How coronavirus has changed the cleaning industry

"Our industry will never be the same after this...we will be better."

In the 50-plus years I have been in the professional cleaning industry, never has our industry been more important than it is today.

Facility managers all over the country are turning to their cleaning contractors and janitorial distributors asking them, what can we do to keep our building users healthy and our doors open?

We are the only ones they can turn to for this advice. What’s more, this is going to change our industry forever. Going forward, building managers will know our job is to clean for health. Here’s one reason I know this to be true. A friend of mine is about to take a trip to Florida.

The airline he is booked with sent him an email about the steps it is now taking to keep its planes clean and sanitised. It also includes a video, showing people detail cleaning the plane.

But here is what caught my eye. At the end of the email, the airline noted that, “going forward, this is how we plan to maintain our planes. Not only is the safety of our passengers our primary concern, but so is their health.”

So how do we make sure our clients can count on us during this difficult time? Here is what I believe we must do:

Stay current: Turn to reliable, credible sources for information on (1) the spread of the virus, (2) if quarantines have been imposed and why they were imposed, and (3) any other significant actions or announcements from governments and health organisations.

Conduct high-touch audits: Now is the time to locate and document all the high-touch areas in the facilities you clean. Expect to find many you never realised existed. For instance: vending machines, kitchen appliance handles, coffeepot handles, railings on back stairways, and electronics used by multiple building users.

Review cleaning procedures: Along with using the proper disinfectants, make sure your staff knows how to use them correctly. Consider dwell time, dilution, and disinfection procedures (cleaning surfaces first and then disinfecting).

Connect with your clients: If they have not reached out to you, now is the time to reach out to them. Make sure they know you are there to help them through these challenging times and provide different ways to accomplish this including video calls if necessary.

Meet with tenants: In some cases, building managers may want you to take the next step and conduct short meetings discussing what steps the cleaning professionals are taking to keep the facility healthy. Do this and look forward to their questions. This will help you determine what their key concerns are.

Align messaging and signage: Encourage building managers to post signage in restrooms and key areas of the building. Studies have found that when people see these messages regularly, they conduct themselves accordingly. Here are examples of handwashing signage that can be used.

Remember, our industry will never be the same after this … we will be better.

Ron Segura is president of Segura Associates. He can be reached at seguraassociates@msn.com

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