Month: August 2022

Success from Anywhere at Hoyle Tanner: The Hybrid Workplace is Here to Stay

Success from Anywhere featured graphic. Background is photograph of leaves from Unsplash. Title of blog is overlain on top, with ocean water inside words "Hybrid Workplace"

Working from home isn’t as much of a necessity as it once was just a short time ago.  There was a time when nearly everyone at our firm was telecommuting due to the pandemic and given our talented team, we got really good at it. It made sense that going back to the way it was didn’t seem completely necessary. So, we didn’t.

Things have changed and it appears the hybrid workplace is here to stay. Gone are the times when every day our offices were buzzing with activity and most desks had someone working at them. The quiet that descended on our offices during the pandemic has lingered. There are days where many people are in our offices and others when they are nearly empty. We have team members who venture into the office each day, some who mix it up by splitting their time between the office and home, and even some that are fully remote. Flexibility is important and providing choices is working!

Being successful with a hybrid work model involves many aspects of the business including operations, information technology, and human resources – and maybe most importantly – our culture. Hoyle Tanner’s vision and mission are heavily-focused on improving our communities, and in many ways, we have been able to improve many communities with a hybrid work model. The reduction in commuting time has allowed many to be more present in their families, provide more time to volunteer at a variety of organizations, invest in their personal physical and mental health, and reduce our carbon footprint.

Paragraph sharing Gallup data is repeated in a blue box in this image, with an image of the ocean in the background.

Some interesting data from Gallup this year indicated that for all remote-capable jobs across all industries, 59% of employees overwhelmingly prefer a hybrid work option with exclusively remote coming in a distant second. Further, looking at professional services firms, according to Forbes by the end of 2022, 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be fully remote. That seems to trend with Gallup’s findings. So where does Hoyle Tanner fall?

A recent survey of our team showed, of those responding, 17% work in the office or field full-time or work one day or less per week from home. A similar percentage of our team are working nearly full-time (more than 90% of their time) from home. When it comes to those who choose to work a hybrid schedule a whopping 65% of our employees work from home two to four days per week and more than 85% overall are happy with the frequency of their interaction with coworkers. So, hybrid wins hands down.

Yes, people like to work from home but we also know that the in-person part of our jobs is pretty great, and we’ve missed it. We like being able to experience people in 3D, getting together for an impromptu meeting or just to chat about our lives and catch up around the water cooler. That is something we didn’t have during the lock down, and it is so welcome now. We want to make the most of our time in the office both for work and the casual get-togethers that somehow got lost.

So, the new normal is here and the always-resilient Hoyle Tanner team has made the transition seamlessly, and we are embracing the new opportunities that come with it! The team has proven, through our great success over the last couple of years, that we can truly have success from anywhere and everywhere!

The 4 Arsenic Filtration Options for Drinking Water

The arsenic standard for US public drinking water has dropped from 50 µg/L in 1975 to 10 µg/L in 2001 and, for New Hampshire utilities, to 5 µg/L last year.  An estimated 30% of all bedrock wells in New Hampshire contain arsenic above the new standard.

The Process

Removing arsenic from well water requires filtration, and the solution for public water suppliers can vary. The four filtration options include:

  1. Oxidation and conventional gravity or pressure filtration when combined with iron either naturally occurring or added
  2. Iron- or titanium-based adsorption media which is replaced when exhausted
  3. Anion exchange media which often requires pre-oxidation and is regenerated regularly with a brine solution backwash
  4. Membrane filtration

All filter systems generate a waste product whether it’s spent media for off-site disposal or a liquid waste stream containing the contaminants removed (typically discharged to a wastewater treatment facility). Arsenic often is not the only contaminant to be removed, so the approach to filtration could involve multiple unit processes. Although PFAS, for example, is another anion that can potentially be removed with arsenic in the same process.

Once Arsenic is Isolated

After removing arsenic from drinking water, there is no economical means to recover it and put it to use. This is unfortunate, since arsenic is a critical manufacturing ingredient for semiconductors, solar cells, optical materials and certain biomedical applications. (China provides about 90% of the arsenic used in the US, so a domestic source would help.)

Arsenic is famous not only for its benefits, but also for its history. From the time of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance, arsenic was the poison of choice. There are indications it may have been used even earlier, but records are conflicting. Its reputation was perhaps improved in 1910 when Paul Ehrlich, the father of modern-day pharmacology, developed arsphenamine – an arsenic-based drug highly effective in treating syphilis which was wide-spread and incurable at the time. (Penicillin replaced it in the 1940s.) In addition to its important history in medicine, arsenic has a physical beauty: The next time you enjoy fireworks, think of the arsenic adding the blue color to the pyrotechnics.

How We can Help

Hoyle Tanner is assisting several New Hampshire water utilities to determine the most reliable, lowest cost solution for meeting the arsenic Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs). One system we’ve worked with was able to lower the arsenic by modifying their wellfield operation and compliance sampling protocol. For another system, we are investigating how to improve the performance of their existing filter system to achieve better results. Consideration of these options, along with others that have included outside water purchases and participation in regional water supply approaches, will depend on the specific aspects of each water system. 

Of all the services provided by towns, cities and public and investor-owned utilities, drinking water is arguably the most critical. We drink it and are concerned with its quality and health effects. We rely on it for fire protection. Public confidence in and reliability of our drinking water systems are primary goals of public and private water suppliers across the US. Hoyle Tanner places the highest priority on helping our clients meet those goals. Reach out to me if your community needs expert engineers to improve water quality.