The current pandemic has brought to the fore the importance of proper cleaning for many industries. Not only for those essential businesses who need to keep operating. It has also highlighted some important questions about workplace health and safety. And the compliance risk for organisations as staff return to the office.
What has also become more clear is the need for organisations to contract trace. Especially who is actually doing the cleaning in their premises. One of the challenges with cleaning providers is the web of contractors. Which not only can make this challenging, but also difficult to understand who was where and when.
Now, many companies will be making the decision of a cleaning service provider based on price. Often cleaning is an out of sight, out of mind, often out of hours non-essential category.
There are four simple questions that everyone should consider. If you are coming out of contract. Not happy with the current service provider or looking to tighten up this category.
1/ Is it important to your organisation?
Different industries have different requirements and different needs. This will never change. Some industries are reliant on cleaning to meet manufacturing standards such as food. Others where staff are on-site have also been dependent on cleaning to keep their businesses moving during the pandemic. Such as logistics or manufacturing.
The need to provide a safe workplace is a core part of workplace health and safety requirements. Reducing the risk to staff of passing on COVID during the current pandemic. Furthermore, the pandemic has highlighted the cost impact of absenteeism.
If your people matter – then cleaning matters to your organisation. Both during the pandemic and into the future.
2/ Are you getting what you are paying for?
When you contract a cleaning services provider – you are generally paying for a set of services. The rates you pay allow for the payment of industry award rates as well as management fees. In most cases anyway. Sometimes that provider is doing the work themselves or subcontracting it out and taking a management fee. It is important to understand how what you pay aligns to what is being done and who is doing the actual cleaning.
It all starts with a detailed site plan per site? Do you have a site plan per site for cleaning? If not, then how are you evaluating whether you are getting what you are paying for?
On the idea of modern slavery, award rates are a quick google away so there is no excuse for underpayment. Do not contribute to a form of modern slavery. It is quite prevalent in the cleaning industry – even in a first world country such as Australia.
3/ How do you know the work is being done?
If you are not seeing a report each time, every time a service is provided. You may not be getting what you have paid for.
So what should be in a cleaning report? A site cleaning report should align to a site plan. And show what work was completed by the cleaners every time they visit.
4/ How clean is clean?
As we said earlier, each business is different and may have different requirements. And, there are differences between cleaning and disinfection. Of course there is more to knowing a clean has been done than a report saying it has been done.
Your cleaning services provider should back up their reports with testing to show it is clean. And disinfected where required. If not, then it might be time to consider a second opinion or testing to see whether what your premises are clean.
5/ Are your stakeholders asking for COVID compliant cleaning?
It is now common for external (and internal) stakeholders to request compliance checks. In view of the impact of COVID 19 on businesses – no one wants to be shutdown. Especially essential businesses. Many are now requesting compliance to standards as well as proof of tests.
Customers are requesting that suppliers’ sites are compliant, to standard and COVID safe. To minimise the risk to their own staff and their own customers. The flow on effects of liability mean it might be a good idea to take action. Take proper action and show appropriate duty of care. For your staff, customers, suppliers and the community.
Reporting, Auditing and standards matter. Plus more and more companies are looking for proof such as swab tests or ATP testing.
Time to spring clean the category
The need for more rigorous cleaning procedures is not going away, especially as more companies return to work. Nor is the opportunity to safeguard your business, its staff and the community. Cleaning is no longer an out of sight, out of mind category that where issues can figuratively be swept under the carpet.
Now is the time to review this category to spring clean your business before the community starts to open up.