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Redefining Commercial Cleaning

Updated: Jul 11, 2022

The pandemic has irreversibly changed the way we work and live, our perceptions of cleanliness and our behaviours with respect to other individuals. Can we really get back to normal? What are the implications of these profound changes on the day-to-day operations of building management?

Femme faisant le nettoyage d'un bureau

For more than a year, conversations about the return to work have mainly focused on the challenges and issues of attracting and retaining employees.


Very little talk is about the challenge managers face in improving the quality of sanitation and increasing the frequency of disinfection in their facilities to reassure users and meet higher sanitation expectations. Much effort must now be made and maintained in less busy spaces and by building service contractors that are also experiencing the impact of labour shortages.


Once a shadow trade, commercial housekeeping has been thrust to the forefront in support of COVID-19 public health measures, suddenly affirming its necessity and value.


Now, it is time to dust off the concept of commercial cleaning by changing old habits and giving it more recognition. All industry players must encourage new practices that will help improve the industry as a whole and the quality of our buildings and public spaces.


SHIFT TO PRECISION CLEANING


The pandemic has opened people's eyes toward the housekeeping industry and the role of housekeeping services in public places. In the collective consciousness, the cleanliness and disinfection of common areas are now linked to the protection of public health.


The primary objective of cleaning can no longer be reduced to appearance. The population is more aware and better informed and therefore the expectations of cleanliness are higher. This does not mean calling for extra work from the housekeeping service provider, but rather expecting the job to be done better! Not only do employees returning to their workplaces want cleaner offices, but they also want greener offices[1]. Meaning, offices that promote the use of environmentally friendly products, in smaller quantities and with less waste.


To meet the demands of building occupants and the growing environmental concerns of employees, a shift to precision cleaning is needed. The idea behind precision cleaning is to target the areas to be cleaned, use the right tools and products to effectively remove the dirt (germs) and then validate the work done.


PROVIDE HEALTH-ORIENTED ENVIRONMENT


Precision cleaning forces the shift from the traditional subjectively (visually) assessed cleaning to objectively assessed, genuine health-oriented cleaning.


This is what ISSA, the leading trade association for the cleaning industry worldwide, has been recommending for many years now, advocating the importance of Cleaning for Health! According to ISSA, Precision Cleaning is based on a combination of three practices:


  1. Avoiding the overuse of cleaning and disinfecting products

  2. Implementing effective training programs

  3. Use appropriate tools to measure and validate efforts


The measuring and validation tool become a key element, as it is an indisputable way to control the performance of cleaning operations and to optimize the ROI. Quality does not come from inspections; it comes from improvement! To allocate the proper resources, the first step is to obtain accurate data that will clearly indicate what needs to be cleaned, where, why and, above all, how to correct deficiencies.


FOCUS ON TRAINING AND COMMUNICATION


Continuous training programs in hygiene and sanitation for both housekeepers and managers supervising the workforce is an excellent investment. Not only is it important to train new employees assigned to housekeeping duties, but it is also important to retrain employees on the latest work methods. Training sessions also allow for the refinement of infection control procedures, with an emphasis on an evolving disinfection protocol tailored to meet the specific space requirements of your organization.


Multiple tools and products are available on the market. By participating in hygiene and sanitation training, managers better understand their needs, which also allows them to make better purchases.


During the pandemic, many facilities have strengthened their infection control programs and several have invested heavily in new products and technologies, such as sprayers and foggers. But the most powerful product and the most sophisticated technology won't get you anywhere if your procedure is not clearly defined or if the operator doesn't understand the device's function.


Chemicals also have usage instructions that must be respected and which may vary depending on the application method used and the type of surface coating on which it is used. There are many elements to consider, many concepts to teach, and much information to communicate and repeat to the teams.


If the quality of a building's cleanliness is based on proper training of the teams, the appreciation of the building's occupants depends a lot on the information that is communicated to them. In addition to training, information must also be shared. For example, implement a notification system to indicate if a space is clean or if there is a need for cleaning. Post cleaning schedules or frequencies in the most critical areas. Encourage users to share their level of satisfaction. Use signage to remind everyone of proper hygienic practices and to encourage collaboration in keeping the premises clean. This type of communication reassures building occupants while recognizing the sanitation teams' efforts.


GRASPING OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHANGE


The lessons of the pandemic must be applied. This health crisis has profoundly destabilized the cleaning industry. Today, it presents us with an environment conducive to change; an opportunity to redefine our approaches and modernize our cleaning and disinfection methods and procedures.


ValkarTech's multidisciplinary team is your ally! Our experts are ready, available and determined to optimize your operations to increase your performance and help you ensure the safety of your buildings.


We have effective and efficient management tools to improve and maintain a high level of cleanliness in your building. To the greatest satisfaction and well-being of your tenants, employees and visitors.


Contact us today to find out more about our diagnostic services, audits, training, and even compliance assessment of your protocols and chemical products.

[1] According to a survey conducted by Essity Professional Hygiene on employee sustainability expectations.


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