Five Reasons to Outsource Janitorial Services
Outsourced janitorial services address several challenges currently facing modern business.
The current business landscape in the U.S. has forced many organizations to evaluate their position and message to define what success will mean over the coming years.
This can mean anything from improving the image of the facility to appeal more to a target audience to cutting costs without sacrificing quality.
Other chief areas of concern are improving the health of the office and its employees, as well as ensuring they are safely protected from exposure to toxic chemicals.
Regardless, businesses need a flexible partner they can rely on to scale their janitorial services up and down as needed, and without operational disruption.
Improving Facility Image
Your facility should convey a positive image about your business and allow for factors personal to you, as well as for future growth economically.
-Presenting the Right Image Through Your Business Facility
Your office should reflect your business and the types of customers you are trying to attract much in the same way homes are prepared for showing to prospective buyers, and first impressions can have considerable financial consequences.
Depending on the size of your lot/unit and the amount of traffic you receive, maintaining cleanliness ordinances and keeping up with business-grabbing curb appeal can be more time consuming than profitable for business owners to handle in-house.
Externally, outsourced janitorial services can provide;
- After hours lot cleanup and trash removal.
- Facade, awning, and outside window cleaning, and;
- General maintenance tasks, such as sweeping up around the shop.
However, once the customers come into your office or store, what enticed them externally needs to be personified internally–in other words, immaculate.
Even if your operation is not customer facing, it is important to maintain the professional internal image of your workspace, especially if your business shares a floor or lot with other companies who’s profits may be affected by a less than appealing neighbor.
Additionally, internal cleanliness can have a significant impact on employee health.
Employee health is a fundamental business concern.
In 2012, The Integrated Business Institute reported that;
[sic]… poor health costs the U.S. economy $576 billion a year…[sic]. Of that amount, 39 percent, or $227 billion is from “lost productivity” from employee absenteeism due to illness or what researchers called “presenteeism,” when employees report to work but illness keeps them from performing at their best.
Of the remaining $576 billion tallied in the report, the cost of wage replacement costs $117 billion from absence due to illness as well as workers compensation and both short and long-term disability. Meanwhile, another $232 billion of poor health costs come from medical treatment and pharmacy related costs.
A 2005 study conducted in Australia by Medibank analyzed the correlation between healthy and unhealthy full-time workers to the number of productive hours worked per month, as well as a self-rated performance score on a scale of one to ten.
According to the study;
- Healthy workers took, on average, two sick days off per year effectively worked 143 hours in a month, and rated their performance at 8.5.
- Unhealthy employees were absent 18 days per year, only worked an effective 49 hours per month, and measured their average performance at 3.7.
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A key environmental factor at work, aside from workplace stress, that can affect an employee’s health and performance is indoor air quality.
Indoor Air Quality
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA);
People working in buildings with poor IAQ may notice unpleasant or musty odors or may feel that the building is hot and stuffy. Some workers complain about symptoms that happen at work and go away when they leave work, like having headaches or feeling tired. Fever, cough, and shortness of breath can be symptoms of a more serious problem. Asthma and some causes of pneumonia (for example, Legionnaires’ Disease and Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis) have been linked to IAQ problems.
Poor indoor air quality typically has three root causes;
- Poor ventilation.
- Substandard cleaning practices, and;
- The repeated use of toxic cleaning chemicals.
To improve the quality of the air in your office;
- Open windows in the morning or evening, as practical, to reduce humidity and recycle the air.
- If possible, switch to a HEPA filtered HVAC system. andnbsp;If not, install HEPA air purifiers throughout the office.
- Dust, allergens, and other microbes eventually fall to the floor, so make sure your carpets are regularly cleaned with a HEPA filtered vacuum.
- Eliminate the use of all toxic chemical cleaners, except where there is no safe and approved alternative.
- Hire an experienced green-certified janitorial services company with the tools and experience to address your businesses specific needs.
Aside from health, employee safety must be a top priority for companies.
Among the many benefits of green chemistry for human health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists the following;
- Increased safety for workers in the chemical industry; less use of toxic materials; less personal protective equipment required; less potential for accidents (e.g., fires or explosions).
- Safer consumer products of all types: new, safer products will become available for purchase; some products (e.g., drugs) will be made with less waste; some products (i.e., pesticides, cleaning products) will be replacements for less safe products.
- Safer food: elimination of persistent toxic chemicals that can enter the food chain; safer pesticides that are toxic only to specific pests and degrade rapidly after use.
- Less exposure to such toxic chemicals as endocrine disruptors.
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Traditional commercial cleaning products contain a wide array of toxins that range from irritating to deadly for humans, depending on exposure.
More recent studies have shown that the problem with chemical cleaning products goes beyond what is in the product to how certain chemicals react in indoor environments, specifically ones with high levels of ozone.
Take, for example, a 2008 study conducted by the University of California Berkley, and published by the California Air Resources Board, that examined the effect terpenes, a component of pine and citrus oil, had when exposed to a room with elevated ozone levels.
A chemical reaction occurred that created formaldehyde, a known carcinogen for which no level of exposure is safe for humans, and ultrafine particles, who’s health effects were not understood at the time, but could potentially pose severe health risks, including;
[sic]…serious heart and lung disease and even premature death.
Green cleaning products only contain eco-friendly, biodegradable chemicals that are non-toxic to humans and pose no danger of adverse chemical reaction.
Reducing Overall Janitorial Services Costs
Of the numerous success stories reported by schools and businesses that have switched to green cleaning, few are more demonstrative of financial return on investment than the case of the University of Georgia’s Physical Plant division, which reported;
- A reduction in “cleaning service worker injuries…[sic]…from 39 in 2006 to only 17 in 2009, while lost worker hours decreased from 4,474 to 386 over the same time period.”
- A decrease in “[sic]…expenditure on chemical products from $1.5 million to $110,000 annually…[sic]“, and;
- An estimated “[sic]…total savings of $850,000 during the 2008 and 2009 fiscal years.”
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Flexibility and Scalability
The results of the University of Georgia study fails to account for two challenges facing most businesses contemplating the switch to green janitorial services.
- Most organizations cannot leverage the capital to purchase the necessary equipment, as well as train and employ the required in-house staff; a challenge made exponentially more difficult, and potentially costly, by the recent ruling by the U.S. Department of Labor regarding overtime.
- Few organizations possess the knowledge and experience to ascertain needs, establish achievable goals, manage conversion and training projects, or set viable purchasing guidelines.
One of the main failings of many janitorial services providers is the rigidity of their services.
It’s not that most won’t go beyond the extra mile for their customers, it is that their service model does not address modern business needs, such as;
- Filling knowledge and skill gaps with in-house personnel, while working side-by-side, in harmony with them.
- Providing permanent employee staffing services that include a needs assessment, candidate qualification review, interview assistance, and hire recommendations.
- Working in conjunction alongside competitive service providers to perform certain specialty tasks or fill in time gaps when their service is not available.
However, modern businesses are not static, and needs can fluctuate dramatically, exceeding the service availability of even the most flexible of providers.
To match changing business needs with cost-effective services that maintain quality, a provider must be able to scale the terms of their agreement, the janitorial services they provide, and the nature of those services without disruption.
This can mean assisting a customer with hiring an in-house facilities manager while functioning efficiently in the role as a type of virtual employee in the interim, as well as working alongside competitive vendors and in-house staff on various projects, be they ongoing or as need arises.
The health and safety of an organization’s staff and customers are of paramount concern and importance.
The state of health of U.S. employees is appalling, and that has a direct correlation to the state of the U.S. economy.
For businesses to thrive and redefine a successful business into the future, a paradigm shift in thinking and action must occur in regards to how we view our indoor surroundings and the chemicals we use to ‘clean’ them.
A systematic janitorial services approach to achieving those goals cost-effectively and intelligently already exists, and we’re waiting for your call.
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