Let’s talk about expectations! I challenge you to think back to pre-pandemic, what may seem like decades ago.
Chances are, you went about your trips to the doctor’s office, grocery store, restaurants and beyond without
putting much extra thought into the facility’s cleaning teams and schedule. As a society, we have ALWAYS
valued facilities that are well-kept, sanitary and enjoyable. But, we likely didn’t dedicate much thought to WHO
was doing the cleaning, HOW they were doing it, and WHEN it was taking place. The faces of facility services
were often like incognito superheroes, making the magic happen in the hours when customers or employees
were away from the business. Flash forward to present day, and our mindset and cultural norms surrounding
facility services have undergone a tremendous shift.
Not So Secret Superheroes
Now, we expect to SEE the superheroes of facility services swoop in and save the day, sometimes around the clock! From a mental health
perspective, there are still many individuals and families facing varying levels of anxiety about public settings. The friendly faces cleaning high-touch surfaces, restrooms, floors and more bring about a reassuring experience and peace of mind for customers and employees under their watch.
The concept of ‘daytime cleaning’, or intentionally conducting key facility services during times when people will see them take place, is a cultural norm that I anticipate is here to stay for the foreseeable future. As business leaders, it’s incredibly important to take notice of this change from both an employee standpoint and a public standpoint.
At Cummins Facility Services (CFS), our employees were on the frontlines throughout the entire pandemic.
We’ve experienced firsthand this cultural shift and we’ve been working hard to empower our amazing champions
out there saving the day, every day! These phenomenal folks I’m so proud to call part of our team have risen to
every challenge along the way. With the transition in their jobs from being behind-the-scenes to center stage, I
have outlined some tips for how other business owners can be mindful of these adjustments and help their
facility services teams, other employees, and customers successfully navigate this new way of cleaning.
Being a Strong Sidekick
First, business owners must help their facility services employees, or those who may be part of an extended team, through the adjustments. These folks are likely going from a very ‘behind the scenes’ role, to one that is constantly under watch by fellow employees and the public. Even the most outgoing of facility services professionals will likely feel added pressure from this tremendous change. If your facility services staff are going through this adjustment, be sure to invest the time in training your team, making them feel empowered to do their work, and reminding them of their value to the company. It’s no secret that I love employee appreciation measures! Now is the time to kick those up a notch to make these superheroes know how incredibly impactful and appreciated
Employer and Employee Responsibility
For your employees who may not be directly involved with facility services, there are additional company culture
and responsibility initiatives to discuss. It’s important to note that employees who can SEE their employer values
a clean workplace creates a tremendous morale booster. ‘My employer cares about my health and safety, and I
can see it in action.’ Your additional efforts make your employees feel more mentally healthy at work, which no
doubt trickles into every element of your company’s success.
It’s likely that all employees have had some level of involvement and role in keeping your facility clean during the
pandemic. So, now is an important time to redefine, or reiterate expectations. Facility service team members
need to feel supported by all, as they will be weaving into virtually every employee department in some capacity.
Making sure everyone knows one another and that expectations are clearly defined will ensure a successful
adjustment period. Perhaps this is a great time for some fun team-building activities!
From the Customer Point of View
And last, but not least, consider your customers. High visibility cleaning and continued communication are the keys to
success. Ask yourself how you can communicate to your customers the changes that are here to stay. Reassure them
with information about the cleaning practices in place, the schedule in which they occur, and the measures you
encourage customers to take to help ensure positive, safe experience for everyone. Do guests need to take personal
responsibility in wiping down their shopping carts, food menus, or airplane seatbelts and trays, or is your team taking
care of that? The more communication and transparency, the better!
As we look at this cultural shift to public expectation of frequent, visible, evidence-based cleaning, let’s cheer on the
incredible people who have for so long worked behind the scenes and are now taking on new roles as the resilient,
reliable cleaning heroes who keep everyone safe. As businesses, let’s support these team members with clear,
regular communications and consistent documentation. And, as consumers, let’s take personal responsibility for
helping these folks keep their facilities safe and doing our part to reduce the spread of germs. What an incredibly
inspiring, exciting time for our industry and our world!
Jill Frey, President & CEO
Cummins Facility Services, LLC