Social Media seems to have taken over our lives. It’s everywhere you go, in everything you see and hear, and it influences most everything we do, even if we don’t realize it1.

Social media will likely become a larger and larger part of our lives, whether we like it or not.

If you currently have policies to prevent the use of social media in your place of work, it might be time to start thinking of ways to incorporate, rather than restrict, the use of social media in your offices. This is true for a number of reasons:

  1. Blocking the use of websites will typically look like a challenge to many employees, and they will spend more time trying to find creative ways into the sites they want to see most, rather than being productive at work.

  2. Employees use social media as a mental break from work when they have completed a project or need a breather from a task they have been working on. It can feel like a small “prize” to take a quick break when they have accomplished something.
  3. Restricting access to these sites because of a few potential abusers is a surefire way to make employees feel that you don’t trust them to do their job.
  4. Social media can be a great resource for work-related research and networking with others within the industry.

For those, and many other reasons, it might be time to jump on board the social media train and make it part of your current office culture. Here are some ways you can start integrating social media into your business:

  1. Create a solid Social Media policy in your employee handbook. This will establish ground rules for those using social media during work hours, and those who have associated themselves with your company on their social media platforms.
  2. Give your employees “Social Media Breaks” during the workday. This will allow your employees an opportunity to check their social media accounts without fear of getting into trouble and allow them a short breather between projects when needed.
  3. Encourage employees to check out your company Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. If you don’t have one/any – create them!

While a lot of businesses worry that employees will take advantage of such open policies, others have found that it has made their employees feel more trusted and more productive overall.

You never know, this could be the start of a beautiful relationship between your business and social networking.

1 PEW Research Center article:



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Survey Highlights

The average percentage increase in base pay from Spring 2017 to Spring 2018 for all jobs is 3.86%. This average increase trends slightly above the projected increase percentage in pay forecasted by 81 executives on the 2017/18 Salary Budget Survey last fall at 3.44%.

ORPS 2018 Illustration

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Vacation in my backyard

Now that vacation season is just around the corner, I thought I would revisit a past blog article and repost it as the reminder is likely needed!

According to the annual 2017 Alamo Family Vacation Survey, nearly half of American workers feel guilty when planning or taking a vacation, with an equivalent amount not using the vacation time they are given. Respondents claim they feel “shamed” by other co-workers who make them feel guilty for taking time off.

When I originally wrote this article, I reported about a ski vacation I was on with my family when my son broke his arm. Thankfully I don’t have quite as gruesome of a tale, yet interestingly the following year on another ski vacation, my other son lost control and ran into a tree, hurt his arm (not broke) and was transported by ski patrol to the med station. Yikes! Not sure skiing is the best vacation destination for my family. Maybe next year we can go somewhere sunny and tropical, like Cascade’s very own Jenna Reed who is currently ON vacation in sunny Hawaii spending well deserved time off with her family! Aloha Jenna!

Now . . . back to work!

Interestingly the study conducted by Alamo reports that “vacation shaming” is more prevalent among millennials. Findings report that these feelings of guilt for planning and taking a vacation is up nearly 10% (68 % vs. 59% percent in the 2016 study), with 40% (up from 17% in 2016) reporting that the shaming would keep them from actually planning or going on vacation. However, millennials also report that they are more likely than other generations to shame their own co-workers, up nearly 20% from the 2016 study. The study also indicates that only 1 in 5 employees will actually use their vacation time to get away for vacation as opposed to staying home and running errands, etc. (AKA the “staycation”).

Findings in a related article, “The State of American Vacation: How Vacation Became a Casualty of our Work Culture” conducted by Project: Time Off, which is an organization that studies American vacation trends, report that simply planning for a vacation increases vacation time used, significantly improving relationships at home and lowering stress. The study also reports that those who plan for vacation and decide ahead of time how “connected” they choose to be will have a much more successful vacation aimed at doing what it is intended to do: regroup, refresh and relax!

I understand the premise for sure, but because of where I work, I never feel guilty about taking a day off, or feel “shamed” in any way. In fact, I work with an amazingly supportive team who are always willing to help and pick up the slack when/if needed. That being said, we are provided with many flexible arrangements to either flex our schedules, work from home or coffeehouse (if that’s what we prefer). Because of this flexibility, I don’t feel guilty about working some while on vacation. I am extremely engaged and love my job, so to me, this doesn’t feel like work. Don’t get me wrong, I plan to take full advantage of the vacation time I have this summer, yet during times like Spring Break, because of the flexibility I have during my normal schedule, I still get the “recharge” I need, while catching up on a few things and staying in the loop.

Since my original article, I do believe that my co-workers (and myself for that matter) have taken to truly disconnecting while on vacation. We have all gotten pretty creative with our out-of-office messages letting those we work with know what we are doing, and that we are doing our best to take some time away!

Be mindful of that fact that we all benefit from fully taking advantage of the time off we are provided and disconnect as much as possible, not only for ourselves but for the benefit of our organization as well.

Let me sign off with one of my favorite out-of-office messages from Cascade’s very own Angela Bergerson:

“Hey, fellow Cascadian! I’m currently out of the office for Portland WizardWorld ComicCon! I’ll reappear back in the office Tuesday with what my hairdresser describes as ‘peacock’ colored hair and (hopefully) Jason Momoa’s autograph.”

Happy Vacationing!



Image of two planes in flight

The initials “RV” usually mean Recreational Vehicle, and while that may be an apt description of the RV line of kit aircraft, in this case they are also the initials of designer and founder of Van’s Aircraft, Richard VanGrunsven. Did you know…

  1. Usually known as Dick or “Van,” Richard VanGrunsven learned to fly in 1956 at the age of 16. After earning an engineering degree and while serving in the Air Force for a three year tour, Van purchased a 65 horsepower Stits Playboy airplane. He eventually redesigned and rebuilt the plane for better performance, renaming it the RV-1. And by 1972, Van’s Aircraft was founded in Reedville, Oregon, selling plans and build-your-own kits for the newly designed RV-3.
  2. Eventually the company grew and moved to North Plains, Oregon. But it soon exhausted available opportunities there, too. So in 2000 Van’s Aircraft moved to a new 60,000 square foot facility near the small town of Aurora, Oregon and remains based there today at the Aurora State Airport (KUAO). Now employee-owned, the company employs over 60 people (and dozens more in sub-contract roles), keeping them busy manufacturing several hundred complete aircraft kits a year.
  3. According to the company, virtually no skill is required to build an RV, as everything a builder needs to know can be learned “on the job,” by carefully studying the builder’s manual or by seeking advice from other RV builders. A more important requirement than skill is the right frame of mind. Building an airplane requires dedication, commitment, a willingness to learn and the ability to make and correct occasional mistakes.
  4. On average, it takes about 1200-1400 hours to complete a Standard Kit, typically over an 18-24 month period. Of course some kits never get finished, and that’s where dedication and commitment come into play. Van’s also sells a QuickBuild Kit that cuts the build-time by about 35%. In addition to purchasing the airframe kit, the builder must supply the engine, prop, instruments, avionics, upholstery and paint. Much of this is available through Van’s. For builders wanting to keep costs to a minimum, it’s possible to build a simple RV for around $45,000, but that’s doing some careful shopping, accepting a used engine, and painting it yourself.
  5. Van’s RVs are now flying in at least 45 different countries and kits have shipped to about 60. From a small farm in Oregon, these wonderful airplanes have achieved a global following. Not because of any superior marketing campaign, but simply because they fly so well and bring so much pleasure to their builders.

Cascade is proud to feature this member, a company that meets challenges with honesty, practicality, diligence and imagination.

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