2023 is here and is expected to bring change, innovation and hope in the commercial cleaning industry. From housekeepers to infection control specialists, from educational institutes to leading healthcare facilities, everyone is gearing for the new year and has interesting hygiene resolutions to achieve. In this feature, thought leaders of the commercial cleaning industry come together to share their new year resolutions!
Andrea Yoko, Head of Technical Support, AG Facilities Solutions
When one thinks of new year resolutions, it is always for the improvement and betterment of the mind, body and soul. They usually take the form and shape of improving their diet, eating less and healthier, taking up a new sport or increasing the amount of exercise, drinking more water, learning a new skill or language. The majority are abandoned within 3 months. I myself had never made New Year's resolutions. usually they just add additional undue pressure to a hectic regime especially when creating a work life balance.
In a professional workplace environment, they are renamed as goals and objectives to achieve in the new business year. In 2023 I will continue to be a staunch advocate of hand hygiene which is a key player in the containment of cross contamination. The overuse of disinfectants and wearing of masks over a long period of time has lowered our bodies immunities, combined with a relaxed attitude has resulted recently in more serious flu cases. In order to prevent a repeat of 2019, I will be ensuring that the high touch cleaning frequencies are maintained and using steam at any given opportunity.
Harib Mohammed Binthani, Operations Division Director, Union Coop
Our New Year resolution is to keep supporting the vision of our wise leadership and smart governance concerning healthy retail practices, as we take consumer health, safety and satisfaction to the forefront. We were one of the first private entities to fully implement the measures recommended by the competent health authorities in Dubai and this year will see no difference as we only plan to take hygiene and infection control much more seriously.
One of our primary strategies will see the successful Implementation approved food safety management system (HACCP), which is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.
We wish to further promote the concept of ‘sustainable cleaning’, which is a norm for us as we realize our huge responsibility towards society. Moreover, serving the community for us means reducing their burden and providing them with a complete shopping experience.
Union Coop adopts and executes various training programs for new as well as existing staff regularly. The training covers all necessary aspects related to the latest machine operations and chemical safety standards of cleaning. Reputed training agencies with specialist professionals are involved in sessions regarding new cleaning chemicals, procedures or equipment.
Moreover, we also conduct training sessions in food safety standards and hygiene practices as per the predefined schedules, considering the importance of cleaning and hygiene in food handling areas.
Ibrahim Moawad, Director of Housekeeping & Laundry, Accor
Sense of Hygiene and cleaning awareness became number one at all levels of people especially after what has happened during COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are very sensitive and allergic to all cleaning and hygiene methods. That’s why all properties especially in the hospitality field such as Hotels, Resorts, Restaurants and other facilities are implementing the newest and updated hygiene methods to meet guests expectations as in many cases guests are asking specifically about the way of hygiene and sanitization plus which chemical we are using. In the following some of the points for hygiene resolution.
- Using approved worldwide sanitizer implanting proper way of usage.
- To keep cleaning tools are cleaned and sanitized during cleaning operation and after duty hours.
- Using proper protection hygiene tools for the operation team to keep the workplace safe.
- To keep the operations team sanitized and vaccinated all the time by approved vaccination.
- To make sure each corner is well maintained to prevent any workplace hazards.
- Investing in operation team training and getting new best practice to keep everything cleaned and very well sanitized
- Big concentration to high touch points such as door handles, phone receiver, TV remote control, Reception area and public area outlets.
John Manohar, Cluster Director of Housekeeping , J5 HOTELS
We have underestimated how fragile we are and we have overestimated how strong we are built. We need to make sure that Hygiene is paramount in our life and that does not apply only to washing our hands and personal hygiene, but it also has to do with maintaining everybody’s health through hygiene whether it is physical points that could be touched or the air that we breathe.
In the face of global health concerns like Coronavirus, I want to consider additional rigorous deep cleaning and disinfection protocols in hotel guest rooms as well as throughout the property to mitigate risks.
Here are our resolutions to help keep our industry clean, hygienic and safe to bring back the charm of the hospitality industry.
- Keep equipment clean
Studies have found that the surfaces of treadmills and other typical gym equipment are teeming with bacteria and other infectious germs. Give customers the opportunity to wipe the equipment before and after their workout with sanitizing wipes.
- Make it easy for customers and staff to practice hand hygiene
Reduce the risk of germs spreading within our facility by offering hand sanitizing solutions. We supply a choice of dispensers, including popular touch-free models, which are even more hygienic due to the fact that no sweaty hands need to touch them to dispense the product.
- Make sure floors are well-maintained
Floors in hotels are exposed to high traffic so must be well-maintained. Ensure the correct pad is chosen for the floor type and the required job by checking against hotel cleaning standards, which includes a handy color-coding system for easy identification and implementation.
- Invest in staff training for best practice
Best practices can be accomplished easily with proper training.
- Sustainable products
Introduce sustainable products and services in the rooms to create awareness amongst the team and to the guests. The world is passing through the paradigm shift towards sustainable measures. This will be the key element in all our future planning and hotel operations. We will be soon launching” Green Rooms “ in our portfolio for the awareness of sustainability.
Following the above resolutions will not only result in a sparkling and hygienically clean property, but will also demonstrate our commitment to the health and wellbeing of our clientele.
Dr Lisa Ackerly, Director of Medical & Scientific Engagement, Hygiene Research & Development, Reckitt.
My personal New Year hygiene resolutions are to keep carrying and using hand sanitiser, using it at key moments, for example after touching frequently touched surfaces in public spaces, such as door handles and escalator rails. I will keep remembering to keep my hands from my face unless they are clean. In the home I will make sure there is a pack of Dettol wipes located in key places to help my family target their hygiene needs – for example in the bathroom and kitchen – making hygiene easy and targeted in my opinion puts less stress on one person and allows everyone to share the responsibility, not the germs! In commercial spaces I shall continue to take the same approach – let’s keep the hand sanitiser readily available and have wipes available for personal use on desks and tables for example and have appropriate messaging to encourage everyone to be hygienic.
Michael Rollins, Consultant Healthcare Environment Infection Prevention
From a personal perspective it’s a dusting off of previous environmental research files and revisiting the findings of the past and re-evaluating their potential role in answer to new and emerging challenges. What is the potential contribution to environmental sustainability? Are there synergies between methods and or materials? What has changed in the microbiological world since these original studies and post pandemic? What prevailing guidelines need to be reviewed? What actions do we need to correct?
The sustainability subject is of high importance and elevates the potential for a number of material and practice changes. We can no longer afford to continue the practice of single use disposable wipes for environmental cleaning and disinfection. The return to reusable microfiber cloths brings sustainable benefits in cleaning performance and lifecycle cost. Advanced generation microfibre textiles can equal or surpass chemical disinfection standards using water alone to remove surface contamination. The mechanical action of professional microfibre textile cloths can effectively disrupt and remove dry biofilm from surfaces. A problem which exists in many healthcare materials where the surfaces are not smooth, providing a harbor for contaminant accumulation and a fomite contributing to hand carriage and cross contamination
Hypochlorous is one of nature’s own disinfectants and antiseptics. Rapid acting, safe in use and environmentally compatible and an emerging method for area and airborne decontamination. A microfibre cloth dosed with Hypochlorous presents an highly effective tool in maintaining safe clean environments.
Mohammed Aleemuddin, Head of Training & Operations Support for Soft Services, Saudi Services Company Limited (SSCL)
The FM industry has always been characterized by aggressive competition and razor-thin
margins. There is a big opportunity for the use of automation, data analysis, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. One example here is robotic cleaning which is soon to become a new normal across our industry. We will be left behind if we don’t bring the latest technology and innovation on board to cut the risks such as shortage of manpower in the market.
In the coming year, we would like to gain advantage among the competition by continue to bring automated cleaning solutions while at the same time our focus will remain on the strong foundation of basics of cleaning to drive our market share and client satisfaction with optimized capitol and costs and increased revenue and profit margins.
Remya Venugopalan, Director Operations, International Modern Hospital
One of our first hygiene resolutions in 2023 is to achieve more than 90% compliance to hand hygiene by our staff as per WHO 5 moments of hand hygiene. To achieve this, we are focusing on just in time training of staff along with continuous in-service education.
We are also working on automating the hand hygiene solutions for our staff and patients, which includes automated notifications to housekeeping staff when the hand sanitizer or soap solution containers are empty. This helps the staff to take a note and refill it at the earliest which ensures compliance. We hope we lead the hygiene solutions in the healthcare segment this year.
From IMH, we wish you all a happy and a successful new year ahead!
Subhojit Banerjee, Director of Housekeeping, Atlantis The Palm
For 2023, I plan to increase awareness among team members about the importance of hygiene. With the ease in restrictions, many people around the world are quickly forgetting how important and critical hygiene is and how the negligence of this matter can change the world dynamics once again. There are a few steps that I plan on implementing at the onset of the new year:
- Focussed team member training on importance of hygiene at workplace- proper hand/ equipment sanitization and care at all times. Ensuring enough materials are provided to team members so as to avoid cross contamination.
- Using the right set of chemicals to ensure surfaces are thoroughly sanitized and prepared for guest usage.
- Appropriate temperature is used for washing of linens to ensure they are fully sanitized.
- Regular periodic sanitization of all feather items in guest rooms at the appropriate temperature.
- Strict swab testing and auditing system is in place to ensure sanitization levels are always maintained at the highest levels.
- Working with the contracted chemical vendor to ensure industry trends are discussed regularly and any new concerns or challenges are considered and preparations are always made in advance.
Suman Basu, Executive Housekeeper, Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach
2023 is an exciting year for me. The current trends are very positive and we are entering this New Year stronger than ever before. When it comes to hygiene resolutions, my priorities for the New Year will be:
The focus will be on the cleanliness, hygiene and sanitization of all our areas providing a clean and sanitized environment for our guests at all times. I will make sure that we provide hand sanitizer in public areas and the surfaces are clean and sanitized on a regular basis. The cleaning and disinfection of the rooms will take place daily, periodically, we will carry out the fumigation of the rooms. The inspection of the room with UV torches and the use of ATP machines to check the cleanliness of the rooms will always be a field of interest.
Our employees' health and well-being continues to be a priority. Focus on their personal
hygiene by ensuring they wash and sanitize their hands on a regular basis. Use PPE as required, and follow the cleaning and hygiene standards in the guest rooms and public areas. There will also be a focus on regular training sessions to remind employees to meet hotel health and safety standards, as well as employee accommodation measures.
Maintaining the property is also very important when it comes to my emphasis on hygiene. We have budgeted in CAPEX 2023 to source cleaning technology such as HYLA
machines, to improve scrubber dryers, vacuum cleaners and steam machines. This will allow us to keep our recently renovated rooms clean and sanitized throughout the year.
Sustainability goes hand in hand with hygiene. We have already focused on sustainability and this will continue in 2023, beginning with removing all single-use plastics from our rooms. I look forward to further improving the cleaning and hygiene standards in 2023, while further reducing the impact on our environment.
Sutharson Sathaiah, Group HSE Director, Aura Group
We are targeting a few important initiatives in 2023. “Health is wealth” couldn’t be more true when it comes to displaying the nutritional value of dishes in restaurants. We aim to educate our customers about the importance of nutritious and healthy eating. Therefore, we would like to play a role here by declaring the nutrition values of our offerings. We strongly believe that this initiative will highly impact the food businesses in a positive way.
Second area of focus would be sustainability in the food business, as we believe it’s predominantly important. We would be focusing in some key areas such as sourcing sustainable ingredients, using environmentally friendly packaging and production methods, and inspecting primary packaged products during quality control. Some of these initiatives include: prioritizing local vendors in order to reduce food miles, improving indoor air quality by using green chemicals, recycling food waste into liquid composite.
We firmly trust that employees are our strength. Aura Group is HABC approved training center. As part of our ‘striving for excellence program’, we will be providing free training and certifications on various topics to the majority of our staff members this year. We are aiming to upkeep our positive safety culture.
Trishna Hundal, Cluster Executive Housekeeper, Wyndham Dubai Deira | Days Hotel by Wyndham| Super 8 by Wyndham
Travelers have once again resumed their normal behavior, but not without a heightened degree of caution. Post pandemic, guest expectations on hygiene and cleanliness have evolved and so has housekeeping.
In 2023, hygiene and cleanliness will reign supreme.
We will continue with the hygiene practices we adopted during 2020-22 in order to keep our guests safe. That is the minimum expectation now. We will look for ways and means to elevate standards. The heightened housekeeping standards will mean new procedures will have to be formed and employees trained on them.
We will look for smarter ways this year in terms of technology to help us keep the rooms dirt, dust and germ free and to allow for multitasking, streamlined communication, and cross-team collaboration.
In 2023, it will not all be about the location and amenities – the main priority will remain as safety and trust on the part of our guests. This means that we will not give up on cleaning visibility even though the risk of contamination is low. Each room will be released through a checklist where all touch points have been sanitized. Hotel public areas will be kept sanitized and records tracked.
2023 will be a year of hope, happiness, increased occupancy and revenues and housekeepers will do their magic as always. We will work towards creating a truly safe environment in our hotels.