Richard “Rick” Simon of Chicago has made a name for himself within the Chicago community. Rick is the president and owner of United Service Companies, which is the parent company of five subsidiaries that work together to provide world-class staffing, security, and janitorial services to their clients. Richard Simon did not initially set out to build the largest cleaning contractor of conventions and special events in the United States.
While still in school, Richard Simon began working part-time for United Service Companies; however, when he graduated from high school, Rick joined the United States Marine Corps, where he actively served his country in Vietnam. After completing an 18-month tour of duty, Richard returned to the Chicago area, becoming a law enforcement officer. Rick worked for both the Chicago Police Department and Cook County Sheriff’s office while continuing to work with United Service Companies on the side.
Richard Simon continued to climb the ladder within United Service Companies, until 1985 when he finally stepped into the role of CEO and president. Rick Simon has watched the company grow from its humble beginnings in an office in Chicago’s old McCormick Place in 1965. At that time, United Service Companies only had a few accounts. They provided custodial services to local trade shows. In those days, trade shows were a vital marketing opportunity allowing companies to introduce new products and learn about the latest trends in their industry.
As the trade show circuit evolved, so did United Services Companies. Under Richard Simon’s leadership, the company expanded into security to fill the need for private security contractors in trade show spaces, hotels, and facilities. Rick continues to seek opportunities for the business to grow. As such, Rick is involved with the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO), the International Association of Exhibition Executives (IAEE), and the Exhibition Service Contractors Association (ESCA). During his long, successful career, he has been recognized in his industry and by his peers, receiving numerous awards for his work. Tradeshow Week selected him as one of the trade show industry’s most influential people.
One philosophy Rick Simon has maintained throughout his tenure with United Service Companies is treating his employees the way his clients treat their guests. He is passionate about his work and being able to watch his employees grow both professionally and educationally. Whenever possible, Rick fills management positions with current employees. Every day, he gets to watch his employees flourish in their professional lives and appreciates the chance he has to help them develop their skills.
As a Chicago-native, Richard Simon is deeply committed to his community. He is an active contributor to the business and tourism industry in Chicago with a seat on several boards. Since 1980, Richard Simon has served as an active member, and chairman of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau now called Choose Chicago. He has also served on the boards for the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, Gateway Green, Friends of the Park, and the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association (now the Magnificent Mile Association).
Richard Simon believes in giving back to and providing for his community. Being a former police officer, Rick Simon has also worked to join United Service Companies with law enforcement, starting with the inception of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation. Now 12-years-old, the organization serves hundreds of officers in the Chicago Police Department. They support the families of numerous fallen and catastrophically injured police officers. They help these families cover living and school expenses, as well as any other needs that arise, allowing these families to maintain the same quality of life. Over the years, he has also worked with other organizations that support families and children, such as the former Maryville Academy. Rick is also a big proponent of the United States Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and the Chicago Police Foundation.
Keeping Employees Engaged While Working from Home
Throughout the past few years, innovations in technology have allowed companies to save money on office space and resources by having some of their employees work from home. Although financially, it saves a company a considerable amount of money and resources, it can be harder to keep your employees as engaged as if they were all in the same room. Thus, the following list includes a few ways you can begin to create a better virtual work environment for your employees.
Don’t Make it All About Work
Remote workers are often alone in their home office, and thus having to deal with work topics for eight hours can be mentally exhausting. It is recommended to add in a few nonwork-related topics to get everyone out of their auto-pilot phase. These can be funny but appropriate emails, group games, or even asking everyone to share a fun thing they did over the weekend.
For many years virtual chats were possible but often riddled with connection problems and voice clarity. Fortunately, today there are more than enough face to face companies that offer exceptional service. Replying through chat or email can become tiring, and thus a great way to help people remember that there are faces behind the computer is to utilize this technology. Virtual meetings can be a great way to get everyone engaged throughout the week.
If your company can afford to, renting out a communal workspace from time to time can be a great way to re-engage your remote employees. Communal workspace services provide a building where many companies and organizations share a space with some even allowing you to decorate your designated area. Having your employees work together once every couple of months can enable your staff to get out of the house for a bit and engage with their virtual co-workers in person.
Create a Healthy Competition
One of the first things that go when working from home is the urge to compete. Because employees are no longer around co-workers or the boss, their competition levels dramatically fall. An excellent way to bring back that hunger is to create and implement healthy competition amongst your remote workers. This can involve sales, clients contacted per day, etc. You can even recognize their efforts on a public leader board such as the company website or social media page.
All of these tactics can help keep your employees engaged while still benefiting from the savings of working-from-home.