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Interview: Michael Nicholas, General Manager, Tafawuq Facilities Management


“When fighting a highly contagious virus like the one we are facing now, we need specially trained disinfection technicians to clean and disinfect our public areas using special tools and equipment and high-level surface disinfectants.”
-Michael Nicholas, General Manager, Tafawuq Facilities Management


Filed under
Cleaning Services
June 24, 2020
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Interview: Michael Nicholas, General Manager, Tafawuq Facilities Management

Cleaning and disinfection lies at the core of every facility and workplace in the current times. Even when we succeed at defeating this pandemic, the importance of these concepts will remain heightened. Michael Nicholas, General Manager, Tafawuq Facilities Management, talks about these concepts, client perception and a lot more!

Cleaning and disinfecting have always been important in protecting our communities from contagious diseases and infections caused by viruses, germs, and bacteria. The global coronavirus pandemic has only put more emphasis on their significance as a vital part of safeguarding public health. When fighting a highly contagious virus like the one we are facing now, we need specially trained disinfection technicians to clean and disinfect our public areas using special tools and equipment and high-level surface disinfectants. Even when we defeat this pandemic, we believe that authorities will continue to heighten the cleaning and disinfecting activities in our communities as part of our current and future reality.

The end user’s perception of disinfection before COVID-19

All of us know that sanitation and disinfection are vital even before the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) struck. But, admittedly, the awareness level shot up along with the demand during the pandemic. We’ve seen the demand surging across the UAE following the implementation of precautionary measures. This is not unique in our country as other nations have been making sure that public areas and their surroundings are safe and free from the virus. Disinfection services are now among the priorities of many end-users.

Client expectations today

Client expectations today are higher, because awareness levels are higher, which is expected considering the current global health situation. However, we must understand that while disinfection is crucial, it is not the only way to stop COVID-19 in its track. A confluence of equally important factors should be observed as well such as washing our hands often, avoiding non-essential trips, observing physical distancing, and the like.

We assess each client’s individual requirements to understand the unique needs of their projects. We strive to temper unrealistic expectations with thorough discussions of our services and situations in which our solutions are the most appropriate and effective. We also recommend the best possible service based on their requirements and facilities.

Does disinfection put the cleaning staff at risk?

Considered front liners, the cleaning staff are at a higher risk of being exposed to the virus. This is why key measures should be in place to ensure their health and well-being while doing their job. One of the measures is to make them undergo proper training on how to stay safe and avoid the risk of exposure during these times. For example, they should know how to avoid contamination and what safety protocol breaches they should look for to reduce the chances of exposure. Another is to provide them with additional personal protective equipment, gloves, and other gears. Likewise, they should also undergo regular medical check-ups to monitor their health status. They should be aware of all safety measures to protect themselves, their families, and their colleagues.

How the cleaning staff can be trained

In any organization with a large workforce, it is critical to make any learning and development initiatives systematic, through curriculums, training mechanisms and set frequencies. This is the only way to achieve consistency of service quality across large project portfolios.

Enhancing your usual training curriculum and aligning it to BICSc standards, by focusing on raising awareness and enhancing skills to specifically focus on disinfection is the key. Train your housekeeping staff on the crucial and critical areas which ensure disinfection. Operate each disinfection session as a confirmed case, using disposable coveralls, disposable shoe covers, and disposable hand gloves which should at the end of each day be disposed of by an approved medical waste company.

New innovations like robots, steam technology, UVC, Nanotechnology are also important innovations that are highly crucial during our current situation. They help reduce face-to-face interactions while speeding up and increasing the efficiency of cleaning and disinfection services. And training staff in their proper and effective use is extremely important.

The aspects of disinfection

Property end users should focus on disinfecting high-use/high-touch areas such as door handles, computer keyboards, etc. In terms of what to use, end users should always look into the type of disinfectant being used, the health authorities have provided the public with the list of approved disinfectants as well as an approved service provider list, of which they undergo a long process to ensure the service is per standards.

Tafawuq FM’s services

Tafawuq has been using the best disinfectants and disposable materials that meet the highest level of safety. We have further enhanced our sanitation services by making use of the latest technological innovations. Part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic is introducing new sanitation and disinfection services for homes and various communities. Our new disinfectants are non-toxic because they are made of natural and organic chemicals. They can eliminate viruses and bacteria in one minute up to five minutes.

The effectiveness may last up to 10 days, depending on the user’s requirements. Our products, which have been approved by the Public Health and Safety Department of the Dubai Municipality and other health authorities, are attested to have no health impact on both humans and pets. Further, they are effective in disinfecting coronaviruses such as SARS, MERS-cov, and COVID-19.

Through our new sanitation and disinfection services, we aim to contribute to the country’s efforts to maintain the cleanliness of our surroundings while, at the same time, ensuring the health of our team and the public by using fogging technology and disposable materials.

Tafawuq also makes use of advanced technologies to better serve our clients no matter what the circumstances are. We have implemented technologies like Tafawuq GO, a maintenance mobility solution, to support our technicians by enabling digital transactions without the need for physical interaction. As this is purely digital, the solution also eliminates the need for our staff to use printers, scanners, and other devices.

Another is the rollout of SAP4 HANA enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, which allows for real-time and remote approval of transactions done using any device, even through mobile devices. This has widely reduced the need for printing and transporting documents that require a signature. Additionally, our parent company, Eltizam Asset Management Group, has deployed NESTROM, an online management system for quality, health, safety, and environment (QHSE) inspections which involve paperless and contactless processes. We have also facilitated payments through our e-banking integration feature.

About the Author:

Michael Nicholas is the General Manager of Tafawuq Facility Management. He is responsible for overseeing and supervising the key operations of Tafawuq, an established facilities management (FM) in the UAE.

Since 2016, he has been delivering results through his relentless focus on employee engagement and customer satisfaction. This commitment is fueled by his drive for continuous improvement to attain the company's operational and financial goals.

Nicholas earned his Global Master of Business Administration from Swiss Business School. He obtained his degree in Refrigeration Engineering from Nene College Northampton and holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Dunstable College.


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