A large change to traditional cleaning protocols doesn’t just suddenly happen. When executives demand new cleaning and disinfecting procedures, facility cleaning managers must initially examine current procedures closely. The first move toward doing this should be to put new policies and procedures in place.

Procedures should be changed so that janitors and custodians are now focusing more on location, specifically the cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces. Staff should be given as much time as they need to clean and disinfect these areas, says Kimberly Thomas, senior director of services for the Facilities Management Division at the University of Georgia (UGA), Athens, Georgia. Staff needs to be given necessary time to clean, even if that means sacrificing attention paid to individual areas, such as desks and cubicles.

To offset the lack of time allocated for individual work areas, Thomas and the rest of the Facilities Management Division at UGA have encouraged faculty and other staff to take their waste and recycling to common stations in the hallway. Though the cooperative cleaning has been a change for a lot of faculty, Thomas says they appreciate the difference because of all that’s being accomplished as a result.

If cooperative cleaning isn’t an option or doesn’t save as much time as is needed, now is a good time to examine whether more resources need to be made available in order to get the job done right.

“It’s an opportunity for facility cleaning managers to make the case to upper management that they need additional personnel,” says Solomon.

In addition to examining the small details surrounding cleaning and disinfecting, facility managers should also aim to examine the bigger picture.

“Assess the facility by the type of users, number of users, flow of users and what those users are looking for in terms of cleaning and disinfecting,” says Sawchuk. He recommends facility managers determine what objectives they have for cleaning and disinfecting, then design their programs and plan their training, and choose the tools, products and equipment they use, accordingly.

Though different facilities have different needs, some things apply to all facilities. For example, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) should have been mandatory even before the COVID-19 pandemic occurred. After months of battling COVID-19, it has become not only clear that PPE is a necessity, but training in the correct use of the equipment is also vital.

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