Facility Managers are tasked with managing employees who all have their own ingrained personal habits, various levels of executive skills and degrees of conscientiousness regarding how their habits and behavior effects themselves and those around them. Facility Managers are tasked with getting the very best workplace behaviors out of employees so the facility looks its very best at all times for customers and the moral of employees within the facility. Every business addresses workplace rules to facilitate positive ends. While cleaning companies do their part, a facility will never be all it can be unless the undesirable habits of employees are addressed.
Inadvisable habits are often displeasing to fellow employees, unsanitary or even damaging to property. It also makes housekeeping’s job more difficult. As a Facility Manager you will want to use every tool available to you to discourage these habits among employees in your facility.
A variation of the Golden Rule is applicable to the workplace. “You mess up, you clean up”. No one likes to come behind a co-worker and smell their un covered, un eaten food in the trashcan, their dirty dishes in the sink, their food exploded in the microwave or their outdated food in the refrigerator. The same rule applies to spills on floors and carpet. Spills stain as well as pose a risk for falls on hard surface floors. Spills must be cleaned up immediately. Below are a few specific tips for Facility Managers to help you enhance a positive and sanitary atmosphere in the workplace and to address issues frequently seen by housekeeping.
STAPLES–When removing staples from papers, do so over a trash can only. Never let staples fall on the floor. If they do, pick them up and dispose of them in a lined trash can. Staples left on hard surface floors and in carpet are dangerous to bare feet, imbed in carpets and cannot be removed. Staples on hard surface floors can get waxed over which is undesirable to the finished product.
PAPER CLIPS–When paper clips fall on the floor, pick them up and store them properly. Paper clips not picked up can damages vacuums. Housekeeping is always instructed to pick them up when seen.
BLEACH—Unless using medical bleach wipes in healthcare, never use bleach to clean a commercial building. It is a special product with special uses. For all its excellence it will cause damage if used for janitorial cleaning because it dulls hard surfaces, removes wax from finished floors, and stains carpets and upholstery. ServiceMaster Clean housekeepers are prohibited from using bleach unless a customer requests it for an appropriate and careful use. Likewise, the housekeeper is prohibited from using any product which he/she has not been authorized and trained to use by ServiceMaster Clean within a building.
WHO’s in CHARGE—Make sure your employees know who to come to if they have a complaint. ServiceMaster Clean provides a Communication Log so that our housekeeping staff can receive as well as give messages to our customer contact. Likewise, your building’s employees need to know who to talk to if they feel something is being missed and to make sure the notes are put in the Communication Log for the housekeeper. Building staff must be discouraged from ever directing the housekeeping as this is a function of the ServiceMaster Supervisor who knows the Task Schedule and the contractual agreement. If the housekeeper and their supervisor are unaware of an issue, it will not get addressed in a timely fashion.
MICROWAVES—When using the microwave in a facility kitchen, employees should be careful to always cover their food, so it does not explode or splatter in the microwave. A sign to that effect is highly recommended on the microwave itself.
DIRTY DISHES— are the responsibility of the employee who dirties them. Dirty dishes do not leave the professional appearance most businesses want. Dirty dishes, fruit or uncovered food left on desks or left uncovered in trash cans will attract flies of various types.
TRASH CANS— A couple etiquette tips for trash cans around the office: if a trashcan is emptied, always put a new liner in it. Never spit in trash cans—yes that does happen! Never place food or gum in a can that is not lined. Always empty liquid from bottles, jars and disposable drink containers before placing them in trash cans. Liners are not made to contain liquids, but just to hold trash.
Medical Hypodermic Needles— Every large business eventually has someone who, for medical reasons must carry and use a hypodermic needle. For the safety of all, needles must be disposed of properly and never in trash cans. Employees must either keep personal sharps covered in a container and disposed of properly off-site, or an agreement is required with a medical waste disposal company for proper sharps storage and disposal. Education and policies are a must regarding medical waste.
Facility Mangers can enforce good habits among staff to the benefit of their business atmosphere.
Tools and tactics used to discourage inadvisable habits within your facility include strategically placed signs, policy statements or re-educating frequent offenders with progressive warnings.
Appreciation and thanks to Joe Eder, ServiceMaster Professional Building Maintenance Area Supervisor and Solomon Simmons, Support Supervisor for content in the preparation of this article.