Workplace Innovations Work

by Helena Industries

  • Posted on December 6, 2016

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Document Destruction

At Helena Industries, we believe that everyone has talents and abilities, and when people with disabilities work alongside people without disabilities, everyone benefits.


At our vocational campus, our unique program, Work First, embraces the philosophy that everyone can engage in meaningful work. Work First is where our team members with the most significant disabilities work. Their primary job is document destruction where they confidentially shred documents for dozens of local businesses from healthcare providers to law firms.

A few months ago, our new Work 1st Program Manager, Richard Ferris, saw a problem.


The work stations for his team members were set up in a way that each team member had their own station, but they were isolated.  Richard knew if he was able to create a way for the work stations to face one another, team members would be able to interact as they did their jobs.  Social interaction is an important focus at Helena Industries.

Richard found a solution to this problem.


Taking an old table, he cut holes into the top and inserted the shredders in a way that allowed the team members to face each other while they worked. The positive outcomes from this simple innovation have been dramatic.

The behavioral incidents among the Work First employees have decreased by 60% and the productivity of the document destruction work has increased by about 20%.

This example serves as a simple reminder that a small change or one bright idea can make a big impact.


Interested in using Work 1st’s confidential and eco-friendly document destruction services? When you use Helena Industries services and purchase our products, you’re supporting our mission. Please call (406) 442-8632 or email [email protected].

You can also make a tax-deductible contribution this holiday season, encouraging all Helena Industries employees to unleash their creativity and create a more enjoyable, comfortable, and productive workplace for everyone.

You can donate safely and conveniently online or send a check or cash to: Helena Industries, 1325 Helena Ave., Helena, MT 59601.

Every donation matters. Thank you for supporting our efforts to provide vocational and rehabilitative opportunities to empower people with disabilities in our community!


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Helena Industries