Is the Super Hero in your Building Really a Custodian?

He or she may not have come from Krypton, and may not wear a cape. Exceptional strength, however, is a distinct possibility - and of several kinds. With advanced team and cooperative cleaning concepts, he or she probably can clean tall buildings in a single day. And with the right automation, those persons of steel can be faster than a speeding bullet.

Janitor, custodian, matron, environmental service technician, infection control cleaning specialist... they are all people increasingly on the front line in defense of health, cleanliness and the American worker. 

Here are seven critical areas modern janitorial and facility management staffs have a direct effect on, if not total responsibility for, in your built environment:

IMAGE - Occupancy rates of office buildings with the best images are highest and at the highest lease rates. School children are proven to perform better in a clean, organized environment. Restaurants and retail stores with the cleanest appearances impress customers the most. Custodians are responsible for much of your image, the critical business "X-factor."

SAFETY - From slip and fall risks at the front door, with tens of thousands of dollars at stake, to maintenance of HVAC healthiness, the safety of occupants in your building is managed daily by your janitorial staff.

HEALTH - From hospitals to schools to the Main Street office, there is no longer any doubt cleanliness on a microscopic level has a great return on investment. Everything from influenza to asthma is affected by how the facility maintenance staff in your building addresses germs and allergens, the places where they congregate and stopping their transport between occupants.

ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP - Name one person in your building who handles more chemistry and water than the custodian? Unless you are a manufacturer, there is probably no one. When trained and equipped with water-saving methodologies - one of the most urgent issues of the coming decades - minimization of chemical use, and extension of time between required restorative cycles,  your custodial staff has a major impact on your environmental footprint.

PROFITABILITY - Not only is the building maintenance budget a large item by itself, 95% of which goes into people, but custodial staffs care for capital machinery and costly building items with lifespans dependent upon their care. Staffs trained in extension of carpet life, expansion of cycles between floor restorations, keeping dirt outside the building and attuned to reducing occupant complaints can reduce operating costs while simultaneously improving income.

SATISFACTION - People spend more time in and buy more in stores they consider pleasant and clean. Work ticket costs are lowest in buildings where custodial staffs understand complaint-preventive methods. Employees find daytime custodial methods more satisfactory, when done right, than work performed at night they have no insight into. Leased space leases higher where environmentally sound cleaning methods are employed and kept up to date. Clean restrooms in restaurants and stores tell customers what they want to know about the quality of food preparation and management where they cannot see. Janitors directly control the results in all of these areas every day.

Train and reward your facility management staff as the highly important persons that they are, and they can perform as men and women of steel for your organization's bottom line.