Michigan is finally reopening. Employees are returning to offices and manufacturing facilities, folks are dining out at their favorite restaurants again, and the kids are returning to school come fall. Despite this good news, there remains some uncertainty on the part of both employers and employees. The question on everyone’s mind is: What do businesses need to do to bring employees back safely and stay open?
Employers Must Overcome Concerns and Inspire Confidence
According to research conducted by The Conference Board, a New York think tank, only 17% of the workers surveyed felt “very comfortable” about returning to work, while most of the workers felt “moderately comfortable” (39%) or “not at all comfortable” (31%). The survey found that the top concerns about returning to the workplace are the risk of contracting COVID-19 (51%) and the risk of exposing family members to the virus (49%), even with the rollout of vaccines. Some workers also expressed anxiety about co-workers not adhering to safety protocols.
So how are employers addressing these concerns? The same survey revealed the most frequent actions businesses are taking to alleviate fears and safeguard their workers include:
- Purchasing safety equipment like masks, thermometers, contactless entry devices and sanitation devices
- Creating new social distancing workplace policies
- Deep cleaning and disinfecting the workspace for returning workers
In fact, the results of a “Return to Work” survey, conducted online by the Harris Poll, revealed that 65% of employed Americans who went into the office prior to COVID-19 are concerned about the cleanliness and hygiene of the workplace. In addition, 59% say they have heightened expectations of their employers when it comes to hygiene protocols in the office and would like to see hand sanitization stations (58%) and more frequent cleaning and sanitizing (58%), among other safety measures.
When employees return to work, offices or other facilities should look different than they did pre-COVID. In other words, the changes should be visible to inspire confidence.
Cleaning Has a New Meaning
For years, studies have suggested that a clean workspace is better for employees. It has been shown to increase productivity, make employees feel happier, and prevent the spread of colds and flu. This hasn’t changed. What has changed since COVID-19, however, is that most people now have a heightened expectation of what clean means. Today’s cleaning practices require more than just a quick wipe down and a clean sweep.
The new normal demands a different approach to cleaning and disinfection to keep people safe and businesses open. While company leaders and facility managers cannot guarantee a fully safe environment, they can focus on following best practices (as outlined by the CDC) and letting employees know what is being done to keep them healthy.
The truth is, not every cleaning service is created equal. Now is the time to find out if your cleaning service is up to the task, and if not, to find a company with the necessary expertise. For instance, does your current cleaning service:
- Specialize in cleaning and disinfecting
- Have expertise in creating clear, effective plans for keeping workplaces clean and sanitized, using official guidance from the CDC and OSHA
- Use EPA-registered disinfectants that have been designated for use against viruses
- Properly train employees to follow procedures
- Have proper certifications such as the Certified Building Service Executive designation
- Use Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) testing to verify surfaces are clean
- Provide masks, hand sanitizer and disinfecting products for employees
- Have a record of client satisfaction and retention
- Hold annual or quarterly business reviews to access satisfaction and proactively address any concerns
Another consideration is providing visible and frequent cleaning during business hours. In the past, cleaning was done afterhours, so as not to be disruptive. But now, having professional cleaners on site during business hours can add a layer of reassurance that you are prioritizing employee safety. If cleaning must be done after hours, there should be some visible indicator that surfaces have been disinfected. After all, seeing is believing.
Rely on Experts to Create and Execute a Plan
Chances are your company doesn’t specialize in cleaning and disinfecting. You have a business to run, so why not rely on experts to take care of making your workplace clean and safe. For over 33 years, New Image Building Services (NIBS) has been designing and implementing cleaning and disinfection plans for offices, medical, manufacturing, and other facilities. Since COVID-19, we have been helping essential businesses stay open safely. Now, as more businesses reopen, we can help welcome your employees back with confidence.
Safety protocols require more than a one-time cleaning; there must be an overall plan and adherence to the protocols outlined in that plan. That’s where New Image excels.
“It’s really about establishing trust from the first day back,” says John Ezzo, CEO of New Image Building Services. “If employees and customers see that leadership is taking cleaning and disinfecting seriously and prioritizing safety, they’re going to feel better about being in the workplace. At New Image, we can help you establish that trust.”
Let’s face it, businesses only have one chance to get this right. If employees don’t feel safe in their workplace, productivity will plummet and if employees get sick, the doors will close again. However, if the space is visibly clean, employees are informed about the protocols being put in place, and cleaning and disinfecting are seen as top priorities, both employees and customers will feel safe and secure.
Let’s get your business reopened with a plan! Call us today at (248) 602-7510.