If you are a business owner, today is anything but ordinary.
As you continue to struggle with the changes that follow from the coronavirus pandemic – from demands for social distancing to teleworking policies – you are also facing meeting changing expectations from your clients as well as local, state and federal authorities.
Once expectations at the top of everyone's list is a workplace that meets higher standards of cleaning and sanitation. But what if you do not have the time (or experience) to train your team on these new cleaning protocols … let alone keep track of them?
It may be time to lay out the dirty work.
Many companies rely on third-party cleaning staff to manage their sanitary and security needs. If this is a new area for you, here's how to approach the search.
How to clean your business under COVID-19
Your first task is to familiarize yourself with the new steps that organizations must take to clean and disinfect their workplaces – even if you do not plan to do the actual cleaning yourself.
For expert advice from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, see the recently published CDC Guide to Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes. Use this guide as your roadmap to develop an idea of the type of cleaning methods your company needs to follow. A cleaning staff can help you fine-tune your plan with their services.
Create your plan.
- Assess your workplace and find out what needs to be cleaned and how often.
- Identify your high contact areas and determine the best way to disinfect them. The CDC recommends disinfection of these areas at least once a day.
- Familiarize yourself with the type of products and equipment needed to get the job done. EPA's list N contains an frequently updated catalog of registered surface disinfectants that can kill viruses stronger than SARS-CoV-2, causing COVID-19.
Implement your plan.
Whether it's you or your cleaning company, the CDC recommends the following:
- Use soap and water to clean all surfaces before disinfecting.
- Then use a suitable disinfectant that is EPA approved (ie make sure it is listed N).
- Always follow the instructions on your detergent and disinfectant. Proper use does not suit everyone. It can vary from product to product. And make sure these items are stored safely when cleaning is complete.
Maintain – and Revise – Your Plan.
- Keep in mind that cleaning methods can change over time due to the types of cleaners and equipment available. Just make sure you continue to follow the recommended cleaning steps – soap and water first, disinfectant second.
- Ensure that you and your employees follow local, state, and federal guidelines for hand washing, facelifts, and social distancing.  How to choose a cleaning service for your business
Now that you have a plan, it's time to move the plan into action. The Better Business Bureau recommends seven steps you should take to find a cleaning staff.
- Do your research. Ask friends, family members or others in your professional network for recommendations. Search for these or other companies online and see what their reviewers have to say. It is recommended to find three companies to interview.
- Interview your candidates. Interviews are a great opportunity to meet the person or people who will be cleaning your space. You can get a sense of whether you are comfortable with the company and ask about the types of cleaning methods and products they will use. In light of the COVID-19 crisis, many industry professionals are using new technologies and technologies – from electrostatic spraying to fog disinfection.
- Check their references. Get to know this phrase really well: registered, bound and insured. You need to verify each one for each cleaning staff you are considering. Registered means that the business is registered with their state-owned corporate office. Some geographical locations require companies to be registered in their local municipalities as well. Important Note: In most states, there is no agency that "licenses" cleaning services. However, if a company is to perform services outside the standard cleaning area (think of some kind of HVAC / air duct work) it may need a license to perform them.
Bonded means that the business has an insurance policy that protects you from dishonest or criminal acts by those who enter your property to clean. Insured means you will be protected if negligence on the part of the cleaning staff causes damage to your business (keep in mind that a faucet is left on by mistake).
- Ask for references. Once you have limited your candidate field, ask them for a reference list. After calling these contacts, note the companies that receive repeated, positive feedback.
- Discuss cost. Discuss your needs in advance – this is where your plan comes into play. Find out exactly what is included in their services. Many factors affect the cost: the size of your workplace, how long you plan to need their services, frequency and any specific requirements. A cleaning staff should review your business (follow appropriate social distance protocols) before giving an estimate.
- Get everything in writing. Once you have made your final choice, you create a written agreement. This document should clearly state the actions that the cleaning staff will perform. Make sure that the frequency and time to complete the tasks are included.
- Prepare your physical workspace. Make sure your team is aware of the cleaning schedule and secure any valuable items or confidential information at your workplace. Before the cleaning staff arrives, take care of any hazards that may cause unwanted slipping or falling. Common sins in the office include power cords, slippery surfaces or spills, dim lighting, or cluttered walkways.
Protect what you worked to build
Even if you take all the right precautions, accidents can still occur. That is why you need good business insurance. At Erie Insurance, we know that debts vary from company to company. Our experienced local agents are committed to recommending the policy that suits you. So you are taking the right steps to keep your employees and your customers healthy, make sure that the well-being of your company is also covered. Talk to your local ERIE agent today for a no-obligation review.