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Cashews and Compliments: Keeping Your Cool in the Heat of Summer

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Article by: Certification News

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From the darkened back office of the Orlando-based Ameriscapes office, Owner Billy Butterfield sits taking advantage of this scorching Friday in early August – a company day off – to catch up.

A landscaping industry stalwart of more than four decades, Butterfield has amassed a trick or two, over the years, for remaining calm in the heat of his company’s busy season.

From his perch behind the main reception desk, Butterfield raises and shakes a small plastic bin of cashews in the air, citing an article he recently read which touted the stress-fighting benefits of the coveted cashew.

“That’s all it takes, just eat a lot of cashews,” he offers, with a wry smile.

A sense of humor undoubtedly helps as well.  

This year's wide gamut of drought, then torrential downpours have made it particularly grueling for his company’s roughly 50 employees work their way through challenges.

“This year’s been tough, because we started with a drought, and grass died everywhere,” Butterfield says. “Then, we had rain -- six inches of rain at a time.”

One way to ward off stress, according to Butterfied, is to plan in advance – way in advance.

“The way to keep your sanity is to plan ahead of time,” Butterfield says. “To make it through the summer, you have to have planned in December, January, February -- when everybody is slow.”

Butterfield adds, “That’s when you put on the good people, and you train the people that you had, and you restructure and you think about what you want to do. June, July and August -- you just do.”

Of course, there will always be those unexpected surprises, when it comes to working in this industry – equipment fails, oppressive heat, torrential downpour. Planning to the best of one’s ability, at least, provides a good foundation, Butterfield says.

 “There are things that you can’t plan for, then you just have to be ready.” 

Having a few extra crew members on one or two trucks could also help lessen the burden when unexpected staff absences arise, Butterfield says.

“You can move that person for a day or two if you need to,” he said.

Aside from planning ahead, keeping a handle on your emotions can also keep things from going from bad to worse.

“You kick the wall, you do whatever you can do, you eat cashews,” Butterfield offered with a grin. “You do whatever you can to keep your cool and you don’t show your stress to your people.”

Compliments to crew members who do a good job, and a community Gatorade cooler, Butterfield adds, also go a long way.    

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