April Showers Bring May Flowers, But March Brings More Colds & Flu
April showers bring May flowers, but March is still a peak time for influenza. With the risk of flu and other transmissible illness still so high, your janitorial services must work with you to effectively preventcross contamination and reduce the likelihood that your employees will become ill, impacting productivity, absenteeism and even employee turnover. Even just a few cases of the flu can wreak havoc in your facility if your building suffers from ineffective cleaning practices, employees coming to work sick and even suboptimal hand washing practices. Your commercial cleaning company can and should be doing their part to safeguard you and your employees from influenza, common bacterial infections and other seasonal, highly contagious viruses. Is your janitorial company a true partner in safeguarding the health of your facility and its occupants? Are they doing all they should be to clean for health?
Your First Line of Defense Against the Flu & Other Illnesses
Just because spring has officially started doesn’t mean you and your facility’s occupants are safe from the flu. In fact, March continues to be a peak time for cases of flus, colds and other common transmissible illnesses. So even as the weather warms, you must continue to be on defense. What measures make up your first line of defense against the flu? First, encourage sick employees to stay home. Workers who come in with the flu can easily spread it among staff and visitors pushing productivity down and absenteeism up. Second, remind employees of correct hand washing etiquette. Even posting proper hand washing techniques can serve as a good reminder to all of us to wash our hands. Furthermore, you would be surprised how many people are washing hands ineffectively. Reducing sick people in your facility and then making sure occupants wash their hands is a good first line of defense in stemming the spread of illnesses like the flu.
When Your Janitorial Company Is Part of the Problem
Your janitorial company can either be a part of the solution, or a part of the problem when it comes to the spread of illness. You can encourage sick employees to stay home and post hand washing reminders in every restroom in your building, but if your commercial cleaning company is failing to followbest practices, you and your employees are at risk. Cross contamination is one of the most serious issues in cleaning and it could literally be making your employees sick. Is your janitorial company putting you at risk with cross contamination? Is your commercial cleaning company failing to use cleaning cloths for dedicated purposes? Is a mop head used to clean the bathroom also used in the break room? The implications being that the practices of your cleaning company have a tremendous impact on the overall cleanliness and health of your facility. Which best practices and healthy habits can help combat the risks of cross-contamination from your janitorial services company?
- Emphasize cleaning of oft touched services to reduce germ load.
- Practice frequent mop water changes or clean mop head/mop cloth to reduce the spread of germs from one area to the next.
- Entryway mats provide an effective way to trap debris and dirt before they enter your facility.
- Utilize a color-coded cloth system to reduce cross-contamination.
- Keep all cleaning equipment properly maintained. Vacuum cleaners, mops, commercial floor cleaning equipment and more require regular cleaning, inspection and periodic maintenance in order to operate most effectively.
- Stress importance of correct chemical use and storage. For example, use a regular cleaner for low risk surfaces and a disinfectant for oft touched, high risk surfaces. Likewise, using chemicals appropriately and according to directions in order to provide maximum effectiveness.
- Assure chemical/supply/equipment storage closets are clean and orderly. Soiled towels, grimy mops and buckets simply increase the likelihood of cross contamination.
The Real Implications of Cleaning For Health
Everyone likes a building that looks clean, but more important is what you cannot see. Influenza is invisible, E.Coli is invisible, all the other illness causing bacteria and viruses that move between people are unseen by the naked eye. That’s why we rely on science based cleaning methods and industry best practices to eradicate the disease causing germs we cannot see. What cleaning best practices are covered under the directive of ‘cleaning for health?’ For one, HEPA filter vacuum cleaners are a good start as they improve indoor air quality, which can help reduce the spread of germs and reduce triggers for those who suffer from allergies and or other related ailments. Next, special attention to hot spots and touch points is critical for reducing the spread of germs. Likewise, implementing a system of color coded cloths is a best practice that safeguards health by reducing the spread of disease causing germs from one surface to the next. After all, no one wants their desk wiped down with a towel used to clean the urinals. Cleaning best practices also include using cleaning chemicals according to the manufacturer’s recommendations including using the right cleaner for the right purpose and observing dwell times that make bactericides and viricides more effective. If your janitorial company isn’t following these best practices and others, they just cannot be your all star team in helping protect your building’s occupants and your business from the negative impact of the unnecessary spread of the flu.
Hit a Home Run With Touch Points & Hot Spots
Why are touch points and hot spots so critical to stemming the spread of disease causing germs? Hot spots and touch points are the fixtures and surfaces that see many, many hands throughout the day. Think the light switches in rooms, shared computer equipment, phones, touch pads, door handles and more. Because so many different people touch these surfaces, the likelihood that someone carrying the flu or other disease causing germs touched them and left behind germs that could get another person or people sick is high. Therefore, cleaning these areas the right way with the right product is critical for reducing exposure and transmission of the flu and other common transmissible ailments. An all star janitorial service understands the science of cleaning, how germs work and spread and how to use their tools and know how to reduce the germ load and keep your facility and its occupants healthier.
Putting It All Together
The right janitorial partner is a critical piece in creating a healthy work environment. Not only is it just good sense to want a healthy facility, it can have a measurable impact on your bottom line. Sick employees are less productive, get other employees sick and take more time off. Working with a janitorial services company that recognizes the importance of cleaning for health and adheres to cleaning best practices is crucial to safeguarding your employees' health and your facility’s reputation. Want to know if your cleaning company is set up to help you survive the home stretch of this year’s flu season? Ask them. If you are looking to draft a new team, use the cleaning for health information to ask a prospective janitorial company about their practices and habits. The right commercial cleaning company can be a true partner in the smooth maintenance and overall health of your facility.