Keeping Seasoned Employees Engaged

Since 2000, analytics firm Gallup has tracked employee engagement levels in the United States. The percentage of engaged employees, defined as workers who are highly involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace, is typically 35%, with more than half reporting they are not engaged and more than 10% being actively disengaged. While these figures fluctuated during a tumultuous 2020, the levels typically only shift by a few percentage points from quarter to quarter or year to year. With only about a third of employees engaged, organizations face challenges related to retention and performance.  

The cleaning industry has its own unique set of hiring and retention obstacles. Cleaning roles can sometimes feel repetitive and thankless. Thus, facility managers need to understand ways to engage employees who have been in their roles for years or decades. These employees have become experts at cleaning and have the power to inspire the next generation of professional cleaners. Read on for specific employee engagement tips you can implement to improve your cleaning program.  

Tips for Retaining the Right Talent 

Consider the following strategies for retaining experienced employees:  

Provide high-quality and durable tools and equipment. 

Cleaning tools and equipment are intended to help workers clean more effectively and efficiently, but if they’re in poor shape, they can actually create more work and frustration for employees. High-quality equipment can even help reduce repetitive motions that can lead to muscle soreness or injuries. In addition to providing new sets of tools to recent hires, it’s important to also review the tools that your more seasoned employees are using so they feel valued and supported in their roles.  

Promote workplace safety. 

Today’s employees are increasingly concerned about their wellbeing in the workplace. They want to know that their employer has practices in place to protect them from harm. Clearly communicate the ways in which your facility is prioritizing safety, from using cleaning chemicals that are free of fragrances and caustic ingredients to opting for floor care equipment with quality squeegees that reduces slip-and-fall hazards. Promoting a culture of safety can keep workers focused on their tasks and eliminate fears that can impact engagement.  

Invest in ongoing training.  

Providing opportunities for training is crucial, especially given the fact that some of your long-term employees are likely to rise into leadership roles at some point in their careers. They will be given more responsibilities and relied upon to oversee other workers, some of whom may be newer to the industry. Regularly conducting hands-on training will allow your seasoned employees to confidently take on management responsibilities and uphold cleanliness in your facility.    

Solicit feedback from employees.  

What better way to make staff members feel heard and improve your cleaning program than to solicit feedback from your team? You might discover that employees have recommendations for how to perform certain tasks or have insight on cleaning supplies that are causing frustration or strain. By encouraging and listening to feedback, you can implement changes that will enhance cleanliness, safety, sustainability and employee engagement.  

Seasoned Employees Help Drive Success 

The commercial cleaning industry faces high turnover rates that can impact the consistency of results and the satisfaction of those who visit your facility. A revolving door of workers can also negatively affect your company culture. For these reasons, it’s important to invest in strategies that support retention. Well-trained employees who know how to effectively maintain buildings are instrumental in keeping environments clean and people healthy and safe. By following the above best practices, you can ensure that professional cleaners will stay engaged and commit to your organization over the long term.  

At GSF USA, we prioritize training to educate both new and seasoned employees about the latest cleaning and disinfecting tactics and tools. If you’d like to learn more about our commercial cleaning services, contact our team here. Follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook to learn more.  

Securing Approval for New Cleaning Technologies 

As a facility manager, staying up to date on the latest trends and technologies enables you to maintain a clean building. Thankfully, the cleaning industry is continuously innovating in order to meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. This has been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, with new tools being launched and adopted.  

Once you’ve identified a cleaning technology that will make your cleaning program more efficient, effective, sustainable or safer, it’s important to be able to confidently sell it to the decision makers within your organization. Read on to learn more about specific technologies to consider and best practices for successful implementation.  

Taking Cleanliness to the Next Level  

The cleaning industry has come a long way in the last decade, and even more so within the last two years given the emergence of SARS-CoV-2. Today, there are technologies that lend additional support to cleaning professionals. Some make the process of cleaning less strenuous and therefore less injury prone, while others make cleaning more consistent or efficient. The following technologies can help your operation reach its cleanliness goals: 

Robotic floor scrubbers 

Address your labor challenges and improve productivity with a robotic floor care solution that works in tandem with your employees. A robotic floor scrubber uses advanced artificial intelligence that improves upon safety, allowing it to avoid people and obstacles like staircases and furniture. Additionally, automated scrubbers deliver reports at the conclusion of operation to drive continuous improvement—all while allowing employees to address other high-priority tasks in the meantime.  

Electrochemically activated solutions (ECAS) 

These cleaning and disinfecting solutions are produced in your supply closet with an on-site generator and only three ingredients: salt, water and electricity. ECAS are just as effective as conventional chemicals but do not contain potentially harmful ingredients that can lead to eye and skin irritation and ECAS are non-irritating to the eyes and skin and contain no added fragrance but are still 99.999% effective at killing germs. Implementing ECAS streamlines worker training and eliminates burns. They are also better for the environment, as eliminating recurring chemical shipments reduces greenhouse gas emissions and plastic waste associated with single-use spray bottles and containers.  

Electrostatic sprayers  

This process entails spraying an electrostatically charged mist onto various surfaces or objects. The spray itself is a specialized solution combined with air and atomized by an electrode inside the sprayer. Because the spray contains positively charged particles that aggressively adhere to surfaces, the chemical is able to adequately disinfect the covered surfaces. There are even backpack versions of electrostatic sprayers that make it easy for employees to carry the equipment as they disinfect.  

Automated vacuum cleaners  

Collaborative robot, or “cobot”, vacuums can be used autonomously thanks to their built-in AI platforms, which take the hassle out of manual vacuum sweeping. Many of these systems are powered by advanced commercial operating systems that allow your vacuum to develop its own flight plan for areas that require cleaning. They’re efficient and clean up to 50% better than traditional vacuums.  

Cleaning verification programs   

Applying a cleaning verification program to your routine can help provide clearer visibility into the compliance and consistency of your cleaning procedures. This will allow you to advance clearer and safer standards of cleaning across your locations, ensuring all building occupants are satisfied, your reputation is upheld and more opportunities to grow your business are revealed.  

Tips for Talking about Technology  

When attempting to gain approval to implement a new technology in your facility, it’s important to consider the following best practices: 

Humanize your pitch. 

Framing the technology around the benefits it delivers to those who work in and use your facility is key. For example, many technologies make cleaning more efficient and less strenuous, providing benefits for the organization as a whole as well as individuals.  

Once the technology is approved, you will want to also highlight the benefits to those who will be using it regularly.  The more your cleaning professionals understand that this technology is working alongside them to increase productivity, rather than hinder or replace manual efforts, the quicker adapting to these changes is likely to occur.  

Address safety. 

Reflect on how the technology will make the cleaning process safer, and your building safer. For example, robotic floor scrubbers adequately remove chemical and water from floors, thereby reducing the risk of slip-and-fall accidents. Also, having properly measured chemicals prevents unnecessary safety hazards 

Take the environment into consideration. 

Discuss how the technology will reduce water, chemical or energy consumption. When chemicals are accurately dispensed, target areas get clean the first time. This prevents you from having to use more chemicals, water and energy for second or third cleanings. 

Be ready for questions.  

Be prepared to answer detailed questions about how the technology works, why it’s superior to current methods, the cost to implement the technology and anticipated return on investment.  

In the COVID-19 pandemic era, there is no time like the present to begin addressing necessary changes to your cleaning program. Rising innovations in sustainability and safety practices have produced game-changing tools you can confidently say will make an impact on the cleanliness of your facility.  

You can partner with a building service contractor that prioritizes using high-tech equipment to further enhance your cleaning program. At GSF USA, we care about clean and the people behind clean. Contact our team here and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook to learn more.   

Top Cleaning Mistakes and How to Solve Them

Proper cleaning enhances the appearance of facilities and, more importantly, keeps germs from spreading from surfaces to people. While cleaning is an essential process, everyone has been met with an unclean facility, an overpowering cleaning chemical fragrance or even a slippery floor at least once in their life. There are certain mistakes that can negatively impact cleaning results, brand reputation, sustainability and the bottom line. Understanding these in more detail is crucial to running an efficient and effective operation.   

Everyday Cleaning Mistakes that can Impact Cleanliness 

There are numerous missteps that can complicate the cleaning process, and in turn, the cleanliness of your facility. Be on the lookout for the following mistakes and lapses so that you can enhance your approach to facility maintenance, quickly correct bad habits and reduce overconsumption. 

Using chemicals that create risks. 

As people become increasingly aware of the impact that cleaning chemicals have on the air we breathe and our overall health, it’s important to consider whether your inventory is leading to unnecessary risks. Many conventional cleaning chemicals contain harmful ingredients that can irritate eyes and skin, cause headaches and nausea and even negatively impact indoor air quality (IAQ) by releasing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). 

With cleaning occurring more frequently than before the pandemic, using safe and effective products is more important than ever. Electrochemically-activated solutions (ECAS) generated using water, salt and electricity are powerful enough to tackle pathogens of concern, but are also non-irritating and safe for the environment.  

Cleaning in the wrong order. 

Cleaning should be an organized process that carefully considers high-touch areas and cross contamination risks. Approaching cleaning in the wrong order can actually spread germs and leave surfaces unclean.  

Always clean from top to bottom. This enables you to dislodge dust and other soils from higher areas that can fall to floors before you clean them. Additionally, cleaning from top to bottom maximizes germ removal. For example, you wouldn’t want to wipe a restroom floor or toilet seat and then address a stall door or counter.  

Only conducting floor care manually. 

Taking care of floors is a time-consuming process but an essential one. It’s hard to ignore the quality of flooring upon entering a facility. Whether tile, wood, concrete or another material, floors play a part in shaping first impressions regarding cleanliness. Plus, clean floors promote safety by helping to reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents. Relying solely on employees to conduct floor care can mean that other areas of the facility don’t have time to be addressed.  

Implementing robotic machines that can work alongside and support your team members helps take some of the burden of floor care off their to-do lists. Consider cobots that are easy to operate, safely avoid people and obstacles and provide detailed reporting. While some floor care tasks may still need manual intervention and oversight, having an automated helper can certainly improve the floor care process.  

Forgetting to consider sustainability.  

By its nature, the process of cleaning requires the consumption of many resources. Keeping your program from becoming too wasteful is essential as an increasing number of buildings look for ways to be more sustainable. By taking a closer look at your cleaning operations with a green lens, you can drive chemical, water and energy savings.   

Have durable tools and equipment on site that will effectively clean and also last for a reasonable amount of time to keep them out of landfills. Avoid single-use supplies wherever possible. As previously mentioned, ECAS are a greener option for cleaning and disinfecting. Plus, the on-site generators that produce ECAS enable you to eliminate purchasing replacement bottles made from plastic. Simply reuse a set of containers for each custodial cart in your facility.  

Course Corrections in Cleaning 

Commercial cleaning is easier said than done. The process requires dedicated employees who are knowledgeable about how to carry out cleaning and disinfection using the appropriate supplies, chemicals and machines. With all eyes on cleanliness in offices, retail stores, schools and other types of facilities, cleaning needs to be completed correctly. Cleanliness not only enhances visitor confidence and brand reputation, it is one of the best defenses against potentially harmful pathogens.  

To course correct common mistakes and even avoid them altogether, it’s essential to train staff so they can effectively and efficiently clean. Providing visual demonstrations and opportunities for hands-on learning and constructive feedback is essential to maintaining healthy and safe buildings. Both tenured employees and new hires will appreciate the time you take to guide their education and make them better cleaners.  

Regular training and investment in the right tools, equipment and chemicals helps employees uphold cleanliness every day. At GSF USA, we care about clean and the people behind clean. Contact our team here and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook to learn more about our services and specialties.  

Cleaning vs. Disinfecting: Best Practices for Maintaining Clean Facilities

Since the onset of the pandemic, the frequency and thoroughness of cleaning and disinfecting has increased in public facilities as well as in our homes. While it’s great to be prepared against pathogens, it’s equally essential to not go overboard when it comes to these processes. To avoid hygiene theater, facility managers should have a clear plan in place for what to clean and disinfect and how, and to educate their staff on the key differences between these tasks.

Differentiating Cleaning and Disinfecting

Cleaning is the action that removes dirt, dust and other contaminants from surfaces as well as germs and impurities that we cannot see with the naked eye. Products labeled as cleaners or soap and water, which some may use to clean, may not necessarily kill bacteria and fungi or inactivate viruses. However, by addressing these visible and microscopic contaminants, cleaners reduce the number of germs on the objects and surfaces with which we come into contact.

Alternatively, disinfecting is the process of targeting pathogens and their ability to cause infections. Disinfecting chemicals kill bacteria and fungi. With regards to viruses, these solutions inactivate, as viruses are not living organisms and therefore cannot technically be killed. In order for a disinfectant to meet its claims against bacteria, fungi and viruses, it is necessary to correctly apply the product. The label will include “dwell time” instructions, or the amount of time the surface needs to remain wet. Following these directions will enhance the efficacy of the product.

It’s important to remember that before your employees disinfect surfaces, they must first clean them to take away soil loads that may inhibit the disinfectant from working at optimal performance. This is because the process of disinfecting doesn’t necessarily clean a surface.

What to Clean and Disinfect

When thinking about cleaning and disinfecting, we often consider these tasks as coupled, or a two-step process. First, employees clean. Then, they disinfect. It’s true that when disinfecting, you must follow this sequence. However, not every single surface needs to be disinfected. In fact, the volume of cleaner that staff members use should be much higher than the level of disinfectant that is consumed. Disinfectants are reserved for objects and surfaces that are considered high touch and would be most likely to pass infectious pathogens to people’s hands.

So, what surfaces might require disinfecting? In an environment such as a school where there are many people gathered and communal spaces, things like door handles, restroom counters, desks, cafeteria tables and fitness equipment will likely need to be cleaned and then disinfected. Meanwhile, floors, windows and walls can simply be cleaned.

Alternatively, in a commercial office, elevator buttons, appliance handles and cubicles should be cleaned and disinfected, while chairs, floors and other items that are not shared or are used on a less frequent basis can be thoroughly cleaned to save time and chemical.

Perfecting the “How” of Cleaning and Disinfecting 

Getting the “how” of cleaning and disinfecting right is paramount, especially when it’s our wellbeing at risk. As stated above, following a product’s dwell or contact time is key when disinfecting. However, it’s also important to carefully consider the types of solutions you’re using, as these can have long-term impacts on the professionals who perform these duties as well as facility occupants and visitors.

Select products that do not contain added fragrances or ingredients that release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. Increasingly, facilities are adopting electrochemically-activated cleaning and disinfecting solutions that are generated on site using salt, water and electricity. These solutions are incredibly effective and safe, and support sustainability, making them an excellent alternative to caustic traditional cleaning chemicals.

A Smarter Approach to Cleaning and Disinfecting

In the face of contagious viruses like SARS-CoV-2 it’s crucial to have a sound process in place for cleaning and disinfecting your facility. An organized approach can effectively manage these infectious disease risks and enable your staff to adequately address the most important surfaces when disinfecting. Additionally, a smart strategy will enable you to limit wasting resources like chemical, water and energy, and enhance productivity while also reducing the risk of burnout among your cleaning staff. In turn, this will yield a more efficient, sustainable and safe operation as well as cleaner buildings.

If you’re looking to enhance the way you approach cleaning and disinfecting in your facility, contact GSF USA here and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook to learn more about our sustainable and unique approach to facility maintenance.

What Makes GSF USA a Great Place to Work

At GSF USA, we care about clean and the people behind clean. By investing in our people, we help our employees discover rewarding careers in commercial cleaning. Learn more about our benefits and culture via our infographic.

Three Cleaning Trends to Watch For

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.

Now Trending: More Effective & Cost-efficient Cleaning

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.

Our experts care about clean and have a pulse on how to make cleaning effective, cost-efficient and safe. Contact GSF USA here and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook for the latest updates.

Three Ways to Prioritize Infection Prevention

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.

Understanding Infections

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

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Marking Milestones at GSF USA

Our people are our superpower at GSF USA. Day in and day out, they show up to keep our customers’ buildings looking their best. In the wake of the pandemic, all eyes are on cleaning teams and how they perform. Our crew meets the challenge at every opportunity. They are committed to learning the latest techniques for cleaning for health and working alongside innovative equipment to make cleaning more efficient and consistent.  

We are proud to have a team made of up both seasoned professionals and those new to the industry who are dedicated to making a difference. Each quarter, we celebrate those who have reached key anniversaries with GSF. Turnover in the cleaning industry can average as high as 200%. Our rewarding and forward-thinking culture is one differentiator that sets us apart and keeps professionals staying year after year and committed to growing into new roles.  

Thank you and congratulations to the employees below who are contributing to GSF’s mission!     

20th Anniversary  

  • Maria Del Rocio Tapia, GSF Indiana  

15th Anniversaries  

  • Nicolas Garcia Sanchez, GSF Indiana 

5th Anniversaries  

  • Juan Bustamante Mil, GSF Indiana  
  • Yesenia Sanchez Valdez, GSF Indiana 
  • Betty Chesser, GSF Ohio 
  • Arnold Pena, GSF Indiana 
  • Rosa Salaz Cantor, GSF Indiana 
  • Osmar Perez, GSF Indiana 
  • Virginia Padilla, GSF Illinois  
  • Duane Gibson, GSF Ohio 

Restrooms: The Greatest Facility Maintenance Challenge

Restrooms are often one of the smallest areas in a facility, yet they often present the biggest challenge for facility managers. This is because restrooms see frequent use and their level of cleanliness can make or break a visitor’s first impression of a facility. Plus, it’s not feasible to clean restrooms after each guest. A visible mess or odor can occur within a span of several minutes and negatively impact the next guest’s experience.

According to the 2020 In-House/Facility Management Benchmarking Survey from Cleaning and Maintenance Management, restrooms are the most problematic surface/area for facility managers across all types of facilities, by more than double. From toilet clogs to overflowing trash receptacles to slippery floors, there are many issues that can arise. Given that 90% of U.S. adults think employers should deep clean workplace restrooms regularly, cleaning teams need to dedicate a significant focus of the cleaning program to restroom maintenance.

Germs, Bacteria, Viruses – Oh My!

Viruses and bacteria lurk on high-touch bathroom surfaces such as doorknobs, countertops, soap dispensers and toilet handles. According to a study in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 77,000 distinct bacteria and viruses can exist in restrooms.  These bacteria are more likely to spread after toilets are flushed because fecal matter is distributed into the air in aerosol form, commonly referred to as “toilet plume.” It then contaminates surfaces and potentially guests’ hands, thereby enabling these germs to spread from person to person.

Now more than ever, it’s vital to pay close attention to restroom maintenance. In June 2020, a survey from Tork revealed that 73% of people in North America felt more unsafe going to facilities with unhygienic public restrooms than before the pandemic. Now that the public is more aware of the risks associated with a lack of cleanliness, facility managers and their teams need to prioritize keeping these smaller spaces clean to ensure the biggest impact on guest satisfaction.

Strategies for Spectacular Restrooms

All aspects of restrooms must be considered when developing your cleaning strategy. Consider the following best practices to make your restrooms memorable:

Invest time in training employees.

Training employees is crucial for achieving the highest level of cleanliness and maintaining consistency across an entire facility or even several buildings. Many people incorrectly assume that the toilet is a restroom’s most unsanitary surface. In fact, many areas harbor high numbers of bacteria. Thus, it’s essential to train employees to clean and disinfect the less obvious surfaces, such as restroom stall walls and grab rails, which can become contaminated with pathogens. They should also learn the proper order for cleaning – top to bottom – to avoid cross contamination.

Set and follow a cleaning schedule.

Restrooms are high-traffic spaces that can harbor pathogens across many different surfaces. Germs can spread more easily if people are not practicing proper hand hygiene in these environments. The 2021 Healthy Handwashing Survey from Bradley Corporation found that nearly half (48%) of Americans admit to having simply rinsed their hands with water instead of washing with soap. Having a set schedule in place for cleaning, disinfecting and restocking restrooms can help limit the spread of germs by ensuring that guests have enough toilet paper, soap and paper towels to uphold cleanliness. Develop the schedule based on the facility’s typical traffic patterns. While some facilities are still experiencing lower-than-normal occupancies during the pandemic, restrooms must always be clean and ready for guests.

Incorporate sustainable cleaning chemicals.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused supply chain disruption and resulted in many cleaning professionals using products with which they were unfamiliar. Coupled with the fact that many facilities are cleaning more frequently, it’s important to understand their composition, as toxic ingredients and fragrances can negatively impact workers and restroom guests. Investing in an on-site generation (OSG) system that creates non-irritating solutions with just water, salt and electricity eliminates supply issues and enhances safety. The OSG system produces electrochemically activated solutions (ECAS) that are effective against pathogens, safe for the environment and can replace the majority of chemicals required to maintain a facility.

Clean Restrooms Create a Better Facility

Maintaining clean restrooms is essential for creating safe environments for facility occupants. By thoroughly training employees, regularly cleaning and disinfecting, restocking supplies as needed and implementing sustainable cleaning chemicals, you can control the presence and spread of germs and give restroom guests a great experience at every visit.

Keeping restrooms clean protects your brand reputation and your facility’s occupants.  Contact us to learn how we can support your cleaning needs and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook for updates.

Easy Sustainability Swaps to Limit Cleaning’s Impact

Findings from a 2019 Pew Research Center survey reveal that 62% of Americans said that global climate change was affecting their local community a great deal or some. With the climate crisis becoming increasingly clear, more companies and consumers are doubling down on efforts to protect the planet. The owners and managers of commercial buildings have a responsibility to reduce the impact their facilities have on the environment. One way to accomplish this is to review your cleaning program in detail and identify ways to increase energy, chemical and water savings and reduce waste generation.

Simple Sustainability Swaps Support The Environment

The strategies below are easy changes that you and your team can make to realize big environmental improvements.

Generate solutions on site.

Cleaning programs generate high volumes of packaging waste and this has only increased during the pandemic as facilities disinfect more frequently. Rather than ordering chemicals in plastic bottles to be shipped and delivered to a site, some organizations are realizing the benefits of generating their own cleaning and disinfecting solutions in house that are dispensed into reusable containers. Using salt, electricity and water, on-site generators produce electrochemically-activated solutions (ECAS) that can be used to clean and disinfect numerous surfaces throughout a facility. Not only does this approach greatly reduce plastic waste and packaging costs, but it also eliminates transportation emissions tied to these shipments. In addition to curbing waste and outdoor pollution, ECAS also enhance indoor air quality because they do not contain any volatile organic compounds, fragrances or other irritants like many traditional cleaning chemicals do. Plus, ECAS are extremely effective at upholding cleanliness, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice performance in order to achieve sustainability.

Focus on floor care.

Keeping floors clean typically requires a lot of time and effort. Managing floor care manually can exacerbate the consumption of water and chemicals. Utilizing high-tech equipment like floor scrubbers, whether operated by a team member or robotic, can help reduce the use of these essentials. Look for machines that clean exceptionally with one pass to eliminate the need to reclean floors. Some equipment can even adjust the amount of solution delivered to floors as its speed changes. This can also save water and chemical.

Conduct the majority of cleaning during daytime hours.

Cleaning during daytime hours can help reduce reliance on lighting and HVAC systems at night. Energy for lighting, heating and cooling is about 19% of total expenditures for the typical commercial office building. While some cleaning may need to take place during evening hours, especially after all or most occupants leave a building, find ways for cleaning professionals to conduct high-priority and time-consuming tasks earlier in the day. This will make evening cleaning more efficient and allow facility managers to lower energy use overnight.

Make microfiber a must have.

Using microfiber cleaning cloths to address high-touch surfaces is preferrable to relying on disposable, one-time-use towels that end up in landfills. Microfiber is highly effective at removing germs from surfaces and can be laundered and reused numerous times. Designating certain cloths for use in different areas, like cafeterias and dining areas, restrooms and classrooms can help reduce cross contamination.

A Brighter and Greener Future

While the cleaning process has traditionally been very resource intensive, there is a movement to make it greener. Finding ways to make cleaning more sustainable benefits the environment and our future. And in many cases, implementing greener methods can help commercial facilities reduce costs by limiting waste generation and resource consumption. The above strategies are just a few ideas that facility managers can consider to enhance their organization’s commitment to environmental stewardship.

At GSF USA, we care about clean, our people and the planet. Our Écologique cleaning program is certified by Green Seal® and delivers a high-quality clean while also considering the environment. Contact us to learn more, and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook for the latest company updates.

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