Many things have changed in the U.S. since March of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to temporarily or permanently shut their doors, leaving many people out of a job and others to adjust to a work-from-home lifestyle. Nearly two years later, COVID-19 is still a part of our lives, but we’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, much of the world has access to effective vaccines and treatments, and the newest variant (Omicron) – while more transmissible than its earlier counterparts – appears to be less severe on the whole.
As we learn more about this virus, its variants, and the most effective measures for combating its spread, many sectors across the country are gradually returning to normal. That said, not everyone will be so eager about returning to their workplace just yet. A study conducted late in 2021 by the Cleaning Coalition of America (CCA) revealed that approximately 43% of the 1,600 participants still expressed reservations about getting back to the office. The study also found that 66% of participants now prioritize high-quality cleaning protocols at their workplace (before the pandemic, this number was much lower) – 62% claimed they’d feel safer being in the office if sanitation professionals were regularly present.
Indeed, cleaning companies continue to play a major role in keeping facilities safe and open during this pandemic. So, what can your cleaning company do to make your people feel more comfortable returning to the office this year?
What to Do to Make Your Employees Comfortable Returning to the Office
Inspect Your Facility Cleaning Protocols for Strengths and Weaknesses
It has always been crucial for businesses to maintain strong cleaning protocols. Today, however, the standard fare might not cut it anymore. Even if a drastic change in your protocols isn’t wholly necessary, tweaking things here and there can make a major difference on how employees feel throughout the day. Hiring cleaning professionals to do a deep dive into your existing cleaning measures will allow you to understand what you’ve been doing right and what you could improve. As a first step, consider sending out a survey to your employees to learn about their specific concerns and desires moving forward. Once you’ve gained this perspective, your cleaning company can deliver a more informed inspection into your processes.
Develop a Cleaning Strategy Optimized for Your Needs
Getting a grip on your current cleaning protocols is only the beginning. Once your cleaning company has done this, they can begin to develop a new and improved strategy for cleaning and building maintenance in accordance with your unique schedule, needs, and goals. This new rulebook should coincide with your return-to-work plan. Many of your employees will require some time to transition back into the office, especially if they haven’t been back at all since the start of the pandemic. With new and improved cleaning protocols in place, your people can feel more confident coming back. Your cleaning company will also be able to answer any questions your employees may have as they make this transition.
Maintain Strong Communication with All Employees
Following from the previous point: communication is key, both on behalf of your business’ leadership and your cleaning professionals. Your commercial cleaning company is your business’ point of authority on all things related to sanitation, so use their knowledge to keep everyone in your organization informed. All employees must be kept in the loop regarding adjustments in cleaning policies, expectations, risks, mandates, and so on. Failing to inform your employees of these matters can cause chaos, confusion, and fear. In conjunction with your cleaning company, you might post signage in key areas indicating requirements or recommendations such as mask-wearing and social distancing. You might also put up notices in bathrooms reminding all employees of the importance of proper hand-washing.
The key here is sending a clear and cohesive message to all your people. Human resources and communications departments can help you and your cleaning company coordinate your messaging so everyone stays on the same page once returning to the office. The clearer your instructions, the more secure everyone will feel.
Prioritize Disinfection and Ventilation in Addition to Standard Cleaning Practices
The cleaning profession consists of many roles. And during this ongoing pandemic, it’s worth hiring a single cleaning company that can cover multiple bases, including disinfection services, HVAC maintenance, and more. Indeed, both disinfection and ventilation/air filtration are vital components in maintaining a safe, sanitary facility. SARS-CoV-2 (the virus responsible for the disease COVID-19) and its variants primarily spread through the air via respiratory droplets, though the virus can also linger on certain surfaces in rare instances. Knowing this, cleaning professionals should do everything they can to disinfect surfaces throughout the day (particularly in high-traffic areas) and ensure that the facility’s indoor air is properly filtered to keep viral particles at bay. Improving and maintaining this high indoor air quality (IAQ) might require the installation of a new air purification system.
Provide the Proper Tools for Occupants
Lastly, your cleaning company can empower employees to care for their own health and safety throughout the day by providing your facility with COVID-19 supplies, such as hand sanitizer stations, EPA-registered disinfectants, effective masks (such as N95 or KN95 masks), disposable gloves, and so on. The cleaning professionals you hire won’t be there 24/7, so the more prepared your employees are, the better. Guests and customers will also feel more comfortable entering your facility having these supplies at the ready.
Cultivate a Comfortable Return to Your Facility
Whether you plan on hosting a grand reopening or insist on a gradual transition from remote work to in-person work, you must make sure your employees feel safe coming back. Comprehensive cleaning and maintenance providers like The Budd Group can facilitate this adjustment as efficiently as possible. In addition to our standard cleaning offerings, we offer disinfection services, IAQ improvement, preventative maintenance, safety programs, and much more. To learn more about our services and values, give us a call today at 800-221-8158!