Is Your School Cleaning Making the Grade?
School campuses suffer from many of the same issues that we find in other types of buildings and facilities. Their high traffic quickly dirties just cleaned spaces, damage and wear can add up fairly quickly, and their multifaceted nature requires individualized cleaning services. Don't be fooled though, schools present a host of other issues unique to the learning environment and if your cleaning company is not well versed on what a school really needs, service is going to be less effective at best, disruptive at worst. So what does this mean for you as Facility Manager? First, that you need to partner with a commercial cleaning service that has experience working with schools and understands what sets school cleaning apart from general office cleaning. If you school cleaning services aren’t intimately familiar with the service and security that a school setting demands, they won’t keep your students and staff safe or keep the campus running smoothly helping to provide the ideal learning environment. So, what are the top ten things that will make or break your school cleaning?
#1 - Knowledge of Cleaning for Health Is A Must Have
Wiping a surface until it looks presentable isn’t all there is to cleaning. In fact, you may be doing even more harm than good just moving disease causing germs around without eradicating them. Michigan school cleaning services that take their jobs seriously know that they need to carefully observe dwell times and touch points among other critical aspects of cleaning for health when dealing with your facility. Is your school cleaning company paying close attention tot hose areas students touch most frequently? It is also critical that there is a green school cleaning in place. Does your school cleaning company utilize green cleaning in their process?
#2 – Security Is Vital
There is no issue more important or more relevant today than security and your cleaning company must be focused on assuring the right people are chosen to work in your school setting. It should be a given that your school cleaning company isn’t taking any chances with their staffing. What does this look like? They must take the time to carefully and rigorously screen every person that works on your campus with at least the following: drug screening, stringent, comprehensive criminal background checks, reference and employment verification among other relevant screening. When it comes to your school’s cleaning staff, school janitorial services cannot be taking the easy way out with regard to hiring practices.
#3 – Commitment Can’t Be Lacking
A constant hiring and firing of cleaning companies is of help to no one. Your ever-changing cleaning staff will never have time to learn the ins and outs of your facility and it will send the wrong message to staff and parents. But of course you shouldn’t have to settle with a cleaning company with no commitment to you, this is why vetting a school cleaning company before you commit is so critical. The goal should always be to build a stable, lasting relationship with a single school cleaning service provider. No company is going to be perfect at first, but the best will take the time to learn the dos and don’ts of your school and set you up for a long, mutually beneficial relationship.
#4 –Safety & Safe Practices
You may know who you are letting in your school, but do you know what you’re letting in? Security isn’t the only way that you need to insure your student and staff’s safety. Not all cleaning products and procedures are appropriate for schools. To insure safety, safe chemicals need to be used and it should be absolutely required and checked that all regulations regarding chemical storage are followed to the letter. If a janitorial company is taking shortcuts here, thy are likely taking shortcuts everywhere.
#5 – Attitude Is Latitude
Ever hear the phrase “attitude is latitude?” The idea being that a positive attitude and growth mindset give you position, direction and help you accomplish all you want. The biggest indicator of the quality of your cleaning company and the subsequent quality of your cleaning and service is their attitude towards their work. Companies that care about the work they do will have staff that are positive, enthusiastic, and excited to take on the challenges of your school. Attitude isn’t about rote perfection, it’s about caring that the work is done well and caring about your customers. If a company really cares, good work grows from that.
#6 - Flexibility & Responsiveness = Better Service & Better Value
Anyone that has attended school knows that they can be unpredictable places that change from year to year, day to day and even from hour to hour. The number of students, the mix of class types, after school activities, athletics, programs, events, and budgets mean that every day is going to look at least a little bit different. For this reason your school cleaning company needs to be able to respond and adapt to the constant flux and be flexible and responsive to your school’s specific and individual needs. In this era of shrinking school budgets, you cleaning company needs to be able to scale up and scale back their staff and services as you need.
#7 – Accountability Is Key
Things are always going to go wrong, that isn’t the issue, not knowing who you need to speak with to get things back on track is were the real issues begin. A solid school cleaning company will make sure that you know who to get in touch with and deal issues before they spiral out of control.
#8 – Communication Matters
In schools the “learning curve” is often referenced, and the same goes for your school cleaning service. Keeping open lines of communication between you and school janitorial services is the only way that you can keep your school in peak operating condition. The best Michigan cleaning companies are going to have provably effective systems in place to keep those lines open and running without hitches to deal with problems as they inevitably show up.
#9 – Compliance Is Critical
No matter what the area, chemical storage, screening practices, hiring regulations, insurance, or data safety, the rules exist for a reason and your cleaning company must be complaint on all of them. There is no place for a service provider that cuts corners inside something as important as your school.
#10 – Cleaning Industry Best Practices
It should go without saying but when it comes to school cleaning services, best practices are a must. Whether it be the use of effective, tested, modern equipment, proper background checks and security practices, safer green cleaning chemicals and practices, a school is not the place to be taking shortcuts. The school environment is the best place to implement all of the things we know make for safe and effective cleaning. Don’t settle for less from your commercial cleaning company.
Finding A School Cleaning Company That Hits the Top Ten
As we might expect of anything school related, it all comes down to you doing your homework on possible school cleaning services. Your best bet is always going to be looking for a company that offers a green cleaning program that fits your budget and specific needs. Among other important things is to check for is a comprehensive training program and clear commitment to the industry's best practices. Any competent school cleaning provider will always be happy to show you exactly how they train their staff. Similarly, any professional cleaning service will have an effective system in place to make sure you get the best possible results in your facility and makes it easy to address problems and resolve them as they pop up, not after they have spiraled out of control. You can use relevant industry accreditation programs like CIMS-GB. Such certifications can be a powerful tool for quickly narrowing down your list of companies to only the best. If you do your homework, your school cleaning service is sure to pass the test!