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3 Tactics That Help Facilities Managers Combat Cold and Flu

How you can best communicate and verify cleaning processes across all of your properties — even when they are cleaned by multiple facilities companies.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the number of people hospitalized due to influenza is the highest it's been in 10 years.

The CDC’s guidance on flu prevention is to be expected: get the flu shot, stay home if you get the flu, wash your hands regularly, and clean any contaminated areas in your home.

Personal hygiene isn’t the only way to lessen the spread of the flu. As facility managers, you’re in a unique position to reduce flu circulation by practicing effective decontamination across properties, client sites, and any other relevant locations.

That means cleaning and disinfecting transmission areas — like doorknobs and sinks — with solutions that kill flu germs, following labeled instructions to make sure chemical absorption occurs, and using UV light technology to double-check for surviving bacteria.

Communicating and verifying cleaning processes seems straightforward — if you’re only managing a couple buildings. But how can you implement these procedures across hundreds of properties that are cleaned by dozens of facilities companies?

01.Use One Centralized Quality Assurance System To Communicate With Janitorial Teams

Informing cleaning companies about required procedures at scale is a complex task. Let’s say you are a property management company or the facility manager responsible for 500 bank locations across the U.S. You’ve got 10-20 janitorial companies at your disposal to clean those banks.

Each janitorial service has its own communication tools, including inspection software. That means the property manager has to log into 10-20 different platforms, enter cleaning procedures and requirements, and look for updates after cleaning takes place. There’s no way to have an accurate picture of what’s happening across your portfolio of properties. And the property manager can’t visit every property — it’s just not feasible (nor should it be!).

Property managers need a quality assurance platform that all service providers can log into — not the other way around. Inside that solution, property managers can easily enter the necessary auditing information and push it down to all 10-20 janitorial companies. Updates from either party will be easily recorded in one place.

02.Create a Flu Season Scope of Work (SOW)

Before you launch into that unified platform, create a flu season SOW. This SOW could include what areas of each building require additional cleaning, when and how frequently to clean, and what type of feedback you’ll be collecting on the cleaning processes.

You might be responsible for a variety of properties, including office buildings, manufacturing plants, or retail stores. What are the attributes of an office building versus a manufacturing plant that would require different cleaning protocols?

Once you’ve written cleaning guidelines that are both general and property-specific, think about how you’d like to verify those activities. Should janitorial supervisors answer questions in a survey, take before-and-after pictures, or send bacteria counts on specified surfaces? Consider how you can accurately confirm that work is complete, knowing that detailed reporting is critical to show value.

03.Perform Root Cause Analysis, And Take Proactive Steps To Improve Outcomes

You may have cleaning requirements documented in a centralized location for all facility managers. But you’re not done yet! The SOW you’ve entered, combined with the data submitted by janitorial services, provides you with a powerful window into what’s happening at property sites. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to act on that data.

Of the 500 banks you manage, let’s say 475 are consistently meeting flu cleanliness requirements. What’s going on with the other 25 banks? They might all be cleaned by 2-3 janitorial services that don’t have access to effective cleaning products. You could reach out to these janitorial services to find out which products they are lacking and connect them with a supplier.

That’s just one use case, but there are many more. The most important thing is to analyze the data you’re collecting in a unified quality assurance platform so you can take action and improve outcomes across all of your properties.

With The Right Tools In Place, Property Managers Can Fight Flu Contamination

Property managers can help fight influenza by using effective cleaning strategies. And with a central system of record, a flu season-specific SOW, and root cause analysis, they can do it efficiently for their entire portfolio.

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