By Jim Flieler, VP of Sales Canada for Charlotte Products Ltd.
With schools and businesses around North America opening to the public, facility managers will need to manage a new world of increased costs. From capital investments in new equipment to hiring additional cleaners, and everything in between, our costs are going up. Incidentally, many budgets are going down as economies struggle to recover after sustained closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Increased Costs in the time of COVID-19
As your facility has probably already realized, the list of things contributing to increased costs is very long these days. Some of these include:
- Hiring of additional caretakers, custodians and janitors to clean more thoroughly, more frequently and focus on the higher risk touch points
- Paying overtime for similar cleaning protocols
- Custodial supply spend is higher (more cleaning means more product and more PPE)
- Increased costs in training programs, virtual, online sessions, documentation and certification of personnel
- Increased HR cost, higher turnover, absenteeism and the need for temporary employees
- Higher spend on employee wellness and health
- Increase in new higher cost or capital equipment required to clean facilities, including foggers, misters, electrostatic sprayers and pump-up sprayers for new disinfection processes
- Purchase and installation of social distancing signage, barriers, plexiglass shields
Employees and the public are demanding cleaner facilities. We have to ensure we maintain public safety, often on a reduced budget. Cleaning is an investment. It is an investment in public health, and the critical prevention of disease. Now more than ever, clean sells. How can we clean more and clean better on a reduced budget? Below I offer some tips to help you get a hold of your budget during these challenging times.
How to Save Money, Despite All This
It’s always a good idea to maximize your facility’s efficiencies. Now may be the best time yet for reviewing your cleaning processes. Chances are that you will be adding new processes, increased frequencies and new staff to your facility. Use this reset to identify inefficient processes and tighten up your workloading.
Adopt Standard Operating Procedures. It is true that additional equipment and staff will cost more, but you may realize that your facility can be run much more efficiently as you refocus on public health and let go of some more time-consuming or wasteful aspects of your maintenance processes. Maybe you had everything memorized, or your program was disorganized in the past. In the time of COVID-19, that won’t cut it. Now is the time to incorporate checklists & audit tools to standardize cleaning tasks and make your entire program more efficient. This way you will tighten up your productivity, saving labor dollars by avoiding the need to re-do a job that wasn’t done right the first time. Checklists and auditing tools help save money on product purchases by helping you keep tabs on your inventory and avoiding over-purchasing and waste.
Add to your floor care routine to save money. It may seem counterintuitive to add steps to a process that already eats up the majority of your budget. However, there are inexpensive steps in a floor care routine that, when practiced frequently, can save money on the more expensive steps later on. This includes things like interim floor care processes like spray buffing & burnishing to enhance and extend the life of the floor. These processes don’t require as much labor and time as partial or complete restoration (i.e. stripping, sealing & finishing). Plus, when accomplished regularly, they can delay the need for those more labor-intensive and expensive steps.
Explore virtual training options. With higher turnover rates than ever before due to the pandemic, along with the need for temporary employees if there is a need for lengthy absences, training will become absolutely essential to your program’s efficiency. Unfortunately, in-person training can take staff away from their cleaning time, and during this time of heightened attention to public health, you need all hands on deck. Online training programs have the ability to train employees at their own pace and level, without cutting into the tight work schedules needed to maintain cleaning times. Your employees can choose to train using an online program on their own time, after hours, and you will not need to cordon off a room for an in-person class. Plus, these online training programs are safer, eliminating the need to gather in large groups inside a classroom and risk transmission.
Stay informed. In this ever-changing pandemic atmosphere, those of us in the cleaning industry are first responders. It is our obligation to provide our customers and all frontline workers with the knowledge and tools necessary to stop the spread of infection and create healthy, safe places for people everywhere. In addition to the above tips, check out our webinar on the proper care of equipment, which will help save money in the long run protecting your investment, and another webinar on effective ways to save time while cleaning.Continue to check back on our blog or tune into our bi-weekly COVID-19 webinar series to stay up-to-date on the latest information related to the virus.