As my grandpa used to say, “Put your jacket on, or you’re going to catch a cold!” Sound familiar?
Yes, I’m sure it does, but we all know we can get sick in warmer weather too. So why then are we more likely to get sick in winter? If you ask around your office, most people would say, “Your immune system is weaker (or your body can’t regulate itself, also known as homeostasis, and in this case referring to regulating our internal body temperature), therefore, you are more susceptible to a cold or possible influenza. This is a very common myth. However, the truth is the internal temperature no matter what the outside temperature is always the same except for when we are sick with a fever and our internal temperature rises. A fever is the body’s natural way to fight off infection.
That being said, while there are more scientific answers as to why our chances of getting sick during winter increase, the main reason is simple:--we are inside more often during the winter. Being closely huddled around desks and cubicles of coworkers in closed off buildings, inhaling and breathing contaminated air by those who are already sick and sneezing around you (60% of people come to work sick) dramatically increases the chances of you and your co-workers catching and spreading illnesses within the office.
Besides breathing in infected air, the other ways you may get sick are through touch points. Touch points are common or shared areas and high-traffic spaces used within the building that become breeding grounds for contamination. These items include, but are not limited to: doors, door handles, light switches, refrigerators, water coolers, coffee pots, microwaves, kitchen/break room, break room table tops, break room chairs, bathroom stall doors, and toilet flush handles.
In today’s working world, calling in sick is almost always out of the question, so it is even more imperative to make sure your commercial cleaning company is disinfecting these touch points on a regular basis to help prevent the further spread of illness, employee absence, and the reduction of overall company production.
1) Do you have proper general liability and bonding insurance coverage certificates? (Are they current?)
This may be an obvious must but you would be surprised how often it’s overlooked. You will want to see up-to-date coverage of at least $1,000,000 aggregate for liability coverage and $25,000 for the bonding policy.
2) Are you locally owned and operated?
It is good to support local business. In addition, you’ll know right away if they can respond quickly and consistently to your needs and how far they will have to travel to your site.
3) Do you hire employees or subcontractors?
This is an important one. Employers that hire employees have complete control. They can train their employees to their specific set of guidelines, have them wear a company uniform, set their expectations, and carry out the mission of their company by seeing to it that their employees are consistently executing these details to meet or exceed the clients needs.
They are also fulfilling their duties as required by the IRS by paying state and federal unemployment tax, workers compensation and disability, and social security taxes. Companies that hire subcontractors are not required to make any of these payments and subcontractors are responsible for their own taxes and insurance policies.
Another thing to be aware of is that subcontractors often hire other subcontractors, which can be a breach of security, as you may regularly find multiple groups of workers in and out of your building(s) that you’ve never seen before. Were background checks conducted on them too?
4) What happens if the regular cleaner can’t make it, how will you handle this?
Commercial cleaning, like any business, is a people business. For one reason or another people will be absent with little advanced notice. An employer’s backup plan is important and you definitely want to understand this part of their operation.
5) Who specifically will be checking the building(s) and how often?
Asking this question point blank will almost immediately let you know if they are well organized and are an efficiently run company. Do they have someone appointed to stay on top of the work being performed? Does the owner take stock in his/her own company and physically visit the building(s) on a somewhat regular basis?
6) How will I know all of the cleaning tasks are being performed?
A commercial cleaning company that is well run will have a list of cleaning specifications presented in their proposal. Not only for their employees, but for your use as well, as you will see what tasks are to be completed. This will help you know the cleaning company is upholding their end of the agreement.
7) Do you guarantee your work?
A commercial cleaning company that does great work has no problem stating that they stand behind their work. If you have to sign a contract, make sure you get it in writing.
8) Do you have references?
Almost everyone will ask for references, however, many don’t call them. A simple call can make all the difference.
9) Do you perform background checks on your employees?
Background checks reveal a lot about who the potential employee is and what has happened in their past. It is important hiring criteria.