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As a global cleaning services company, we pride ourselves on staying up to date on the latest trends in the cleaning industry. Having a pulse on the challenges that facility managers are facing and methods for helping them overcome these issues is a must. Implementing high-tech equipment and safer chemicals and educating our team members on emerging and tried-and-true best practices is also key.
So what does 2022 have in store for the cleaning industry? What strategies will help facility managers create safer environments and protect their bottom lines? Read on to learn about three trends that will further shape commercial cleaning next year and beyond.
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The cleaning industry continues to innovate to uphold public health and safety. Some trends come and go and others are here to stay, such as those below:
Cleaning as a means of instilling confidence.
Before the pandemic, many people didn’t put too much thought into how offices, schools, grocery stores and airports were cleaned. They trusted that these tasks were accomplished out of sight and were adequate enough to protect the public. Now, there is much more scrutiny about whether cleaning and disinfecting is being performed regularly and properly. With many companies still hoping to transition work-from-home employees back to the office full time or part time, cleanliness is being leveraged as a way to enhance confidence in building safety.
Organizations are openly communicating about their cleaning programs and initiatives that support public health in order to ease concerns and showcase they are at the forefront of cleaning for health. This transparency has led many facility managers to take a closer look at the products and processes they are relying on to maintain their buildings. Careful selection and oversight of the chemicals and tools that cleaning professionals use will be important moving forward.
A shift to safer chemicals through on-site generation.
The pandemic demonstrated how problematic relying on traditional supply chains can be when demand suddenly spikes and remains high for months at a time. It also made people more aware of the harmful effects that cleaning chemicals can have on their wellbeing. Many conventional chemicals contain toxins that negatively affect indoor air quality (IAQ) and the health of building occupants. With facilities cleaning more frequently and many closely monitoring IAQ, considering the long-term impact of cleaning chemicals is paramount.
An alternative to both of these issues is to generate safer cleaner and disinfectant at your facility. With an on-site generator (OSG) stored in a custodial closet, facilities can combine salt, water and electricity to create electrochemically activated solutions (ECAS) that do not irritate eyes or skin, won’t leave a residue on surfaces and are better for people and the environment.
Cobots will be relied on for a more focused approach to cleaning and disinfecting.
As cleaning professionals face increased pressure to clean thoroughly and consistently and manage a longer list of tasks than ever before, the allure of robotic cleaning equipment will rise. Sometimes referred to as “cobots” for their ability to work well alongside humans, these automated machines effortlessly carry out hard and soft floor care duties. This allows cleaning teams to focus on other important responsibilities while floor care is completed and accomplish more than they would on their own.
Because cobots perform tasks the same each time, facility managers can be confident that their buildings are successfully upholding the desired levels of cleanliness. The pandemic has led corporate offices, school districts and other facilities to reassess their cleaning budgets, and while cobots are certainly an investment, they offer proven results.
Facility Managers at the Forefront
Facility managers who stay ahead of the trends that will shape the industry can successfully build cleaning programs that consider people and the planet. The above are just three developments that will be big in 2022 and beyond. Working with a trusted building service contractor can help organizations discover the latest and greatest technologies and processes for cleaning facilities and meeting consumers’ high expectations.
Cleaning and disinfection can be considered the cornerstones of an effective infection prevention program. After all, the goal of cleaning is to uphold public health and safety. This takes on new meaning during a pandemic that has resulted in millions of deaths. Focusing on infection prevention will not only help reduce the risk of outbreaks, but it will also give your employees and facility visitors greater peace of mind. Read on to learn more about infectious disease patterns and how to prioritize infection prevention efforts.
Many people think about infections as cyclical. For example, cases of the flu would emerge in the fall and winter and subside in the spring. Pneumonia, bronchitis and the common cold are additional illnesses that are much more prevalent during the winter. And still there are other seasonal diseases that peak at varying times of the year.
Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, there was even hope that cases of SARS-CoV-2 would subside in the summer, as some viruses can’t withstand warmer temperatures. We now know that COVID-19 is a year-round issue around the world, despite the climate. Models detailing daily COVID-19 cases in the United States do showcase a pattern of some sort. COVID-19 surges for roughly two months and then tends to decline for that same length of time. The two-month cycle has also occurred in other countries like Spain and India. Yet it’s still mostly unclear why this pattern is occurring.
So what are the key takeaways from COVID-19? The most important is that we need to move away from the belief that winter is the only harbinger of illness. Infections can occur at any time, so having a sound strategy in place to respond to one or several cases, or even a major outbreak, is key.
Protecting the Public Against Pathogens
Your facility must have a plan for dealing with pathogens. Consider the following
- Generate chemicals on site.
Many facilities had difficulty securing chemicals as demand reached unprecedented levels during the pandemic. Some were even forced to equip workers with chemicals they had never used before, leading to safety risks. Thankfully, organizations don’t have to rely on traditional supply chains for cleaning chemicals. On-site generation (OSG) allows facilities to create a cleaner and disinfectant in their janitorial closets using salt, water and electricity. These electrochemically-activated solutions (ECAS) are drain- and disposal-safe, do not contain any irritating ingredients, can be used on a wide variety of surfaces and replace many types of caustic chemicals with just two easy-to-use solutions. OSG supports infection prevention because your facility can quickly and seamlessly respond to an outbreak in the local community by generating more cleaner and disinfectant without worry that you’re overcleaning with potentially harmful products or will run out of supply.
- Promote hand hygiene.
Hand hygiene is widely considered the top way to prevent the spread of germs because dirty hands have a higher risk of contaminating surfaces and people than clean hands. Demonstrate your commitment to infection prevention by making hand hygiene essentials like soap, hand sanitizer and paper towels readily available throughout the facility. Restock as needed depending on traffic patterns. Couple these essentials with signage that can help drive compliance.
- Instill a culture of wellness.
If custodial employees are feeling unwell, they should not be afraid to take the necessary time away from their job. Staff should understand that coming to work while sick can spread germs to coworkers and building occupants. Build and uphold a culture that encourages employees to rest and recover so that they can support your infection prevention goals. Have a plan in place to adequately cover sick workers’ responsibilities while they are out so that cleanliness lapses do not occur in the facility. Additionally, you may consider posting signage that encourages facility visitors to avoid entering the building if they are experiencing symptoms of illness.
Preparation is the Key to Success
Being prepared for today’s and tomorrow’s infectious diseases reduces the risk that outbreaks will occur in your facility. Additionally, if cases of illness do arise, a thorough cleaning and disinfection program can help limit the spread of pathogens and keep your workers and visitors healthy. By following the above best practices, your organization can demonstrate that it is properly prioritizing infection prevention and has the know-how to deal with these challenges.
Infection prevention should be a year-round focus for your facility. Do you have a qualified team in place to uphold cleanliness to reduce the spread of pathogens? Contact GSF USA here and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook to learn more.