Businesses and their employees preparing to return to the workplace amid the COVID-19 pandemic need assurance that their environment is properly disinfected and safe—especially if there was a confirmed coronavirus case among employees.
Cleaning companies like Pro Housekeepers in Tampa Bay now include workplace disinfection among their suite of services. They’re also creating an online pop-up shop so residential consumers can disinfect their homes themselves since social distancing prevents cleaning staff from entering.
Disinfection services should not be confused with deep cleaning. While the latter focuses on aesthetics more than hygiene, disinfection services are threefold and follow CDC and WHO guidelines—down to the chemicals used in the process.
The first stage is fogging, which uses EPA-approved, nebulized products to disinfect all surfaces inside a place of business. The chemicals are not harmful to humans, but the building will need to be vacated for a few days after fogging.
If a company has had a confirmed COVID-19 case on their premises, then there are two more stages to complete.
The second stage is manual disinfection, which involves wiping down and sterilizing all surfaces with special attention paid to high-touch surfaces like door handles, counters, desk drawers, and elevator buttons.
Third is using an LED UVC light. When left in an area for an extended period of time, the UVC destroys up to 99% of germs there. This is one of the products that Pro Housekeepers will sell on its online pop-up shop, enabling residential clients to bring commercial-grade disinfection processes into their homes.
Jon Tavarez, founder and CEO of Pro Housekeepers, recommends either fogging or manual disinfection for any company preparing to bring its employees back to work.
“Companies will want—and need—to prove to their employees that they did everything possible to make their workplace safe for them,” Jon says. “They need to be able to say that their entire space has been professionally sanitized. If they don’t do that, employees will be suspicious.”
“The status of the cleaning industry has been elevated,” Jon says. “Before, it seemed like anyone could offer these services, but since the coronavirus, companies will want to be assured that their business is not just clean but disinfected. It’s going to be about quality over quantity in terms of cleaning companies.”
And because the virus isn’t going away, Jon predicts demand for cleaning services will create a shift from as-needed to on-retainer.
Pro Housekeepers has also created a best practices playbook for businesses thinking of returning to work.
“We know there’s a lot of confusion about how to manage a facility right now in terms of hygiene, so we’ve combined everything we’ve been able to confirm and often are doing ourselves: steps, strategies, and resources that are helpful.”