assist with the response to COVID-19. Between our foam lab producing hand sanitizer, furniture operations creating cloth face masks, and bedding facilities supplying both components and finished mattresses for emergency use, L&P employees are providing innovative solutions to meet the urgent supply needs.

“L&P is a critical supplier of wire components to US N95 mask producers,” explains Karl Glassman, CEO. “But, where they are able, our teams are doing so much more. We’ve redeployed raw materials for use by our branches and other companies in the manufacture of critical products, including the supply of foam bands used on face shields and the fabric required for many hospital applications.”

The Company is also partnering with other US mattress producers, which collectively have the ability to manufacture and deliver more than 400,000 mattresses a week for potential emergency use during the COVID-19 crisis. L&P is using its mattress and components production capabilities to aid US mattress producers in fulfilling urgent needs in states all across the country.

“No one person or company can do everything,” adds Glassman. “But if we all do what we are able, we can accomplish big things together.”

US mattress manufacturers have reached out to the Administration and various local governments and hospitals to determine where needs exist and they stand ready to meet those needs. Click here to read more about what some of the US mattress producers are doing.

Finding Ways to Help During the COVID-19 Crisis: Our Team at Peterson Chemicals

During these difficult times spent in isolation, it isn’t always easy to find ways to connect to each other and our communities. Despite this, our team at Peterson Chemicals in Fort Smith, Arkansas, found themselves in a unique position to give back to their fellow employees.

After learning about the nationwide shortage of hand sanitizer, the team got to work to find out how they could help.

As a chemical manufacturer, they recognized their ability to produce hand sanitizer in bulk, and they proactively took on this extra effort while still being able to provide other inputs to the supply chain. A team of about 10 employees significantly contributed to the hand sanitizer project, researching formulas, accessing chemical components, performing lab work, and becoming Hazmat certified to ship product all over the country.

In just one week, the branch moved from having never manufactured hand sanitizer to completing their first 40-gallon batch!

Their first several batches are being shipped domestically to internal L&P branches. The team at Peterson worked closely with our L&P Procurement team to gather details and materials for the shipping process. The Procurement team quickly helped secure hand pumps, containers, and shipping materials.

Having now completed the first few batches, the team at Peterson Chemicals is currently working with our L&P Legal Department to fast-track FDA registration for the product, which would allow them to also donate to the community and offer the product to hospitals, nursing homes, and other places in need of hand sanitizer.

Although their team is small, the work they’re doing for others is monumental. According to Product and Marketing Manager Courtney Hironaka, their goal is to do as much as they can. “This is a perfect example of teamwork and how much everyone here really cares about making an impact,” she says. Thank you to our Peterson Chemicals team for all you’re doing to keep us healthy!