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The Invisible Heroes of COVID-19: Recognizing Janitorial Workers

May 11, 2020 - minute read

There are 1,000,000 workers actively serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic…silently, almost invisibly. They are not healthcare professionals or first responders. But they too are protecting America against Coronavirus—and that’s why we at EPAY Systems are offering a heartfelt thank you to the hardworking cleaners and cleaning firms waging war against COVID-19.

“Whether you call them janitors, housekeepers, or custodians, these essential employees—and their employers—are working harder than ever,” notes Michelle Lanter Smith, EPAY’s Chief Marketing Officer.

“Because we have the privilege of serving commercial cleaning companies, we see how they are rising to the occasion from behind the scenes. We’re in awe of the job they’re doing.”

In addition to sanitizing essential businesses during this critical time, some janitorial workers carry the immense responsibility of protecting patients and healthcare workers in hospitals and nursing homes, where exposure runs particularly high. It is, in some ways, a calling.

Helping America Get Back to Work Safety

Beyond their work during the shutdown period, commercial cleaning companies will play an important role as the country moves to reopen. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by cleaning and disinfection is an important part of reopening public spaces that will require careful planning.”

Studies suggest that rigorous cleaning and sanitation practices can reduce the spread of colds and viruses by as much as 80%. That’s essential in workplaces where coworkers are frequently touching door handles, elevator buttons, and shared equipment—not to mention retailers, restaurants and other businesses that depend on a steady influx of customers. No business can safely reopen without a trusted janitorial team in place.

A Glimpse Behind the Scenes

Despite the essential role that cleaners and cleaning services play, they typically don’t receive much attention, let alone glory. But there’s much more to commercial cleaning than meets the eye. For example: 

  • Since the COVID-19 crisis began, cleaning companies have been closely monitoring recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), among others. They’re continuously adapting their processes to comply with evolving best practices regarding safety, sanitation, and infection control.
  • Building service contractors adhere to strict operating standards, which vary by industry. Each sector—schools, business offices, factories, hospitality, public buildings—has its own challenges and requirements.
  • Healthcare facilities are held to an even higher standard (they are rated on sanitation during Joint Commission inspections). Imagine cleaning the rooms of COVID-19 patients while suited up in a face mask, face shield, gown, gloves and booties. It’s hot, uncomfortable, stressful work—which cleaning caregivers in hospitals perform day after day.
  • Many frontline managers in the janitorial world are a meticulous bunch. The white glove test is just the beginning. Perfectionist managers are known to get down flat on their bellies (in business attire) to inspect a floor at eye level. These are people you want on your team.
  • Some cleaning companies have been instrumental in advancing green cleaning practices and products. There are courses, certifications and even professional associations dedicated to environmentally-friendly cleaning, and the trend is growing.
  • Never underestimate the knowledge of your building’s custodians. You can bet they’ve received intensive training regarding the products they use and the processes they follow. Many know more about germ mitigation and disease control than most of us ever will!

In short, most of us have no idea what it takes clean a room to medical standards or keep that floor so clean and shiny. Most of us can’t comprehend how hard cleaning companies are working right now to ensure their crews are where they need to be, armed with the right cleaning supplies—and these days—PPE.

As you return to work, shop at your favorite stores, and resume going about your daily business, know that these are the folks who are making that possible. To cleaners and cleaning companies everywhere battling COVID-19, we offer our appreciation and gratitude.

Filed Under: EPAY News Janitorial COVID-19