cleaning during COVID

How ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Swansea have managed our cleaning teams provided cleaning for our clients over the COVID-19 crisis….

The COVID-19 lockdown has been a challenging few months so far for most, ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services was no exception. Although fortunate enough to not have to close completely like many businesses, a lot of changes needed to be implemented to be able to continue to provide services where required and operate safely.

Jonathan Gethin from ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Swansea explains how they managed changes within their business, operations & services to enable them to continue to operate.

How we have been working

“When lockdown was first announced, our first priority was to ensure that our management team could work from home, but also ensure that we could organise and manage the company and our cleaning teams efficiently. Our next priority was to ensure that we kept in touch with both our clients and staff by sending regular communications with any legislation that may affect them or us and the service we provide.

It was important to us to ensure that our clients were aware that we were fully operational and could meet their cleaning requirements if they needed to stay open, and to convey the steps that we had taken to ensure that we could work within the government guidelines to keep them, our staff and ourselves safe, as well as prepare them for any steps that may have to be taken in the future.

We advised clients that we would do everything possible (in our power) to keep disruption of service to a minimum, but due to the ‘environment’ some disruption may not be avoidable, every client had been updated on a regular basis. Thankfully, disruption of service was avoidable due to our effective contingency planning; and redistribution of a number of staff members from sites that had closed to cover other staff who had to shield.

In the week leading up to and the first weeks of lockdown, we were contacted by many of our clients to discuss their contracted cleaning provision going forward. It was inevitable that some requested to temporarily suspend their contracts; others wanted to ensure we could fulfil their ongoing cleaning needs, some clients that had to remain open, even wanted to increase their cleaning hours to ensure increased levels of cleaning and hygiene could be maintained.

How we have helped our clients

Many of our clients that stayed open have added additional ‘touch point cleaning’ to ensure the sanitation of touch points throughout the building. We also altered the cleaning time for some clients so that our cleaners would be on site out of working hours to avoid unnecessary contact with others and help with social distancing.

To meet the needs of our existing clients we purchased extra SaniMaster 6 products (SaniMaster 6 is ServiceMaster’s antibacterial and virucidal cleaning solution), and distributed to all cleaning staff to ensure sanitizing of work stations – we also instructed all cleaning staff to pay particular attention to touch points during the clean.

We provide cleaning services to over 20 doctor surgeries/medical facilities and a couple of these have required ‘deep cleaning’ of Covid-19 Testing Hubs. We have managed to service these areas additional to the regular cleaning by either working closely with another company offering ‘fogging services’, or by providing PPE and deep cleaning consulting rooms with suspected COVID-19 patients.

On occasion we have provided additional services on top of our standard contract cleaning; as mentioned above we have been working closely with another company who has been providing a daily fogging service to one NHS contract in particular. On another NHS site we have provided deep cleaning for a COVID-19 testing hub.

Additionally; we have provided products and consumables such as antibacterial sprays, wipes and hand sanitizers as well as source dispensers and hand sanitizers for clients who have been open and clients who had closed and are now preparing to reopen. We sourced 50 dispensers and hand sanitizers alone for a car dealership group ready for their reopening.

It was important for us to be able to stay in regular contact with our clients. With almost all of our management team working from home, a skeleton team remained office based to answer phone calls and redirect them to the relevant person. It also allows us to keep on top of cleaning products and consumable deliveries with a delivery driver coming into the warehouse twice per week. This has allowed us to continue as business as usual for all of our clients.

We did suspend all contracts managers visits to fall in line with the only travel when necessary guidance. Instead our contracts managers have been contacting customers via telephone/email instead.

As the country has been allowed to reopen and for our clients, we have been able to restart their cleaning contracts almost immediately.

We have also found that although some clients have decreased cleaning hours due to financial constraints, many have actually increased their hours; all have requested extra consumables such as hand sanitizers and wipes etc.

To meet this returning and additional demand swiftly, we brought cleaning teams back from furlough as and when their sites have reopened. We also have several cleaners who were not put on furlough and were able to cover additional sites.

Customer service

At ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Swansea, we always pride ourselves on our customer service. We have been in constant contact with our clients who have not only remained open but also those that had to close, so that they knew we were here to help when needed.

Our contracts managers have been working tirelessly to ensure client’s needs are met and as little disruption has occurred as possible. Just one of our supervisors has been furloughed to ensure that we can continue to offer full supervision to all of our open sites. As more of our clients open, each supervisor assesses which staff need to come off of furlough to ensure that we can deliver the required service levels.

As more industries have started to open, we have had enquiries from many new prospects looking for a cleaning service after lock down, we are slowly starting to take on these new clients as our current workforce and supervisors capacity allows.

Many of our new enquiries are coming from companies that have been managing the cleaning in house or did it themselves, they are now looking for a professional company to manage the cleaning so that they can reopen and put their staff minds at ease.

In summary

The knowledge and contacts that we have within the cleaning industry is a big positive. We have managed to outsource cleaning requirements where necessary whilst managing it all for the client, such as the fogging service. We have also been able to obtain mass numbers of consumables required, which our clients would have struggled to obtain without our supplier base.

The cleaning products that we use such as SaniMaster 6 and the bespoke and detailed cleaning regimes that we put in place has given our clients the peace of mind that their building is being cleaned and sanitized on a daily basis and keeping them, their staff and their customers or visitors safe.