cleaning during coronavirus

Commercial and janitorial cleaning services have become a much more important service since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

While a lot of businesses were forced to close during lockdown, many schools, healthcare providers and other vital service providers were required to stay open throughout the lockdown. Rachael Downer – Managing Director of ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Surrey-London explains how they adapted to the new and evolving situation to keep their staff working safely and ensure their clients could too.

Dealing with the news

When lockdown was first announced, our first thoughts were to contact our staff to reassure them that we will do everything in our power to manage our teams through this unique situation and to reassure them that we would be talking to the sites that they worked at, evaluating the situation and putting steps in place to ensure every one’s safety above all.

Following on from this, our next priority was to contact all of our clients. It was important to us to contact our clients and immediately, assess what their requirements were and what we could do to help.  We also contacted our H&S advisors to ensure that we were adhering to new legislation and guidelines and ensuring both our staff and clients’ safety.

We carried out a full review of the services we provided or would need to provide for every one of our clients initially; most of our clients were unsure about what would be needed as nobody knew what the following weeks and months would bring. The cleaning services were and continue to be reviewed regularly to meet the changing needs of our clients.

In addition to the changing needs of our clients; we had the challenge of working with our staff who also had pressures on their schedules with increased child care issues, with schools being closed.

How we adapted

To help ensure our clients sites were cleaned and sanitised for themselves, their staff and their customers or visitors, we adapted quickly to be able to provide additional services and products for our clients. These additional services on top of our regular contract cleaning included things like: Fogging, touch point cleaning, review of specifications and budgets, PPE and even Display notices. These additional services and products meant our clients could meet their own cleaning & hygiene obligations without having to source additional supplies or suppliers, making it easier for them when there is enough to deal with.

We usually hold regular meetings with our clients to ensure we are meeting our clients service expectations and with the constant changes, we found that we needed to keep in touch with our clients more than ever. Obviously with social distancing, face to face meetings were not ideal so we made the most of remote methods (as many of us have done over these last few months) and kept in regular contact using Phone, email & Zoom.

As lockdown has eased and our other clients have been able to re-open, we are pleased to say that we have been able to get our teams back in and be able to provide our usual or adjusted cleaning schedule within 48 hours of instruction from our client.

Providing more for our clients

As more clients have opened, we have seen an increase in requests for our additional services such as; Fogging, touch point cleaning, review of specifications and budgets, PPE and Display notices.

In additional to providing these services and products, we have also provided extra  training to key employees to understand the science behind the virus and how bio-fogging can help and we are pleased to say our trained staff are now accredited to give extra reassurance to our clients.

Providing exceptional levels of service is and always has been a priority to us at ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Surrey-London and to ensure we maintained our services levels through the pandemic we increased the level of communication in respect of weekly updates on recommended services and update summaries on government guidelines, if we are all informed we are all safer.

As clients are getting back to business

At the height of the lockdown 60% of our clients were forced to close their business, now only 15% remain closed, due to the type of industry they are in. One of our main concerns as our clients came back was bringing our staff back off furlough in time to resume cleaning services rapidly.

In the main, this was actually very smooth, a couple of staff were very nervous about returning and in these cases we have placed cover staff on site and regular cleaners are on unpaid leave until they are comfortable to return.

Throughout the pandemic, our employees have been amazing!  The level of flexibility and understanding to take on new methods of cleaning and new times to deliver the service has been truly impressive. Both the operations team and support teams have adapted to new methods of working and we are delivering a service that makes our clients and staff feel safe in these very challenging times.

Cleaning on clique

Cleaning historically is not that important to many decision makers in businesses but cleaning ‘the right way’ has always been our number one priority at ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Surrey-London. Since the COVID-19 pandemic cleaning has very clearly become a much more valued service and we hope to work more in partnership with our existing clients to meet their needs for their unique environments.

With cleaning becoming more of a priority, not only have we seen requests from our existing client to increase or adjust their ongoing cleaning service, we have also seen an increase in enquiries. We have signed several new contracts recently. There is a growing trend of businesses that historically clean the building themselves want the reassurance of a professional compliant to ensure the cleaning is done the right way as well as clients who have just not received the right service from their existing clients.

Our new clients have required services including 24 hours on site cleaners in the construction industry, communal cleaning for offices and bio fogging services and due to our structure and ability to adapt we are well placed to be able to provide these services effectively. We look forward to our ongoing relationship with our new clients.

Our clients trust us and I believe this is imperative to any relationship working and lasting. They have seen that we have risen to the challenge that the whole world has faced and we have been able to offer flexible solutions to their challenges whilst appreciating the financial struggle some have found themselves facing. I believe going forward clients will expect more but there is a new respect for the cleaning industry which benefits all parties.

Give us a call on 0845 201 1184 or email us at enquiries@servicemaster.co.ukto ask how we can help with your commercial cleaning requirements.