Welcome to The Clean Sweep, a monthly newsletter offering insights from the professional cleaning industry, resources on cleaning standards and best practices, and important news to help inform reopening strategies.
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Cleaning Coalition of America
Welcome to The Clean Sweep, a monthly newsletter offering insights from the professional cleaning industry, resources on cleaning standards and best practices, and important news to help inform reopening strategies.
Over the last month, the U.S. has experienced a record-breaking number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due to the hyper-contagious Omicron variant. And, to little surprise, the virus is reported spreading most rapidly in congregate settings with poor ventilation – like many common workplaces.

That is why a new study out of Harvard’s Shift Project is so alarming. The researchers found that of 6,600 workers, 65% of those employees reported being sick in the last month and still attending work. The results echo another recent study conducted by the Cleaning Coalition of America, which found that nearly half of Americans (43.3%) have come into the office with flu-like symptoms.  

The presence of sick employees in the workplace can have a domino effect on an operation, leading to crippling staffing shortages and losses in productivity. That is why now, especially as more businesses welcome back employees to the workplace, it is critical to introduce safeguards and adopt a more holistic view of safety that prioritizes worker health.
Beyond serious public health impacts, office-borne illnesses pose financial challenges to businesses and commercial landlords. In fact, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, infectious diseases cost the U.S. economy billions in lost productivity on an annual basis.

  • Influenza: The flu alone creates an economic burden for the healthcare system and society of $11.2 billion per year while costing the U.S. approximately 20 million workdays per year.

  • Cold: The common cold has an even larger impact, costing the economy an estimated $40 billion every single year. Colds amount to 40% of all lost time from jobs, according to one study.

Workplace disease transmission is further exacerbated by a high proportion of workers who continue to attend work while feeling sick – a phenomenon known as presenteeism. Presenteeism may result in a productivity loss of approximately 77% and cost the U.S. economy about $180 billion annually.

Download the Cleaning Coalition of America’s latest white paper to learn more.
Hear from Kenneth J. Collins, President of Collins Building Services, Inc., about the reopening landscape and employee expectations returning to the workplace.

With cases of the Omicron variant surging, thousands of schools have at one point or another shifted to virtual-based learning. How can cleaning help reduce the spread of pathogens and ensure the safety of students, teachers, and professional cleaners?

There are still several unknowns about COVID-19, with scientists warning of more mutations and potential variants in the future. In this environment, it is critical that schools take cleaning and disinfecting seriously. Routine disinfecting is proven to not only reduce the spread of COVID-19, but also other common pathogens that sicken students, teachers, and faculty every year.

Building upon the success achieved by interventions against the spread of COVID-19 such as hand washing and enhanced cleaning, schools must continue to embrace the public health lessons of the pandemic and adopt standardized disinfecting protocols that will keep people healthier now and in the future.

In addition to preparing a disinfection plan and implementing enhanced cleaning services, what advice would you give to business owners looking to return their employees to the workplace?

Amid the great resignation and continuing fears of contracting COVID-19, employers must go the extra mile to retain current employees and attract future talent. While ensuring consistent cleaning of the workplace is critical, it is equally important to create a healthy work environment. According to a new survey by the Cleaning Coalition of America, both vaccinated and unvaccinated U.S. workers increasingly value enhanced cleaning of the workplace and feel safer seeing professional cleaners onsite. Ultimately, in an employee-driven job market – where 38.3% of workers say they would leave their job if the workplace was not cleaned properly – employees are looking for a workplace that will prioritize employee health and well-being over the company’s bottom line.

How have CBS’ clients adapted during COVID-19?

Our clients have adapted to the COVID-19 world very well and with agility. We have been able to communicate to them that it is more important than ever to be proactive rather than reactive. Today, they are regularly employing a variety of enhanced cleaning procedures, such as customized frequency of cleanings, active touchpoint and surface disinfecting to help minimize exposure to pathogens, hospital grade disinfection, and electrostatic spraying. We have worked diligently with businesses to develop detailed disinfection plans to ensure a thorough response should a positive coronavirus case be reported.

While many workplaces have previously emphasized cleaning for appearance, cleaning for health and long-term well-being must be the new norm for any shared space.
Did you know that businesses waste approximately 30% of the energy used in their commercial buildings? See below for seven steps from ABM on how to reduce energy use, improve existing systems, and engage occupants while maximizing savings.

  1. Perform Preventative Electrical Maintenance: Scheduling regular preventative maintenance is critical to improving energy savings. In fact, surveys conducted by the National Center for Energy Management and Building Technologies found that effective scheduled maintenance decreases energy bills by 15-20% in commercial buildings.

  1. Invest In Lighting Controls: With lighting representing 38% of facility electrical expenses, companies should consider installing advanced lighting control systems such as occupancy sensors, daylight harvesting, personal dimming, plug load control, and lighting control circuit breakers.

  1. Install HVAC Efficiency Controls: By installing new controls on existing HVAC systems, commercial building owners could save an average of 38% on their heating and cooling bills. Types of efficiency controls, like demand-controlled ventilation, air-sized economizers, and cooling capacity controls, can help reduce energy usage significantly.

  1. Retrofit Existing Systems: Updating a building’s electrical infrastructure with energy retrofits is proven to decrease energy costs, increase building value, and create a healthier, more productive environment for occupants. Lighting retrofits alone can save facilities up to 90% in related costs.

  1. Upgrade Appliances, Hardware, Infrastructure, And Equipment: A transition to energy-efficient devices can benefit facilities in more ways than one. An energy evaluation conducted by an experienced provider can assess opportunities for impactful upgrades. For example, an upgrade to a tankless water heater can produce 30% in related energy savings.

  1. Build Employee Awareness: An initiative surrounding facility energy reduction starts with building a successful employee engagement program. Strategies like posting electricity saving tips in populated areas, conducting energy conservation training, and sharing building-wide energy goals can encourage more sustainable – and cost-effective – energy usage. Sharing energy-conscious plans with team members can also help attract progressive, environmentally conscious candidates.

  1. Consider Solar Energy: Data suggests that the average U.S. commercial property owner can reduce overall energy costs by 75% through the use of solar energy. Research also shows that businesses can pay off their solar panel buying and installation costs in three to seven years, making the transition to solar energy a worthwhile investment.
This month, GDI Integrated Facility Services Inc. acquired IH Services, Inc. Founded in 1955 with a head office in Greenville S.C., IH is one of the largest and most respected janitorial service providers in the Southeastern United States.

“We are extremely excited to welcome the IH team to GDI's family,” stated Claude Bigras, President and CEO of GDI. “IH is a leader in the industry in the Southeastern USA and has operations spanning 29 states servicing predominantly the industrial, distribution and healthcare markets. IH is led by a strong and seasoned management team who will continue to operate the business and will become GDI's regional leadership team covering the U.S. Southeast. The acquisition of IH represents a meaningful expansion of GDI's U.S. business, significantly expanding our U.S. janitorial operations and geographic footprint.”
Almost two years into the pandemic, nearly half of Americans – 43% – still have lingering concerns about returning to the workplace. In fact, 38.3% of respondents would consider changing their jobs if the workplace was not cleaned properly.

Cleaning Coalition of America, 1270 Northland Drive, Suite 150, Saint Paul, MN 55120, United States

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