Despite previous warnings from health and cleaning professionals about an impending pandemic, many parts of the world were wholly unprepared for the arrival of the novel coronavirus pandemic earlier this year. As the months progressed, we collectively learned more and more about how to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Meanwhile, supply chains worked overtime to deliver cleaners, disinfectants, equipment and hand sanitizer to facilities as they increased the frequency and visibility of cleaning during the pandemic.
There are some obvious lessons learned from the pandemic, like the importance of frequent and proper hand hygiene, the role that contact tracing plays in identifying individuals potentially exposed to COVID-19 and the need for cleaning high-touch surfaces. However, there are also other unexpected outcomes that building service contractors (BSCs) and facility managers may not have previously considered. Understanding these factors in more detail will be essential for maintaining clean and safe buildings moving forward.
A New Age of Cleaning
BSCs must be aware of the latest trends and customer concerns in order to provide exceptional service in the facilities that they manage. Consider the impact that the below outcomes have on your approach to facility maintenance in places like office buildings, long-term care facilities, retail stores, schools and university campuses:
- Indoor air quality comes under scrutiny. With COVID-19 spreading through respiratory droplets, people are increasingly wary of how buildings are managing indoor air flow. Some facilities note that they are taking extra precautions with their HVAC systems. BSCs that offer HVAC cleaning services can help customers better maintain these systems to limit the spread of airborne pathogens. To support good indoor air quality, BSCs should also review the quality of their vacuum cleaners. Its counterproductive and potentially dangerous for a vacuum to let airborne pathogens escape back into the room. Review vacuum options via the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) to ensure you have vacuums with high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration and can conduct carpet cleaning during a pandemic.
- Social distancing floor markings emerge to guide movement. To encourage patrons and building occupants to keep the recommended six feet of distance between others, many facilities have installed tape or stickers on floors. While these visual guides are key for putting guests at ease and demonstrating how to move safely throughout indoor environments, there are questions about how these markings will impact flooring maintenance. For example, stickers may leave an unpleasant residue on carpet. The icons may also become dirty and peel away over time, requiring frequent replacement. Whether dealing with hard surfaces like tile and concrete or soft flooring like carpet, it’s important that BSCs know how to clean around these markings and also manage any sticky residues that remain after they are removed.
- Disinfecting equipment goes mainstream. At the outset of the pandemic, many facilities scrambled to secure disinfectants and some even turned to entirely new strategies such as fogging and electrostatic spraying to better address high-touch surfaces. While fogging and spraying equipment can certainly help BSCs clean facilities more efficiently, there are many nuances that employees have to follow, like using products tested with these tools, carefully following the dwell time and wearing personal protective equipment. Incorrect procedures negate the advantages facilities gain by using these cleaning strategies. In most cases, having a thorough cleaning program in place will suffice. It’s important to remember that you can’t disinfect soft surfaces and that if fogging or electrostatic spraying tools are used, you should check to make sure the products being applied will not result in the buildup of residues on carpet over time.
Catering to Customers’ COVID-19 Concerns
The arrival of the novel coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed the world we once knew. Cleaning and hygiene are now top priorities for facilities of all types and sizes. According to a survey conducted on behalf of Whittaker by The Harris Poll, nearly three in five Americans (58%) would assume that a facility is not clean if it has dirty carpet with things like stains, animal hair or food residue. With their reputations at stake and so many people hypersensitive to the steps that organizations are taking to deal with COVID-19, facilities cannot afford to give customers and residents the wrong impression about cleanliness.
When facilities properly maintain interior spaces, they put guests, building occupants and employees at ease about their commitment to health and safety. Increasingly, customers are turning to building service contractors for their expertise and advice at a time when cleaning regularly and thoroughly is so critical. BSCs that know how to tackle even the toughest questions and issues can ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty even during difficult economic periods.
Wow your customers with carpet care the Whittaker way. Learn more about how our Smart Care® TWIN and TRIO machines and CRYSTAL® chemistry can help your BSC stand out from the rest. Contact us at 800.422.7686 or firstname.lastname@example.org today!