Providing a Safe, Sanitary Environment
For all the difficulties coronavirus has caused, restaurateurs have been able to take comfort in the fact that food is an inhospitable environment for the virus. This allowed many restaurants to stay afloat by turning to take-out and online food deliveries. Fortunately, though, state restrictions are lifting all over the country and dining areas are filling back up. However, these customers – along with servers and other staff – want to know that ownership is doing everything they can to keep them safe. Here are some tips to keep your staff happy and your customers coming back for a return visit.
It Starts with Effective Supplies
List-N is a group of products that the EPA expects to kill all strains and variants of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) when used according to the label directions. Bioesque’s Botanical Disinfectant Solution is included on List-N at features a 55-second kill time against the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19). Furthermore, it’s no-rinse-required, even on food contact surfaces, making it an excellent choice for kitchens and dining areas. Some other supplies to you’ll always want to have on hand are bottles of hand sanitizer and soap, stainless steel cleaner, bleach, paper towels, and plenty of food prep gloves.
Take Care of the Front-of-House
The lobby, cash registers, and main counters get the most frequent outside traffic in a restaurant. Therefore, it’s the area that’s most likely to become contaminated. Think about installing a plexiglass shield around the register as that area often has faces in close proximity. Also, make sure to keep two large bottles of hand sanitizer nearby, one for guests and one for employees. Additionally, make sure you’re frequently disinfecting the entire front door, paying extra attention to handles, push plates, and the edges. Disinfect counters, phones, and cash registers at least three times per day and do the same with high-touch areas in the restrooms.
Put the Cellphones Away
Cellphones are among the germiest objects we come in contact with throughout the day. Touching a phone and then a workstation, table, silverware, etc. is a very easy way to spread pathogens around your establishment, resulting in sick employees and sick customers. Make sure everyone working a shift knows to leave their cellphone alone unless it’s absolutely essential. The same goes for other high-touch personal objects like wallets and car keys.
Check CDC Guidelines
Even taking solid precautions such as these can’t guarantee your business will be safe from the coronavirus. Have a plan in place in the event of an outbreak. The CDC offers plenty of help concerning plans for contact-tracing so check their site often to make sure you’re keeping abreast of the latest information. And if you’re experiencing symptoms, be sure to self-isolate and contact your doctor.
Profitability and Perception
Over the past decades and particularly in an era where climate change is a hot topic, we have seen increasing consumer demand for sustainable business practices. What was once thought to be a passing fad is quickly becoming the new normal. While business owners were initially hesitant to get on board, they soon found that a move toward sustainability can increase profitability. Green products are less costly and more effective than ever before. Furthermore, a sustainable practice includes actively searching for ways to eliminate, reduce, or recycle waste, which in turn reduces expense. Here are some sustainable practices to apply to your food service or restaurant business.
A Move to LED Lighting
LED light fixtures are about three times more energy efficient than fluorescents and almost eight times more efficient than traditional incandescent fixtures. Additionally, LED light bulbs last, on average, up to eight times longer than other bulbs.
Reduce Water Usage
Moving to low-flow plumbing fixtures and appliances can reduce water usage by almost 30%.
Paper, Not Plastic
To-go food is very popular, especially in our era of restaurant restrictions. Paper products are biodegradable and recyclable while plastic ones wind up in a landfill for years.
Restaurants generate plenty of food waste and composting rather than trashing can promote eco-friendly farming in your community.
Buying locally will cut down on transportation costs and reduce your carbon footprint. Furthermore, advertising locally sourced ingredients is a great draw for the eco-minded guest.
Green Cleaning Products
Traditional cleaning products are full of harsh, toxic chemicals. Employees hate using them and guests hate smelling them. However, there are botanically derived alternatives available that offer an environmentally friendly solution without sacrificing any effectiveness.
Protecting the Environment and Increasing Positive Customer Perception
This is obviously not a complete list, but it should give you an idea of a place to start. Other easy strategies to implement could include making straws optional, eliminating styrofoam usage, energy-saving appliances, and donations to food banks. All will reduce your energy usage, waste, and cost. Ultimately, this is good for the environment, your bottom line, and your standing with the green guest.
Cleaner, Safer, and More Productive
If you want to learn a warehouse’s effectiveness at a glance, just take a look at how clean it is. Beyond being merely better organized, clean warehouses are safer and more productive. Some of the benefits to safety should be pretty obvious. For example, if a forklift leaks oil and no one cleans up the puddles, it creates a serious slip hazard. Similarly, piles of disorganized pallets or packing debris can limit visibility and increase the likelihood of an accident.
However, the benefits of a cleaner warehouse go deeper than that. A disorganized workspace leads to disorganized workers. Dirt or grime caked up all over racks sends a message to your employees that you’re not worried about the details. And if you’re not worried about them, they’re not going to worry about them, either. On the other hand, a clean, pleasant place to work with a place for everything and everything in its place will tell your team that you take pride in your organization from top to bottom. Here are a few tips for a cleaner warehouse to keep your employees healthy and productive.
Have a Plan and Set Goals
The sheer size of some facilities can be a little overwhelming. Furthermore, trying to do it all at once will compound the problem. Instead, devise a daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning schedule. Some tasks should be done daily or once per shift. For example, floors can be done once per shift and during that task, leaks, damage, and other outstanding issues can be spotted and addressed immediately. On the other hand, racks could probably be wiped down once a month. Create a calendar or a checklist to make sure everything is being handled according to schedule.
Get Your Employees Involved
Assign areas of the facility to each employee and make it their responsibility to take care of it before they finish their shift. This is an easy way to make sure floors stay clean, trash cans get emptied regularly, and materials stay organized.
Invest in Quality Supplies and Make Them Readily Available
If your workers have to walk all the way to the other side of the facility to get a broom or to find a trash can, they become far less likely to do those things. Keep trash cans near everyone’s work areas and have several broom closets. You may also want to consider investing in green cleaning supplies. Traditional cleaners like ammonia and bleach are full of harsh chemicals and result in lower air quality in your facility. They often also require extra personal protective equipment. Green cleaners like Bioesque’s Botanical Disinfectant Solution are botanically derived, making them a good choice for environmentally conscious organizations.
Stay Consistent and Committed
Clean warehouses are the result of committed leadership with a clear and consistent vision. Devising a plan, letting everyone know their roles, and creating goals to work toward will ensure your facility stays clean and organized. As a result, your employees will be healthier and more productive.
Difficult, but Not Unmanageable
Factories are complex, often massive structures with many specialized areas. You have the production floor, administrative offices, kitchens, cafeterias, breakrooms, and bathrooms. Furthermore, with so many workers moving in and out, all of these are high-traffic areas at least part of the time. All this adds up to make factories very difficult places to keep clean and healthy. However, it’s not impossible. Here are ten keys to a cleaner, healthier factory.
Plan It Out
Without planning, some of those areas mentioned above are bound to be neglected. Take the time to do a walkthrough of the entire building and take copious notes. You’ll want to pay specific attention to high-touch areas, waste receptacles, bathrooms, food areas, etc. Once you have an idea of what needs to be done, you can start parceling out the work on a planned schedule
Stock the Right Supplies for the Job
Brooms, mops, buckets, hand scrubbers, and gloves…these are just the beginning. You’ll also need disinfectant, floor cleaner, surface sealant, degreaser, and more. The exact list will vary according to your company’s needs, but these will give you a basic idea of where you need to begin.
Keeping the floors of a factory clean is a daily struggle. Constant traffic means floors get dirty quickly and that dirt becomes a breeding ground for germs. Make sure floors are swept and mopped once per shift to keep them from becoming haves of grime and pathogens. Consider investing in a sprayer to apply a heavy-duty disinfectant as well.
The Air Vents
Like floors, air vents accumulate dirt and dust quickly. Unlike floors, though, they can often be overlooked. Making sure your air vents are cleaned regularly will ensure good, healthy airflow.
Windows are another means for airflow and as such, they should also be cleaned regularly. Even if the windows are merely decorative, keeping them clean will add to the air of professionalism on your production floor.
For tougher jobs, use a pressure washer with hot water to blast away caked-up grime. If oil and grease is a problem, add a heavy-duty degreaser to the water, let it dwell, and rinse. Repeat as necessary.
As you do your walkthrough, start looking for items that no longer serve a purpose. Your floor managers and team leaders will have a good idea of what is being used when so include them in the conversation. By trimming all inessentials, you can make your space much more efficient and the task of cleaning much easier.
All Hands on Deck
A common saying on the floor is “if you have time to lean, you have time to clean.” Make sure employees are pitching in and cleaning becomes much more manageable.
Schedule a Deep Cleaning
If your lines run 24 hours a day, a full cleaning can be very difficult. Make sure to schedule the occasional deep cleaning for the areas that can’t be reached during production.
Consider a Professional Cleaning Crew
Cost and size of the job are key here. If you have a massive building with multiple lines running 24 hours a day, it might be more cost-effective to invest in a professional cleaning staff rather than use production team resources. Professionals also carry the expertise to get the job done more quickly and efficiently than line workers.
Factories are like cities unto themselves. This can make cleaning them seem like an insurmountable task. However, by using these keys as your starting point, you’ll ensure a clean, safe, and healthy work environment.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought the importance of regular cleaning and disinfecting for both homes and businesses into the forefront. Companies eager to reopen are looking for the latest and most effective technologies. However, sometimes this can be easier said than done. Some unscrupulous commercial cleaning ventures are running slick campaigns promising advanced solutions for cleaning and disinfection. In actuality, some of these methods are unproven or underdeveloped. Here’s a quick overview of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to effectively cleaning and disinfecting your business.
The EPA List N
This is a list of disinfectants approved by the Environmental Protection Agency as being effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Bioesque’s Botanical Disinfectant Solution, a two-in-one cleaner and disinfectant, is included on this list and features a 55-second kill-time against the virus.
Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation is an effective disinfection practice. However, because prolonged exposure to direct UV light can cause burns and skin cancer, UV lighting can only be used in empty rooms.
Antimicrobial Surface Protectant
These products are applied to surfaces and can provide protection against microbes for up to 90 days. At present, though, the EPA only recognizes these products as being effective against odor-causing bacteria, not viruses.
Sprayers and Foggers
These can help deliver more disinfectant to a wider area. Foggers can be an effective way to eliminate airborne pathogens and can deliver disinfectant to hard-to-reach areas like ceilings and underneath furniture.
Electrostatic Delivery Systems
These systems simultaneously spray and electrically charge disinfectant solutions. This electric charge helps the solution to coat surfaces more thoroughly, helping to kill more pathogens in the process.
Steam cleaners are particularly effective at reaching germs in porous materials like upholstery. However, steam can damage surfaces like wood so these cleaners should be used with caution.
This is by no means a comprehensive list but should give you a good overview of what’s available for your business should you decide to hire a commercial cleaning service. Consider the material needs of your specific business environment and remember to stick to those products that have been approved by the EPA as effective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus for the safety of your customers and employees.
Messy work environments can severely hinder productivity. Employees are uncomfortable, materials are disorganized, and efficiency suffers. And in an industrial environment like a factory or warehouse, the importance of cleanliness goes beyond productivity and efficiency. A messy industrial facility is a dangerous one. The fast pace of these environments, though, can make housekeeping difficult. Workers are often rushing all day to meet shipments or keep the line running, and as a result, cleanliness can get pushed to the back burner. If a factory or warehouse is going to stay both productive and safe, it needs to have a plan in place to implement some best practices for housekeeping.
Effective Cleaning Programs Reduce Cost
The equipment on your production floor is specialized and expensive. Just as it’s important for operators to clean their machines at least once per shift, it’s imperative that the areas around these cells stay as spotless as possible. Dirt, dust, and other debris make their way into conveyor systems, motors, and bearings and burn them out. Keeping areas around these machines clean will help keep down maintenance costs and keep your line running.
Good Housekeeping is Essential to Safety
A clean facility is a safe facility. If you have a dedicated safety team, they should work closely, or even be a part of your housekeeping team. For example, oil spills are both a matter of cleanliness and a safety hazard. Another instance is that a disorganized or cluttered staging area causes visibility issues for forklifts as well as efficiency problems. A safety and housekeeping team can create a system that is clean, safe, and productive. Additionally, you may want to consider switching to green cleaning products. These products are free from the harsh chemicals of traditional cleaners and can improve facility air quality.
Remember the Five S’s
Borrowed from the Japanese, these are “sorting,” “set in order,” “shine or sweep,” “standardizing,” and “sustaining.” Adhering to these principles will make cleanliness and organization part of your daily functional process. It’s a way to get all employees on the same page and ensure a safe, productive facility.
A Brighter Future, Rather Than Business as Usual
2020 was a rough year for all of us and COVID-19 had a huge impact on the janitorial industry. As infection and death rates continue to fall, though, 2021 looks like it’s at least the beginning of the end of the pandemic. This means a return to business. However, hopefully, the changes that have occurred will mean a brighter future, both short-term and long.
A Teaching Moment
It’s important that we take what the pandemic has taught us and make it the new normal. It’s a chance to remind our customers of the importance of cleaning as an integral part of public health. This means having the right products and training our employees to use them correctly and safely. We also need to continue to get building occupants on the same page as far as cleaning strategies are concerned, particularly for high-touch points.
Looking to the Future
It’s equally important for the janitorial industry to look toward a post-COVID future and the issues that are affecting our business and our clients. For example, a survey by EcoVadis, “the world’s most trusted provider of business sustainability ratings,” found that 80% of suppliers lacked supply chain due diligence measures. “The recent pandemic put a magnifying glass on supply chain risks and vulnerabilities,” said Pierre-Francois Thaler, co-CEO of EcoVadis. “As organizations look to rebuild operations, they must ensure strong sustainability practices remain front and center, especially when it comes to supplier selection and relationship management.”
Sustainable Solutions Equal Profitable Solutions
A number of cleaning product manufacturers have been developing sustainable, ecologically friendly products. Many of these companies are also a part of the cleaning industry’s Green2Sustainable program. This program has participants saved over $10 million and reduced their carbon footprint by 15%. Adopting sustainable solutions can produce bottom-line savings in our companies as our industry moves into a post-COVID world.
Restoring Consumer Confidence and Reducing the Spread
The coronavirus has been challenging for many. However, one benefit has been that janitorial staffs are now rightfully being lauded as heroic frontline workers. What was once a job behind the curtains of office buildings and other facilities is now center stage as its essential role in protecting public health has achieved widespread recognition.
The proliferation of COVID-19 has led us to re-work our definition of cleanliness. Consumers now realize that a spotless surface and a pleasant scent aren’t enough anymore. Staffs and facilities must plan to clean for better health in order to restore consumer confidence and reduce the spread of infectious pathogens. Companies that do so set themselves up for success during COVID and beyond. The following are some best practices to clean for better health.
Take a Close Look at Your Cleaning Products
The EPA offered a list of disinfectants that are effective against SARS-CoV-2. Bioesque’s Botanical Disinfectant Solution is included on this list and features a 55-second kill time against the virus. Furthermore, it’s naturally derived and free from the harsh chemicals that are a hallmark of many other disinfectants.
Get All of Your Employees Onboard
Even the best janitorial staff can’t be in all places at all times. Cleaning for better health means that employees will have to do their part as well, particularly when it comes to high-touch areas and best practices for reducing the spread of germs. Post signs throughout your facility reminding employees to clean after themselves and disinfect whenever possible. Offering company-wide training to make sure everyone knows how they can be helping out is another solution.
Increase Visibility and Transparency
Your customers, clients, and visitors want to know that you’re doing everything you can to keep them safe. To increase their peace of mind, consider a cleaning schedule that includes times when visitors are in the building. When these folks can actually see the process taking place, they become much more confident in being at your facility.
The pandemic has changed the way we do business and that includes how we clean our building. The public is more educated and aware than ever about the importance of cleaning and disinfection and taking these steps is a chance to assure them that you have their health in mind.
Looking for Greener Solutions
As consumers are becoming more socially aware and active, businesses are becoming increasingly responsive to their demands. A 2019 survey showed that 90% of business leaders believed their customers would hold them accountable for the company’s environmental decisions. To respond to these demands, more companies are looking for greener solutions to their business needs. This includes their cleaning operations. The common complaint against green cleaning is that it’s expensive. However, firms with sustainability strategies are actually helping their bottom line according to a study of S&P 500 companies. By following these tips, companies can devise an environmentally responsible cleaning program, increasing profits and meeting consumer demand.
Assess Your Situation
Examine the cleaning program you currently have in place and look for areas of improvement. For example, how much plastic are you currently using? How much of this can be reduced? Are there ecologically sensitive products you could be using in their place? Looking at your program through a lens of sustainability will give you your first steps towards a green cleaning program.
Establish Some Targets
Once you know where you can improve, set some measurable goals and establish a timeline for achieving them. Furthermore, make sure your team understands the steps they can be taking to help meet these targets. For example, if you’re looking to start a recycling program, put signage up in the restrooms and cafeteria, along with receptacles for recyclable waste.
Make the Shift to Sustainable Products
On the topic of recyclables, consider switching to cleaning products made from recycled material. Mop and broom heads made from 100% recycled textile waste are available. The same goes for 100% recycled plastic handles and buckets.
Take a Look at Your Cleaning Chemicals
Are you using separate cleaners and disinfectants? Are these products full of harsh, toxic chemicals? Bioesque’s Botanical Disinfectant Solution is a 2-in-1 cleaner and disinfectant that is botanically derived, free of bleach, chlorine, and ammonia.
What Going Green Can Do for You
Devising an environmentally responsible cleaning program assures your consumers that you’re doing your part to protect the planet. It demonstrates your commitment to sustainability and community, and by reducing waste, it can also help your bottom line. In short, everyone wins.
Properly Training and Equipping Your Janitorial Staff
Before COVID, healthcare facilities already had their dangers in the form of healthcare-associated infection (HAI). According to CDC data, 1 in 31 hospital patients suffers from am HAI. During the era of coronavirus, though, cleaning and disinfecting healthcare facilities have taken on even greater importance. A properly trained and equipped janitorial staff is an essential weapon in fighting the spread of COVID. The CDC recommends the following as best practices for the cleaning and disinfection of healthcare surfaces. Make sure your team receives training and conforms to these practices. It will better ensure a safe environment for employees and patients alike.
The First Step: Cleaning
Cleaning will remove dirt, dust, debris, and other organic material from surfaces. It can remove micro-organisms as well. However, this is essentially making the surface less hospitable to their proliferation. Be sure to use industrial-strength vacuums with HEPA filters. These filters can remove 99.97% of airborne particles. Mopping should be a two-bucket process to keep waste separate from fresh cleaning solution. Also, make sure to clean mops after each use and allow them to dry completely. Janitorial teams should also be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment at all times.
Step Two: Disinfection
While cleaning can remove some micro-organisms, disinfection actually kills them. Special attention should be paid to high-touch surfaces. These include door handles, stair railings, and countertops, as well as all patient treatment areas. The CDC recommends using the EPA’s List-N as a guide to which disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. Bioesque’s Botanical Disinfectant Solution is on this list and features a 55-second kill time against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Step Three: Proper Handling of Medical Waste
All medical waste such as blood and other bodily fluids, used medical supplies, specimens and cultures, etc. must be designated as medical waste. Additionally, they must have specific handling and disposal procedures. Janitorial teams should receive training in order to recognize medical waste. Furthermore, if they have to handle or dispose of it, they need training in those procedures as well.
Janitorial services for healthcare facilities are a special set of skills and teams should be trained accordingly. OSHA, the EPA, the CDC, JCAHO, and other regulatory organizations all have standards in place that crews must be made aware of. Their protection, as well as the protection of patients, staff, and visitors, is of utmost importance.