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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3 thoughts on “How coronavirus has changed the cleaning industry

  1. Ok – but pity the FM ‘s that took the cheapest quotes & at that time placed cleaning at the bottom of their list.
    I visited a customer about two weeks ago just before the Pandemic was declared – at that time we as a cleaning company were experiencing high demand for touch point cleaning as well as plans for a decontamination in case of an infection. I asked the customer what her commercial cleaners had put in place with regard to stepping up hygiene pro-activity for the impact of the virus.
    Her answer was – do you think I should talk to them? I also asked do you have a current scope of works for the cleaning and a list of all chemicals used along with SDS on those chemicals.
    To my surprise the answer was No & No.
    Yes there will be changes to the cleaning industry going forward – perhaps the clients will move beyond get the cheapest quote and all cleaners will charge correctly & deliver professional cleaning services that protect the health of the staff in the areas they clean.
    I also think that Pigs will fly after the Virus has been & gone!

  2. I think our industry now will change for good.
    The clients will pay more attention in our service, the budget of cleaning won’t be the cheapest budget.
    1 weeks ago a client called me to give her a quote. We walked around the office an I notice this company spends a lot of money on beers and food for their employees.
    After I give her my quote she said, “well your price is quite expensive it’s out of our budget “ and I said to her, “yes, could be but we use antivirus chemicals and once a week we desinfect your office with a fogging machine”, “maybe is time to spend less money on beers and more money looking after your employees.
    However, we got a new client 😉

  3. I really admire your “positive” appraisal of the situation. Your myopic view really sounds good in theory but in practical? I too totally agree PIG’s will start flying and Elephants will start climbing trees after the pandemic is over.

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