Catchwords aside, clearly outlining cleaning and disinfecting protocols for end user customers seems like an obvious move for distributors. It also does not hurt for them to publicize the efforts or even shift after hours cleaning tasks to days, so they are front and center.

“It makes sense to showcase cleaning and disinfecting,” says Flug. “Even if it is just for perception’s sake, it helps make the public more comfortable when they’re in the facility.”

Distributors can help with these efforts. Encourage end user customers to get out ahead of the questions occupants might ask. Help them make the information available and accessible. “They can try sending out blast emails with cleaning schedules,” says Nolan. “These should include new maintenance procedures with back-to-the-office literature. As distributors, we can help them explain to building occupants what cleaning and disinfecting is being done and why.”

Rasin strongly agrees. He stresses that end users should make every effort to promote the work that the cleaning staff is doing.

“Publish it on the company website and put it in flyers,” he says. “We can help them frame it as, ‘this is what we’re doing to protect you.’”

This strategy, of course, requires a plan. Distributors can help building managers come up with appropriate policies and procedures for every square foot of space.

“Buildings are more complicated than ever,” says Nolan, who reports spending more time closely examining office floor plans than ever before in his career. “There are fitness centers, break rooms, shared conference rooms, shared cafeterias, even shared desks. And don’t forget the elevators and stairwells. Every area needs a separate plan that includes the core strategy, the products used and where supplies like masks and hand sanitizer are located.”

Trainings Elevated

Continued training will also be important for distributors in 2021 and beyond. A bit of a tough sell in the pre-COVID days, training in proper cleaning and disinfecting techniques really took off during the pandemic.

“It used to be common for new cleaning hires to skip formal training and just shadow a more experienced employee,” says Rasin. “But maybe that ‘experienced employee’ doesn’t really know what they’re doing. Right after COVID-19 started, I was busy training every week and I expect some of that to continue.”

Wells also conducted a fair bit of in-service training at schools.

“A big part of our job is educating the public,” she says. “That training is particularly important in schools or any place where there are children. You don’t want to let kids handle disinfectants. Even disinfectant wipes.”

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