How COVID-19 has put hygiene in the spotlight

Hygiene in the workplace is now top of the agenda. ISS France’s Yanis Lalia reflects on how COVID-19 has changed the service industry, raising the profile of our cleaning professionals. 

Case - France Covid

Across the world, the outbreak of COVID-19 has forced the cleaning industry to adapt faster than ever before, as cleanliness and hygiene are pushed higher up the agenda as a means of controlling the spread of the virus. France is no exception. At ISS France, our cleaning expertise and robust processes have helped ensure our customers – and our people – remain safe.

We caught up with Yanis Lalia, Cleaning Excellence Expert, to discuss the precautions ISS France has put in place to quickly and efficiently respond to the pandemic.

Cleaning on the frontline

As companies slowly begin to allow employees back into their workplaces after months of working from home, there has been a marked focus on implementing cleaning solutions that support healthy buildings. For ISS, this meant introducing a range of processes and precautions to keep their customers and staff safe, applying many years of knowledge from working in healthcare facilities and clean room environments.

“As a company, we had to review all our processes and search for efficient and innovative solutions in light of the pandemic risk,” says Yanis. “This meant adhering and adapting our cleaning protocols to suit the government’s COVID-19 recommendations, while prioritising the health of our customers, employees and the environment.”

“Communication was vital during this period, so we created a dedicated COVID-19 website that was updated in real-time to give all our employees, managers and clients access to ISS recommendations in the management of our services.”

Making workplaces safe again

One of the main focuses for ISS has been to craft workplaces that make the return to work smooth and care-free for employees across the world. At the heart of this approach is a new product, PURE SPACE, that aims to help employees reconnect with their work environments by ensuring a hygienic, safe place to work.

The benefits are two-fold: companies are able to bring employees back to a work environment that meets a higher standard of hygiene, while restoring their employees’ confidence in the safety of the workplace. Instead of simply measuring the level of cleanliness with our eyes, PURE SPACE uses technology to provide visible, scientific proof that a space is clean – thereby offering employees peace of mind.

In addition to this, ISS trained ‘hygiene stewards’ to clean and disinfect workplaces during working hours and encourage employees to follow guidelines on hygiene and social distancing. For example, helping employees limit the spread of germs in reception or canteen areas, or informing them on how to disinfect their mobile phones.

COVID-19 has brought our line of work into the spotlight and it has certainly changed the way our customers perceive our activities. Today, our presence is reassuring.

Yanis Lalia, Cleaning Excellence Expert, ISS France

A reassuring presence

Amidst the upheaval caused by the virus, Yanis asserts it’s the visible signs of cleaning that help restore employees’ confidence in the safety of their workplace.

“Before the pandemic, our cleaning employees worked in the shadows. Often early in the morning or late at night, when the sites were empty. COVID-19 has brought our line of work into the spotlight and it has certainly changed the way our customers perceive our activities. Today, our presence is reassuring,” he says.

For our cleaning professionals on the frontline, this shift in attitude may present a silver lining.

“The importance of cleaning is now firmly on the agenda,” says Yanis. “This will perhaps make it possible to carry out part of our services in the presence of site users, with a significant benefit for our employees on their working hours.”

As for the future of cleaning services, Yanis believes adaptability, and comprehensive training are key.

“Our services will have to adapt to this new reality by reducing the risk of spreading viruses. This means implementing new cleaning protocols, training our staff even more, and supporting and communicating with our customers to reassure them and make them feel confident,” he says.

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