Long-term Implications of Green Cleaning

There’s only one planet Earth, so organizations have a responsibility to do their part to improve public health while reducing negative effects on the environment. Commercial facilities are increasingly adopting sustainability practices, including more responsible cleaning. There are several benefits that come with green cleaning that all meet one primary goal: having a healthier environment. Green cleaning goes the extra mile, using effective, safe and sustainable solutions.

Lasting Benefits of Responsible Cleaning

Responsible cleaning can offer benefits for:

People

Traditional products may be high in toxic irritants, dangerous compounds or volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can remain in environments long after use. In fact, at least 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds that come from petroleum. Petroleum-based chemicals have been known to alter hormones and cause serious medical issues like cancer, neurological disorders, weakened immune systems, learning disabilities, allergies, infertility and more.

Using sustainable cleaning chemicals can reduce health risks and enhance indoor air quality (IAQ). This reduces the adverse effects that poor IAQ has on people, especially those with asthma and allergies. Good IAQ also supports better productivity and performance by reducing health issues that can cause absenteeism and presenteeism.

The planet

U.S. commercial buildings are responsible for consuming 17% of water, 33% of energy, 40% of raw materials and 71% of electricity, indirectly or directly producing 40% of landfill waste and 33% of carbon dioxide emissions. Green cleaning programs carefully consider the amount of waste being produced and sent to landfills. This results in less waste polluting waterways and habitats. Facility managers can look for manufacturers that offer eco-friendly products that will help reduce the impact that cleaning has on the planet.

Brand reputation

Green cleaning improves the perception of the brand. Organizations that have a clear commitment to the environment can improve brand reputation and customer retention, thereby driving greater profits. It turns out that consumers are willing to pay more for products and services coming from companies that are dedicated to social responsibility. Adopting sustainability policies and practices, including green cleaning, also supports employee recruitment and retention, thereby reducing operating costs.

How to Implement Sustainability in Commercial Cleaning

There are numerous ways that commercial facilities can make cleaning more environmentally friendly, including:

Focusing on water conservation

Cleaning requires large volumes of water. Thus, facility managers should carefully assess their equipment. Self-contained scrubbers are capable of effectively cleaning hard floors without multiple buckets of water, and clean up to 70% faster than conventional wet mopping and 30% faster than conventional auto scrubbing. Another simple way to save water is to use dilution stations to make precisely dosed amounts of cleaning chemical with the right amount of water.

Additionally, floor care machines using ec-H20 technology, which converts water into an effective cleaning solution, can help facilities reduce water usage and improve safety. Compared to traditional floor cleaning chemicals, the solution produced through ec-H20 technology removes soils without leaving a chemical residue and scrubbers equipped with this technology also use less water.

Adopting electrochemically activated solutions

More facilities are replacing traditional toxic cleaning products with electrochemically activated solutions (ECAS). These are generated on site using three safe ingredients: water, salt and electricity. ECAS do not irritate the eyes or skin and support better IAQ, as they do not contain added fragrances, dyes or VOCs. This makes them a better solution for everyday use. Adopting ECAS demonstrates that cleaning professionals’ wellbeing and the environment matter.

Reducing waste generation

Investing in high-quality cleaning tools and supplies means they won’t have to be replaced as frequently. This helps cleaning programs generate less waste. For example, microfiber cloths remove fine particles, bacteria, microbes and soils on surfaces. Moving away from single-use solutions like disinfectant wipes in favor of reusable options like microfiber is more environmentally friendly.

ECAS also support waste reduction efforts, as facilities can eliminate chemical shipments and frequent disposal of plastic bottles that contribute to carbon dioxide emissions and additional waste to landfills. Lastly, selecting reliable equipment and properly maintaining it can reduce unnecessary and frequent replacements that create waste.

The “Green for Clean” Effect

The purpose of sustainable cleaning is to create a healthier environment for today and future generations. By eliminating harsh chemicals, commercial facilities support the planet and the health and safety of building occupants and visitors. To become more environmentally friendly, facility managers can look into new ways to reduce waste and innovative technologies that positively impact the organization’s footprint as well as brand reputation.

At GSF USA, we care about clean and making commercial cleaning programs more sustainable. Contact our offices here and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook for the latest updates.

A Decade of Service (and More) at GSF USA

At GSF USA, we care about clean and the people who help us achieve cleanliness in our customers’ buildings. We are dedicated to hiring and retaining the best talent, and helping individuals build meaningful careers in the commercial cleaning industry.  

Because we are focused on equipping our people with high-quality tools, equipment, training and leadership development, we are proud that many have been with our team for years. This quarter, numerous employees are celebrating a decade or longer with the company!  

Congratulations to all and thank you for your continued efforts to help GSF USA grow and differentiate itself as a leading building service contractor. We could not have gotten to where we are today without your hard work! 

20th Anniversaries 

Ines Enciso, GSF Illinois
Keith Wachter, GSF Ohio   

15th Anniversaries  

Nayeli Enriquez, GSF Illinois
Gerardo Rodriquez, GSF Illinois
Guadalupe Sanchez, GSF Indiana  

10th Anniversaries 

Ana Molina, GSF Indiana
Juan Manuel Duran, GSF Illinois
Dana Robinson, GSF Indiana  

Hard Floor Care Strategies for Success

When entering a facility, the cleanliness of the floor is often the first thing people notice. While clean floors may not be something you think about all the time, it’s certainly noticeable when they are dirty or wet.  

Not only are dirty floors dangerous, they can also give visitors a negative impression of your organization’s commitment to cleanliness. At least 52% of adults claim they would not return to a retailer if they encountered slippery floors or floors covered in dirt or dust. Additionally, the accumulation of dirt and debris on the floor can facilitate an unhealthy environment. 

Having a strategic approach to floor care is essential for maintaining cleanliness and safety. Learn how to improve floor care so you can impress everyone entering your facility.  

Hard Floor Types and Risks 

It’s important to maintain the cleanliness of your facility’s floors because wet conditions can lead to slip-and-fall accidents. Additionally, heavy foot traffic can make floors appear dirty, requiring continuous upkeep. If floor care is not a priority, it can lead to reputational damage as well as costly and disruptive replacement. 

There are multiple types of hard flooring, including but not limited to:  

Terrazzo 

These floors are made with marble and natural stone chips using a concrete binder, which can be high maintenance. Because of their glossy texture, they can become very slippery when wet.  

Wood 

Wood flooring needs to be sealed to prevent absorption of oil and water. It can be slippery when wet if highly glossed or polished.  

Concrete 

A concrete floor’s slip resistance depends on finish and wear. In particular, rounded aggregate can be slippery when concrete wears. Interior surfaces are often sealed to prevent dust accumulation and absorption of liquids, but this can increase slipperiness. 

Vinyl composition tile (VCT) 

VCT is a common type of flooring and is easy to clean yet slippery when wet, particularly if polished. Thicker, softer vinyl is more slip resistant than hard vinyl.  

Finding the Right Floor Care Balance  

Wear and tear of floors is more common when they are not cleaned on a regular basis. Consistent floor care can save your facility money by extending the lifespan of the flooring and upholding brand reputation.  

Consider the following floor care strategies to keep these surfaces looking their best:  

Vacuum regularly  

Vacuuming is essential for removing dirt and dust from floors, especially before applying cleaning chemicals. Cobotic, or collaborative robotic vacuums are an asset to your floor care program. They navigate through mapped cleaning routes and safely avoid obstacles while picking up soils. Best of all, you can monitor these automated machines remotely. 

Automate the labor-intensive parts of floor care 

One of the main challenges is the lack of visibility into cleaning status and performance. Supplementing manual labor with cobots enables cleaning teams to be more productive and gives you a clear view of the floor care process, because you can access operational data like machine run-time and routes completed. In addition to automated vacuums, you can use cobotic floor scrubbers that apply cleaning solutions to hard surfaces.  

Avoid cross-contamination 

It’s important to not contaminate clean floors with dirty water. Ensure cleaning professionals are utilizing a dual-cavity mop bucket when possible, which separates clean water from dirty water, thereby reducing soil deposits back onto freshly cleaned floor surfaces.  

Provide formal training 

Occasionally, certain areas are going to need to be cleaned a second time, which could be a sign your team needs additional training. Conducting formal training enables you to highlight proper floor care methods and potential safety risks to enable your team to be more efficient without sacrificing performance.  

Standardize cleaning protocols with SOPs 

Establish standard operating procedures (SOPs), or written standards that inform your staff of all the necessary tools, supplies and protocols for floor care. SOPs are beneficial because they ensure consistency and reduce the need to reclean due to mistakes. They also increase confidence, as staff will know exactly what is expected of them. 

Getting First Impressions Right 

In order to give your facility the best first impression, having clean, safe flooring is important. Clean with the appropriate chemicals where needed and address floors regularly to avoid accumulation of soils and moisture. With a dedicated cleaning team and the right equipment in place, your floors will always impress building visitors and occupants.  

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.

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 Errors 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 the Two Processes

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”

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.

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