With COVID-19 placing new scrutiny upon the level of clean achieved in virtually every building type, property owners, employers, and cleaning companies alike are pushing for new strategies to get cleaner facilities.
To achieve the higher level of clean expected by consumers and industry stakeholders, companies have a few options to consider:
- Push staff to do more deep disinfection on top of current responsibilities. With a raise in pay that corresponds to the raise in expectations, it may be possible to keep turnover down.
- Hire more cleaners, and absorb the cost of a growing staff.
- Invest in building solutions that support cleaning staff efficiency. With a few well-placed upgrades, staff can get the support they need to work more efficiently.
Fortunately, there are ample innovative building solutions now available to help custodial staff perform more efficiently. Applying a strategic range of solutions to your most time-consuming cleaning activities can help you support staff morale and building occupant safety all at once.
Hospitals have pushed the use of high-touch surfaces with antimicrobial properties to reinforce surface cleaning practices. Copper, which is intrinsically antimicrobial, has been used in door handles, handrails, and, most recently, an entire hospital bed. Recent research indicates copper may potentially hold antiviral properties as well. Researchers are also exploring ways to strengthen the antiviral properties with textured copper or add such characteristics into aluminum alloys.
Do these antimicrobial surfaces negate the need for cleaning? Not exactly. But it may mean staff need to perform only a cursory surface cleaning to remove the dust and dirt upon which viral particles can linger longer.
Touchless solutions made smarter
Reducing high-traffic touchpoints is another smart strategy for streamlining cleaning services—and reducing disinfection risks. Solutions include familiar options like automatic paper towel and soap dispensers, faucets, and lighting. Now, building product suppliers are making these solutions more intelligent with Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity. By empowering your staff with connected devices, you can dramatically reduce the number of trips staff make to each restroom to check product levels. Technology providers estimate that smart restroom solutions can boost staff efficiency by 20 percent within six months.
Cobots to support your staff
Cobots—that’s collaborative robots—are emerging as a solution to automate tasks outside of manufacturing. For example, Whiz, the autonomous vacuum sweeper from SoftBank Robotics, developed and distributed in partnership with Brain OS and ICE Robotics, can be used to tackle more monotonous tasks. It’s jobs like vacuuming that tend to drive the repetitive strain that leads to musculoskeletal injuries, making this one task where workers invite automation. What’s more, unlike surfaces quietly degrading viruses, the soft hum of a vacuum at work is a reminder to building occupants that cleanliness is a constant priority.
Cleaning time trackers
To determine which building investments are best suited to improving your cleaning efficiency, it’s important to first track the time spent on specific tasks. How often are trips made to refill soap dispensers across multiple floors? How many high-touch surfaces are in your lobby alone? How much time is spent vacuuming before tackling new disinfection requirements?
GPS time tracking solutions can simplify this process. A number of timesheet providers offer GPS-based time tracking that lets managers know when employees clock in and out. Many of these solutions also provide insight into how long it takes to get to a job site. With greater insight into how long it truly takes cleaning staff to perform required work, you gain a better knowledge into your true costs and areas where you can improve.
More data, more efficiency
Of course, a cleaning solution that can provide clear data on the square footage it has cleaned, when it operated, and how long it ran makes benchmarking that much easier. Whiz is the first vacuum sweeper to offer data about each cleaning. Clients who use the Whiz Connect dashboard gain detailed insight into when and where cleaning was performed. Whiz is available with a subscription model that allows property owners and cleaning companies to cost-effectively pilot this solution.