I can guarantee you that a global pandemic was not on anyone’s goal setting list for 2020. Sickness, death and economic disruption are here for the unforeseeable future. We are living in a crisis none of us has ever seen and there is no quick way out. You may have heard the quote “you never let a serious crisis go to waste.” During a time of crisis, we have an opportunity to do things that you could not do before. Working from home was always something companies discussed, but few participated in on a large scale. Now it has become normal and here is to stay in one form or another. There will be many benefits that come from this crises and improvements in the cleaning industry will be one of them.
The cleaning industry has never been in the spotlight like it is now. Everyone is concerned about their homes and offices being cleaned and disinfected properly. You can hardly read an article or watch a news segment without cleaning being mentioned. This is good news for everyone. With the hyper awareness of cleaning, it is forcing owners of cleaning businesses to re-examine their cleaning methods and improve their standards and best practices. Some cleaning companies won’t survive this demand for better cleaning. They either don’t have the desire or won’t obtain the knowledge to make the necessary changes. It will be survival of the fittest making the next generation of cleaning services even better.
Cleaning companies will have to pay more attention to the various types of disinfectant products and how to properly use them. Most products that are disinfectant in nature will kill the Coronavirus. According to Dr Richard Lowe, a P&G scientist, “A Coronavirus is what’s called an envelope virus and that means it has an outer envelope that’s composed of proteins and a fatty material called a lipid, and it’s that outer layer that makes it relatively simple to kill with most disinfectants, compared to other viruses that don’t have that envelope.” This is one good thing about the virus – it is easy to remove and kill. That doesn’t mean you should settle for just any disinfectant. If you are using a disinfectant in food areas, daycare or animal facilities, you need to use a disinfectant that is safe for these areas. In addition to paying more attention to the type of disinfectant, cleaning companies will need to understand how to use the products. There is a “kill” time for all disinfecting products. This must be adhered to or it will be ineffective in killing the virus. It also depends on how the product is used. If you are using a microfiber cloth or cellulose/cotton blend and spraying the cloth with the disinfectant, it doesn’t need to sit for the kill time. The dampened cloth will remove and the virus from the surface. However, one can only use the same cloth for a limited number of surfaces. A good rule of thumb would be changing the cloth every 15-30 minutes depending on the quantity of surface being wiped. After a certain point, the cloth becomes a mechanism to transfer germs and viruses from one surface to another, rather than removing them.
Another area for improvement is employee training. This is long overdue. Now more than, ever it is important that team members know how to correctly use chemicals, cleaning cloths, mops and other products and equipment. This is especially true when it comes to disinfecting as discussed above. As an industry, we cannot risk spreading the virus by not properly training our team members on how to do their job.
At Dirt Doctors our training is done in a three-step process. First, as soon as we hire a team member, they watch demonstration training videos, which are viewable on either a PC or Smartphone. They take a quiz as they watch the videos, so they retain more of the information and prove they watched them. Next, we use in-person training by a supervisor or manager demonstrating what they watched on the videos. Finally, we follow up in several weeks later and observe how they are doing things. Using these steps reinforces the learning process and enables our team members to put procedures into practice with confidence.
Last, but not least, is the need for ongoing communication with your team members. Many employees in the cleaning industry work by themselves or with one other person and they don’t have a lot of contact with management. I believe that “touching base” often is needed to keep your team members on track and feeling part of something bigger than themselves. Getting them to buy into what your trying to accomplish is crucial to your success and meeting the needs of your clients.
If the cleaning industry takes advantage of this crisis, we have an opportunity to shine! It will take persistent effort and ingenuity to make that happen. We owe it to our clients, our team members and ourselves to do this. Now is the time to implement efficient and effective policies and procedures and change the outdated or ill-conceived ones. The cleaning business has been treated with less than the respect it deserves. Right now, we have an opportunity to take our industry to the next level by raising our standards, increasing the level of professionalism, and helping the world to get past this pandemic.