Green cleaning services, combined with outsourced facilities maintenance, is a cost-effective solution to the challenges facing many facilities managers.
Cleaning Services Solutions for Facilities Management Challenges
Building and complex facilities managers, especially those responsible for large schools, apartments, and office buildings, struggle with several common challenges that can be cost-effectively addressed by outsourced green cleaning and facilities maintenance services--chief among them, the lack of productive time available to complete necessary tasks, address occupant issues, and maintain regulation compliance.
Outsourcing routine tasks allow facilities executives to cost-effectively manage performance-based outcomes, typically measured via occupant satisfaction, cost reduction, and efficiency improvements as projects, as opposed to hands-on daily tasks, freeing up their time for critical oversight functions.
Emerging methods, currently trending favorably among facilities management include:
- Unified, searchable vendor management, work order scheduling, and communication solution that allows for occupant feedback.
- Implementing higher standards of building and occupant health and performance per the WELL Building Standard, and;
- Leveraging modern innovations to implement sustainable practices.
Unified Mangement Solutions
Unified management solutions allow facilities executives to proactively monitor and manage their complex's physical assets, maintenance tasks, and work requests from a central system in much the same way an IT department manages computers and networks.
Typical services include:
- Work, inventory, vendor, and asset management.
- Knowledge sharing.
- Asset monitoring and alerts.
- Planned and predictive maintenance, management, and scheduling, and;
- Cloud and mobile access to tools, reports, and dashboards.
Advantages of using a unified management system include:
- Increased occupant satisfaction.
- Improved asset performance with reduced downtime and repair costs.
- Decreased amount of time between work request and resolution.
- Reduction in paperwork and storage costs, and;
- Reduced effort and time required to maintain compliance.
The WELL Building Standard
The WELL Building Standard is comprised of seven core concepts:
- Comfort, and;
For More Information:
Poor indoor air quality contributes significantly toward some preventable illness' and deaths per year.
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 3.3 million deaths per year are attributed to indoor air pollution, worldwide, from preventable respiratory and cardiovascular disease.
The reported cases were broken down as:
- 34% - Stroke
- 26% - Ischaemic Heart Disease.
- 22% - COPD.
- 12% - Acute Lower Respiratory Infections in children; and
- 6% - Lung Cancer.
- Reduce or eliminate sources of indoor air pollution.
- Improve indoor air and environment quality.
- Identify and eliminate sources of indoor pollution and VOC's, including cleaning products and chemicals used during building maintenance in favor of safer, biodegradable, non-toxic products.
- Update HVAC systems to allow a higher volume of air flow at a comfortable temperature through occupied spaces.
- Implement natural and HEPA filtered systems throughout all spaces.
Easy access to clean drinking water isn't just a health concern, studies have shown that hydration levels have a direct correlation to cognitive function, as well as physical and mental performance.
According to Molly Hodges of Georgia College & State University;
[sic]... studies conducted around the effects of dehydration, suggest that deteriorated mental and psychomotor processing occurs early after the beginning of inadequate fluid consumption, pointing to the importance of a regular and perhaps planned regime of fluid intake...[sic]
- Ensure a ready supply of clean drinking water is available to building occupants.
- Ensure building occupants consume enough water to remain hydrated.
- Make access to drinking water available throughout the facility and in the primary locations, such as gyms, cafeterias, and kitchens.
- Eliminate the use and disposal of toxic cleaning products and other chemicals to protect water sources.
- Encourage regular water consumption via affirmations, such as emails, signs, and posters, especially for student-athletes.
- Water faucet handles and vending machines are germ hotspots, so ensure these areas are routinely disinfected with a safe, biodegradable product that aligns with the WELL Building clean air guidelines.
Proper nutrition is an issue for schools, parents, teachers, office workers, and business managers, as well as being a significant contributor to the financial and societal burden of preventable disease.
According to the World Health Organization;
[sic]...population nutrient intake and physical activity goals should contribute in the development of regional strategies and national guidelines to reduce the burden of disease related to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, several forms of cancer, osteoporosis and dental disease.
- Encourage consumption of healthier food choices in adults and students.
- Decrease the financial burden of poor nutrition access and education.
- Improve worker and student health and performance through smarter nutrition choices.
- Essentially, the same solutions as water.
- Provide healthy alternative foods for students and building occupants.
- Leverage communication tools, such as affirmative emails or texts to encourage positive behavior.
- Food prep and delivery stations, especially lunch line/salad bar delivery methods are germ hotspots, so ensure the surfaces are routinely disinfected with a safe, biodegradable product.
- Encourage proper hand-washing for occupants before eating, and for all food preparation staff to avoid the transfer of germs.
Direct access to natural lighting has been shown to have positive impacts on student and occupant health and performance, as well as combating potentially problematic mental health issues, such as depression.
Additionally, lighting is a critical component of our circadian rhythms which, according to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences;
[sic]...influence sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, body temperature, and other important bodily functions.
They have been linked to various sleep disorders, such as insomnia.
Abnormal circadian rhythms have also been associated with obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder.
- Provide adequate natural sunlight and nature exposure indoor for students and occupants.
- Design new buildings, classrooms, and offices to align with the sun's path throughout the day to improve occupant health and performance, decrease natural gas dependence for heating, and reduce energy consumption for lighting.
- Arrange currently constructed offices so that students and occupants benefit from maximum exposure to windows.
- In urban areas where natural settings are not available, bring nature indoors by placing live potted plants throughout the building.
- Ensure windows are regularly cleaned, inside and out, by professional to avoid expensive pitting and staining damage, as well as reduced natural lighting.
Physical inactivity has long been documented as a precursor to poor health and cognitive function, as well as one of the leading causes of preventable disease and death.
According to Dr. I-Min Lee of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School;
Strong evidence shows that physical inactivity increases the risk of many adverse health conditions, including the world’s major non-communicable diseases (NCDs) of coronary heart disease (CHD), type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancers, and shortens life expectancy.
Because much of the world’s population is inactive, this presents a major public health problem.
- Promote a healthy and sustainable level of physical activity in students and building occupants.
- Provide convenient areas for students and workers to exercise safely and comfortably.
- Communicate positive affirmations via email, and other correspondence.
- Encourage employees to bike to work, and take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Establish and participate in group or office exercise programs.
- Provide a rewards system and recognize accomplishments through gamification.
- Indoor bike storage areas, locker rooms, gym equipment, and showers are all hotspots for germs, so ensure each area is thoroughly disinfected at regular intervals with safe, biodegradable cleaning products.
Noise, temperature, airflow, and smells have been shown to negatively impact occupant health and performance.
Daytime cleaning is increasing in popularity, due to increased pressure to reduce energy consumption and costs, but the wrong equipment, or a poorly designed service route, can leave occupants exposed to distracting and, ultimately, production affecting noises.
Further, bad smells have been shown to negatively impact occupant mood, cognitive functions, and performance.
According to Scientific American;
[sic]...Downstream from how odors influence our moods is the way that moods influence how we think (cognition) and how we act (behavior).
In terms of cognition, mood has been shown to influence creativity with the typical finding that people in a positive mood exhibit higher levels of creativity than individuals in a bad mood.
Odors can also produce the same effects. When people were exposed to an odor they liked creative problem solving was better than it was when they were exposed to an unpleasant odor condition.
When people were exposed to an odor they liked creative problem solving was better than it was when they were exposed to an unpleasant odor condition.
- Provide a comfortable working or learning environment to enhance wellbeing and health.
- Use HVAC airflow and filtration to provide a comfortable temperature and working environment while absorbing microbes that can trigger negative olfactory responses.
- Design workflows to avoid disturbing building occupants during peak hours.
- Use biodegradable cleaning products and natural odor absorbers, such as plants, instead of harsh toxic cleaners, or potentially dangerous perfume scents to mask smells.
- Use natural lighting and air flow to decrease natural resource dependency and improve occupant health and performance.
- Clean carpets, upholstery, walkway mats, and rugs on a regular basis with a HEPA filtered vacuum, and adhere to a green carpet cleaning strategy that addresses high traffic paths, and seasonal necessities.
The mind's well-being plays a tremendous role in occupant performance and health, and external factors have been shown to have an impact on an individual's perception of their environment.
Crowding, the arrangement of office furniture, or where a person is located in relation to floor height and natural exposure has been shown to negatively affect occupant psychological states.
According to The New York Academy of Medicine;
The built environment has direct and indirect effects on mental health.
Highrise housing is inimical to the psychological well-being of women with young children.
Poor-quality housing appears to increase psychological distress, but methodological issues make it difficult to draw clear conclusions.
Mental health of psychiatric patients has been linked to design elements that affect their ability to regulate social interaction (e.g., furniture configuration, privacy).
Alzheimer’s patients adjust better to small-scale, homier facilities that also have lower levels of stimulation.
They are also better adjusted in buildings that accommodate physical wandering.
Residential crowding (number of people per room) and loud exterior noise sources (e.g., airports) elevate psychological distress but do not produce serious mental illness.
Malodorous air pollutants heighten negative affect, and some toxins (e.g., lead, solvents) cause behavioral disturbances (e.g., self-regulatory ability, aggression).
Insufficient daylight is reliably associated with increased depressive symptoms.
- Ensure the mental health, stability, and well-being of building occupants, workers, and students.
- Create an environment that meets occupant need and arrange furniture to align with desired occupant workflows and intent, while encouraging positive social interaction.
- Eliminate the use of toxic chemicals throughout the building.
- Provide as much natural lighting as possible.
- Provide scenic views of natural environments, or stock the occupied spaces with live plants.
- Engage building occupants for feedback, leveraging communication tools available in your organization's CMMS/Unified Management System software.
Climate change and sustainable business practices are now the main topics of interest for schools, apartment complexes, and office building facilities managers.
External pressure from customer's, prospective employees, and the public, in general, are forcing facilities executives to take a hard look at their organization's current practices to identify and address critical areas of waste.
Combining the communication and monitoring tools available in a CMMS application with the principles outlined in The WELL Buiding Standard will allow your organization to rapidly adapt and track stated initiatives at each stage.
Partnering with a professional cleaning services vendor will offset other common challenges facing facilities executives, such as:
- Staff, equipment, and expertise availability.
- Insurance and payroll costs.
- Employee management.
- Internal communications and problem resolution, and;
- Fluctuating costs.
References & Resources
- Top 6 Common Challenges in Facilities Management
- Top 5 Facility Management Challenges
- 10 emerging sustainability trends to watch this year
Each passing year brings new challenges for facilities executives and managers that demand an extraordinary time commitment to offset dwindling budgets and tightening resource use restrictions.
Unifying the monitoring and management of all assets, including workflows and knowledge repositories, is easy, and inexpensive with the advancement of modern cloud and mobile computing technologies.
Using a CMMS solution simplifies the implementation and tracking of emerging sustainable models, such as The WELL Building Standard.
If you would like to learn more about the advantages of green cleaning services and outsourced facilities maintenance for your office or apartment complex, contact us today for a free quote!
In Bakersfield CA, call (661) 437-3253
In Fresno CA, call (559) 206-1059
In Valencia CA, or Santa Clarita CA, call (661) 437-3253