There are some HTOs that are personal items that you definitely should not be responsible for. That's why getting building occupants involved in office cleanliness is so important. This approach should be discussed with the customer and the offer made to provide information regarding the cost of lost days that result from poor occupant health practices that you have no control over. In addition to the direct costs of absenteeism, there are the hidden costs of “presenteeism.” Presenteeism is when employees come to work sick. They underperform and their lack of productivity costs the company money. In addition, they spread sickness to others.

Jeff McGee, assistant director of building services at the University of Maryland, introduced the concept of “Everyone Cleans” along with the benefits of cleaning and sanitizing to faculty and staff. This program proves people respond positively to the facts and concerns for their health. Be prepared with newspaper articles, statistics on surface contamination, etc. Your supplier can be a good source of information.

Besides engaging building occupants in office cleanliness, involve your janitors in reviewing general procedures and updating them to make them site specific. This engages employees while they are being trained and engaged employees are proven to be more productive.

A performance log can serve as due diligence in the case of an outbreak of disease. If cleaning and sanitizing of HTOs is included in your workloading inspection program, that may serve as adequate due diligence. If not, a record or log of this may become important in the future.
Tradition holds that a building service contractor’s signature is created by the appearance of the floors and the cleanliness and freshness of restrooms. With the new healthcare legislation, the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria into the public sector and the risk of lawsuits, additional due diligence should be foremost in the mind of every owner and supervisor in our industry. The health of the occupants of your customer’s buildings rests in your hands. I can think of no better way to enhance a BSC’s image than to show concern for the customer’s building occupants supported by a professional program.

Skip Seal is a trainer and consultant with more than 30 years management experience in the cleaning industry. He is a LEED Accredited Professional and a Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) ISSA Certification Expert (I.C.E.). Seal and his team offer support across the country with sales and operation analysis, new market penetration and sales training. He can be reached at

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Establishing Cleaning and Disinfecting Frequencies In Contracts