The pandemic that has swept the world will have a long-lasting effect on commercial cleaning policies and procedures. Here are some changes you can expect.
It’s hard to remember how simple life was not so long ago. We ran to the grocery store, went to work on-site, assembled in groups, and did all sorts of ordinary things. Since then, COVID-19 has changed everything, including commercial cleaning policies and procedures. Unlike other world-altering events in our lifetime, some of the changes brought about by the pandemic are likely here to stay.
While most businesses have had to adapt to a new way of life, from working remotely to socially-distancing offices to providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees, commercial cleaning operations may be one of the industries hardest hit with change. For the longest time, the public assumed the only mission of a building’s cleaning staff was to create a clean and presentable environment. With COVID-19 in our midst, the stakes are higher. The public is realizing it’s not just everyday health and presentation on the line, it’s life itself.
But as with all of human history, we’re adapting. Life has changed, and we’re all getting used to that. Commercial cleaning policies and procedures are still evolving, and will likely continue to change as the crisis develops. It’s essential now more than ever that cleaning operations know how to keep their customers and employees safe as the world gets back to work amid a global pandemic.
Janitorial Manager can help you enhance safety for both your clients and your employees. Find out more by scheduling a free demo today!
A new approach to commercial cleaning policies and procedures
The presence of COVID-19 requires a new, innovative approach to commercial cleaning. Basics, like wearing gloves and disinfecting surfaces, isn’t enough anymore. Commercial cleaning policies and procedures need to reflect the nuances that the virus brings about, the extra steps we all now must take to protect ourselves. For example, you can’t just use any old disinfectant. Only EPA-approved cleaning products ensure that an area is left free of germs that can cause COVID-19. And spraying disinfectant on a surface and wiping it down won’t necessarily get the job done, either. EPA-approved products can take anywhere from 2-10 minutes to disinfect a surface thoroughly. That means that not only will jobs require more attention to detail, but they’ll also likely take longer unless your employees have already been adhering to contact time.
There’s news that’s both good and bad about this new approach to commercial cleaning policies and procedures. The good: You don’t have to fly blind. Federal, state, and in some cases, local governments are outlining and updating procedures for keeping commercial environments clean enough to be safe from COVID-19. The bad: Keeping track of all of those different regulations can be tough. If you only operate in a single state or region, it might not be so bad, but if you have clients across the US, you’ll need to do your homework on what’s required, what’s recommended, and what’s permitted across all of your territories. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and your state Department of Health should be good places to start.
Now more than ever, commercial cleaning policies and procedures must reflect one of the most useful ways to combat COVID-19, and that is cleaning frequency. Previously, most commercial properties were cleaned once a day, perhaps with a short stop-in midday to empty trash bins or clean the kitchen. In most cases, that’s no longer enough. Current CDC guidance is that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 may remain on surfaces for hours to days, though more research is still necessary. As such, surfaces are ideally cleaned multiple times a day, which will increase the budget at facilities that are probably already facing financial woes. (Multiple visits logically means higher costs.) Even when you justify and validate the increased expense, you’ll want your cleaning crews to keep close track of what’s being cleaned and when. Setting, following, and recording a cleaning schedule may be useful here.
We need to be more mindful of many of the things we used to take for granted as cleaners. For example, vacuuming a commercial space while people are inside it may increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission as the vacuum kicks up particles and dirt from the floor. Public spaces should be empty while your team is in there cleaning.
Changing gloves, masks, and face shields regularly will be critical in helping to keep your staff safe. One change per shift won’t be enough anymore. PPE should be changed, especially gloves, as often as possible during a shift, not just at the end or when something becomes soiled.
Your commercial cleaning policies and procedures may also include a hazard assessment of each new job specific to COVID-19. You may already do risk assessments, but now they need to be updated to accurately look at scenarios that may be hotbeds for the virus.
There are a lot of new commercial cleaning policies and procedures to review. Everything from getting more detailed in your cleaning practices to training and protecting your employees to increased documentation and communication of your services to reflect this new world of cleaning all need to be examined and updated accordingly.
In light of the pandemic, cleaning operations need to reevaluate the products they use, the time it takes to complete a job, the precautions they’re taking prior to ever even stepping on the job site, the mandates and guidelines put out by government health agencies, and so much more.
On the plus side, we know change is possible. We’ve already seen so much of it since the COVID-19 outbreak, and we’ll continue to see various ways in which businesses and consumers adapt to a new normal. The cleaning industry needs to be a pioneer of this change. It is, after all, cleaning operations like yours that are on the front-lines of getting back to regular life. Without the commercial cleaning industry, businesses would be at a loss for how to clean and protect their facilities so that the public can return, and the world can start turning again.
Be a pioneer in the cleaning industry with software that helps you keep track of COVID-19 norms. Contact us today to see how Janitorial Manager can help your business be a leader in commercial cleaning safety and compliance.