Wishing you a very Happy Holiday!

1-escfederal-holiday

Image | Posted on by

Smarter Inspections, Better Quality Control

inspectionAn effective quality assurance program is essential to not just measuring, but to continuous improvement in janitorial performance. Smarter inspections offer better quality control.

Today, advancements in technology have allowed for useful alternatives with much lower costs than in the past. Smart Inspect is one of those programs. Smart Inspect software is configured to your facility’s exact cleaning specifications. Everything is digital! With only a touch on the device’s display screen, you can select locations, buildings, rooms and area types specific to your facility.

Janitorial maintenance details are imputed into a handheld device and then uploaded to a PC. Results are provided to the Account Manager so they can review the findings with the crew, and take corrective action, if necessary. A copy is also given to the client. This is a valuable tool for assisting in building maintenance continuous improvement. Smart Inspect has key performance indicators related to a percentage of tasks performed in an acceptable manner. Other features of this software include crew scheduling, estimating, job completion monitoring and job tracking.

The best way to prevent problems is to build a quality assurance cycle into your cleaning program. Part of the cycle will be to perform routine cleaning inspections, but you should also then spend time going through the data that you have collected. Take advantage of any available reports and drill down into the data to see what the true root causes of cleaning quality issues might be. Once you know what the issues are, then make the necessary corrections and adjustments within your program or staff. Most likely, some issues will pop up each month due to many different factors, but by maintaining a quality assurance cycle with Smart Inspect, the most major issues should be put to rest and prevented.

smart-inspectionSmarter inspections, better quality control and improved performance are the reasons ESC has adopted Smart Inspect to better ensure superior customer service and deliverables.
In addition to rigorous quality assurance programs and supervisor spot inspections, our regional managers visit each facility at least once per month for onsite visual inspection to ensure the highest standards are not only met but exceeded.

Posted in Customer Experience, Janitorial

Do you know who is cleaning your building?

who-is-in-your-buildingDo you really know who is cleaning your building at night? You may never get the chance to see or interact with your night time janitorial team. So how can you be assured that the people servicing your building are worthy of your trust? Here are three tips to ensure peace of mind about the identity of your nighttime cleaning crew.

  1. Confirm the name of the company that is servicing your facility. If the company with whom you have contracted and carefully vetted has subcontracted any portion of the work, make sure it is disclosed. You’ll want to investigate the reputation of the subcontracted company, how long they have been in business, their certifications and capabilities. You have a right to know the names of nighttime janitorial crew and for whom they are working.
  2. Make sure the company you hired runs background checks and drug testing on all team members (and is willing to provide documentation to that effect upon demand).
  3. It’s important that the company servicing your building is fully bonded and insured. You never know when an accident might happen.

A commercial janitorial company should be a partner that you can trust. If you ever have questions about the work being performed, the quality of the work, or who is performing the work, you should contact your service representative immediately for resolution. If the company is unwilling to provide the information you request, it may be time to start looking for a commercial janitorial partner who understands how the importance of trust and transparency.

Posted in Customer Experience, Janitorial, Safety | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Benefits of Commercial Pressure Washing

gum-on-bottom-of-shoeCommerical pressure washing exterior building facades, entrances, sidewalks and windows will lift the dust and grime to make your property shine. Regular commercial pressure washing of your exterior will keep your building looking fresh, welcoming and professional for your tenants and their visitors.

Other benefits of pressure washing include the removal of graffiti, gum, dust, mildew, dead bugs and unsightly bird droppings.

But, commercial pressure washing will do more than enhance your building’s exterior appearance, it can also help delay the need for expensive and time consuming restoration. Certain building materials, like brick, can deteriorate over time if bird droppings (which are acidic), grease and mildew are not removed.

Areas we recommend for commercial pressure washing include:

• Windows and building facades
• Windows
• Parking lots
• Parking garages
• Walkways
• Post-construction clean up
• Graffiti removal
• Gum removal

Today’s advanced pressure washing techniques will safely remove dirt, grime, gum, rust, oil, grease, mold, mildew and more. There are even terrific Green power washing solutions!

To learn more about the benefits of commercial pressure washing or how we can help keep your offices, facilities and properties in top condition, contact us today for a FREE service analysis.

Posted in Janitorial | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Our People Are Your Best Assets

DayPorterConstellationExceptional customer service is not just about the customer – it’s about the people. In today’s economy, there is always a competitor who will find a way to do what you do cheaper and faster. More often than not, though, especially when it comes to the janitorial industry, you get what you pay for. Less expensive is not always better. It’s people who make the critical difference in whether your company delivers poor or exceptional service.

One of the best investments a company can make is in its people. We believe that in order to best serve our customers we need to invest in the best training in the industry for all our team members; to provide careers, not just jobs. People are more than commodities; they are our – and your – most important assets. We believe that by investing in highly motivated people, we will provide safer, more quality-drive, better value-oriented services.

We also believe that communication needs to happen regularly and often with team members at all levels. A 2014 study in About.com found that the top three reasons people quit a job are communication related. If you are not regularly communicating with your customers as well as your team members at all levels asking for feedback about how to improve services, you won’t know what to fix until it’s too late. Without open communication, you’ll lose customers and good people. Not only is it important to communicate that people are valued, but we want an opportunity to address and issue before it becomes a problem.

True devotion to our customers – and to our people – is in our company DNA. We are proud to be known as the best company in the industry to work for, where employees and customers seek us out for embracing innovation in an industry where innovation is rare.

Posted in Customer Experience, Janitorial

3 Summer Janitorial Cleaning Tips

Summer JanitorialIn summertime, the living may be easy, but summer janitorial is busy! For retail and lifestyle centers, summer is a high traffic season. Commercial properties battle dust and allergens. And university and educational facilities require deep cleaning for their short off season. Whether your facility is indoors or outdoors, here are 3 summer janitorial tips we recommend to keep your property from singing the summertime blues.

Summer Janitorial Floor Care

Every visitor who sets foot in your building is bringing with them dust, allergens, dirt and other outdoor debris. Additional foot traffic will also bring extra scuffs, spills and gum, not to mention the wear and tear on carpets and floors. This is a good time to evaluate cleaning equipment for maintenance or replacement, including vacuums, floor buffers and gum removers. Seasonal deep cleaning will remove dirt, stains, and allergens, as well as extend the life of your floors.

Summer Janitorial Window Cleaning

This is the time of year to enjoy the sunshine. That means windows – interior and exterior – need to be sparkling clean to let in natural light. Sunshine can put a spotlight on dust, cobwebs and other debris so it’s important to have the right equipment to dust, replace lightbulbs and air filters and address other high area maintenance.

Summer Janitorial Power Washing

Pressure washing exterior building facades, entrances, sidewalks and windows can really help your facility sparkle and shine. It will also remove graffiti, gum, dust, dead bugs and unsightly bird droppings. Don’t forget parking garages, too!

Posted in Janitorial | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

National Reach. Local Touch.

national reach local touchWe often talk about our national reach, local touch. But what does that really mean?

It means that ESC and FBS are one family of companies with a relentless passion for being customer-focused. We offer janitorial and facility maintenance services in over 33 states utilizing best practices. Our goal is to deliver not just great service, but the best service in the industry. True devotion to our customer’s needs is in our company DNA.

People are the heart and soul of our business. We believe that in order to best serve our customers we need to first invest in the best training in the industry for all our team members. We strive to offer our people careers, not just jobs. We employ highly motivated people locally who take pride in their work and in making your facility shine. We have an amazing team of regional managerial teams who are empowered to make good decision quickly. We have an executive team with over 100 years of combined management experience who make a point to regularly visit each customer and every facility.

From informal barbeques with building security and administrative staff to regular touch base meetings, we believe it’s important to truly get to know our customers, their teams and their buildings. We believe that devotion to customer service means nurturing long-term relationships with our customers. While some of our competitors only step in if there is a problem or contract renewal, we are committed to regularly meeting throughout the year. We have rigorous quality assurance programs to ensure that the highest standards are not only met, but are exceeded. If ever there is a problem, an executive manager will be at your facility in 2 hours or less. No other company offers that local dedication to customer service.

As Founder & President Todd Videon says, “Getting it right every day is very important to us. You’re only as good as your last 24 hours.

There is a reason why ESC has one of the highest customer retention levels in the business – our people, our passion and our performance. At ESC, we truly believe that it’s not just what we do, but how we do things and why. We believe that our national reach, local touch philosophy delivers a dramatically superior experience for you, your buildings, your tenants and their customers.

Posted in Customer Experience, Janitorial, Safety

Germs 1,300. Hand Dryers 1.

Germy HandsEver since the invent of the modern, high speed hand dryer there has been much debate about which is better – paper towels or hand dryers? With today’s technology, high-tech hand dryers have been proven to offer superior cost and energy savings over their life cycle – a savings of up to 98% versus paper towels. But when it comes down to which removes more germs, scientists have disagreed. In a new research study from the University of Westminster, scientists have concluded that hand dryers are not the more hygienic option. If fact, Dyson Airblades have been shown to spread 1,300 times more germs than paper towels, and 60 times more germs than traditional hand dryers. This article, written by Adam Boult, for the April 16, 2016 issue of The Telegraph details the recent study findings – as well as some of the ongoing industry debate.

So which side are you on – paper towels or hand dryer?

When the new generation of high-speed hand dryers began to arrive in public loos seven years ago, clean freaks rejoiced at these hi-tech machines that were said to dry hands in just ten bacteria-busting seconds.

But there’s a downside, it seems, after a report last month revealed they’re also unbearably noisy.

Dyson Airblade hand-driers spread 60 times more germs than standard air dryers, and 1,300 times more than standard paper towels, according to research published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology.

University of Westminster researchers carrying out the research dipped their hands into water containing a harmless virus. They then dried their hands with either a Dyson Airblade, a standard hot-air dryer, or a paper towel.

According to their findings, the Dyson drier’s 430mph blasts of air are capable of spreading viruses up to 3 meters across a bathroom. The standard drier spread viruses 75cm, and the hand towels 25cm.

Dyson

James Dyson, inventor of the AirbladeCredit: Newspix/Rex/Shutterstock

In 2014 a similar study by researchers from the University of Leeds found that airborne germ counts were 27 times higher around jet air dryers in comparison with the air around paper towel dispensers.

Research lead Professor Mark Wilcox said: “Next time you dry your hands in a public toilet using an electric hand dryer, you may be spreading bacteria without knowing it. You may also be splattered with bugs from other people’s hands.

“These findings are important for understanding the ways in which bacteria spread, with the potential to transmit illness and disease.”

The earlier study was funded by the European Tissue Symposium. A spokesman for Dyson said at the time: “This research was commissioned by the paper towel industry and it’s flawed.

“They have tested glove covered hands, which have been contaminated with unrealistically high levels of bacteria, and not washed.”

In February this year Dyson released a video on its YouTube channel hitting back at claims that paper towels are more hygienic than its hand-driers.

Titled “Paper’s Dirty Secret”, a voiceover on the video says: “Independent research shows that before they even reach the washroom, paper towels can contain large communities of culturable bacteria.”

“Once in the washroom, bacteria in the air and contamination from previous users can be picked up by paper towels … Up to 88% of unused paper towels contain bacteria.”

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Summer is Coming! 10 Tips for Spring Cleaning

Spring CleaningWhile it may feel like summer on the West Coast and winter on the East Coast, spring is here! During the cold weather months, the elements have taken a toll on your facilities, inside and out. Now is the time to remove the seasonal dirt and grime that has built up and make your property shine.

Here are 10 tips for areas your commercial janitorial crew will want to give special attention for spring cleaning:

  1. Pressure wash exterior facades, parking lots, parking garages, walkways and graffiti removal
  2. Deep clean carpets and floors
  3. Clean out gutters
  4. Refresh and deep clean bathrooms
  5. Check HVAC units and coils
  6. Wash all windows – inside and out
  7. High area dusting and maintenance for hard-to-reach areas like high beams, celling corners, air returns and fixtures – don’t forget the light bulbs!
  8. Create a list of maintenance issues
  9. Construction clean-up
  10. Go Green with environmentally-friendly chemicals, energy-efficient equipment, water reduction policies and microfiber cloth products

In this business, your image is everything. This spring refresh your facilities inside and out, reduce dust and allergens, and prepare now for the taxing heat of the coming summer months.

Posted in Customer Experience, Green, Janitorial, Safety

Unisex restrooms: What’s a cleaner to do?

unisex-bathroom-logoUnisex restrooms are becoming increasingly more common in schools, restaurants and other public facilities across the country. Unisex restrooms are already mandated by law for single stall restrooms in businesses and public places in West Hollywood, with San Francisco and other cities starting to propose similar legislation. In Philadelphia, legislation was already passed requiring new or renovated city-owned building to include gender-neutral restrooms and the issue has been contested for single-occupancy public restrooms in Washington since 2006.

Yet, while unisex restrooms may seem like a fairly new trend, they have actually been around for thousands of years! And just like traditional restrooms, it’s a priority to keep them clean and sanitary. So, what’s a janitor to do? Check out this great article from our friends at FM Link, written by Dawn Shoemaker for the February 2016 issue of ISSA Today magazine.

Unisex restrooms: What’s a cleaner to do?

In the book Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing, editors and noted New York University sociologists Harvey Molotch and Laura Norén share images of a second-century public restroom excavated in Ostia, Italy. They note, “Dozens of individuals (male and female) relieved themselves in communal facilities where social interaction could continue during acts of elimination.”

In other words, this was a unisex restroom, and by all appearances, those using this restroom 2,000-plus years ago had no qualms whatsoever about sharing it with whomever walked in the door: man, woman, or child. This has definitely changed over time, however, initially at least, it may not in the way you may think. For literally hundreds of years, public restrooms were built for use by men only.

But once again, social change occurred: After campaigning tirelessly for years, by the 1870s, England’s Ladies Sanitary Association was finally victorious in getting separate women’s restrooms installed in London stores and restaurants and other public facilities. And because London in the 1870s was the world’s trend setter, what was good for London was good for the rest of the world. Women’s restrooms were soon installed in many public locations in North America—stores, restaurants, offices, factories, and other work locations—even private men’s clubs to serve the wives or female escorts. Soon, installing a women’s restroom, especially in a workspace, became legally required.

So we can see two things happening over the past two or three centuries:
(1) Women were recognized as full and participating members of society and, accordingly, needed restrooms to use.
(2) A strong ethical and moral belief developed that separating men’s and women’s restrooms was necessary for several reasons, including avoiding potentially embarrassing situations.

Did You Know?
The first separate toilet facilities for men and women appeared at a ball in Paris in 1739.In 1887, Massachusetts was the first U.S. state to pass a law mandating women’s restrooms in workplaces with female employees. Historically, most public toilets have been unisex and continue to be so in many countries, such as Ghana, China, and India. Source: www.reason.com

Everything seemed honky dory until 2001. That year at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, a student group calling itself the Restroom Revolution began advocating for unisex restrooms. Although there was considerable uproar from school administrators, educators, and students concerned about safety and other matters, the Restroom Revolution slowly got its way. One reason for this was that university administrators soon found out that other colleges such as Hampshire College, Amherst College, the University of New Hampshire at Durham, the University of Minnesota, the University of Chicago, Reed College, and Wesleyan University, had quietly installed “gender-blind” unisex restrooms that were readily accepted by students and staff and were problem free.
In time, the whole idea of sex-segregated restrooms came under greater scrutiny. What about the single father with his young daughter? Can he help his young daughter in the ladies rooms if necessary? And how about a person with disabilities who needs assistance in the restroom but whose helper is of another gender? While many states and communities in the United States do have laws and codes prohibiting unisex restrooms, several legal issues and situations have developed that have caused public officials to rethink these laws. This has slowly opened the door for more unisex-type restrooms to be installed in more types of facilities.

Unisex Restroom Style

One of the early complaints about installing unisex restrooms was that they would add to a building’s costs. However, that has not necessarily been the case; in fact, the opposite may be true. Some hotels, for instance, have found installing one unisex restroom instead of two sex-segregated restrooms to be less expensive.
One difference, though, is that unisex restrooms are often larger than traditional gender-segregated restrooms. In addition, they usually do not have urinals, or if they do, the urinals are separated from the rest of the restroom. They do tend to have many more single-stall toilets as well as more sinks, which also means longer restroom counters and likely longer wall mirrors and more soap dispensers as well. Furthermore, depending on where they are located, they are often busier; after all, they have many more people using the same restroom.
Another issue that must be addressed, especially for those in the professional cleaning industry, is whether unisex restrooms remain cleaner or get dirtier than single-gender restrooms. So far, there are no studies that answer this question. One might assume that everyone would be on his or her best behavior in a unisex restroom—especially now because they are still a rarity—so possibly for now they would stay somewhat cleaner. Nevertheless, studies going back to the late 1990s do indicate that women’s restrooms tend to get germier than men’s, which may cross over to unisex restrooms as well.
If this is true, then adding it all up, a bigger restroom plus many more single-stall toilets, more sinks, more counter space, longer mirrors, and more soap dispensers equals longer cleaning times.

Cleaning Unisex Restrooms

Because they likely are larger and busier and have more toilets and private stalls, we can assume unisex restrooms will take more time to clean. Therefore, cleaning contractors and distributors with clients where unisex restrooms have been installed have to advise their clients on how to make sure unisex restrooms are hygienically cleaned, eliminating as many germs and bacteria as possible and doing it in the shortest amount of time.
One option is to have CIMS-certified cleaning workers. ISSA’s Cleaning Industry Management System will help ensure cleaning workers use best practices that can help streamline restroom cleaning operations while also effectively cleaning to protect human health. Distributors and cleaning contractors also should suggest to their clients that when cleaning unisex restrooms, they use color-coded microfiber cleaning cloths, according to Matt Morrison, communications manager for Kaivac. “I would even suggest developing a color-coded cleaning system just for unisex restrooms, such as using red cloths for toilets, green for counters and sinks, yellow for ‘high-touch’ areas, and blue for mirrors, glass, and similar areas.”

The color-coding system will help reduce cross contamination and the misuse of chemicals, enhance cleaning consistency, and promote safety. Using a “multifold” microfiber cleaning cloth may also help by providing a fresh surface as the microfiber becomes soiled.

Another necessity, according to Morrison, is to develop a restroom cleaning plan, such as the one suggested by Process Cleaning for Healthy Schools® (PC4HS) program, one of the programs that meets the ISSA Cleaning Industry Training Standard (CITS), or another step-by-step cleaning plan that does not endorse products, equipment, or cleaning systems.

Using what ISSA calls a spray-and-vac or “no-touch” cleaning systems also can prove effective for hygienically cleaning surfaces in unisex restrooms. Also, studies by ISSA indicate that these systems are about one- to two-thirds faster than traditional or manual cleaning methods, thereby addressing two of our unisex restroom concerns.

Changes Coming

Those who have been in or observed the professional cleaning industry over the past two or more decades have seen many changes. Cleaning has gotten greener; cleaning has gotten more automated; buildings have gone from private offices to more open work-spaces.

So do not be surprised if unisex restrooms are another change that is on the way to becoming the norm. In fact, it might be better to expect them. This is because in 2014, there already were more than 150 college campuses in the United States with unisex restrooms, which will be reflected in the businesses where these young people work.

Posted in Uncategorized