For each of the last several years at The Wilburn Company, we’ve taken a moment in December to reflect on the year in review.
As you might expect, this year, that reflection feels a little bit different.
What a crazy 12 months it’s been. Coming into 2020, our expectations for where we’d be at this moment were entirely different. And yet, it’s encouraging to realize that many of the initiatives we’d planned seem almost prescient in retrospect – useful in any year, and maybe even more useful in the midst of a pandemic.
As we’ve written before: A lot has changed, but a lot has stayed the same.
Here’s what’s happened in 2020.
1. We focused on HR.
At the beginning of the year, we hired Diana Franklin as an HR manager to serve the needs of our growing workforce. It seemed like a good idea at the time; looking back, it seems like an even better decision.
Diana has been a huge help to our people this year on a variety of fronts. There has been a ton of changing information – from how to work safely during a pandemic, to how to deal with time off for Covid, to keeping up with fluctuating local policies. It’s been a whirlwind, and that’s on top of normal HR concerns, like hiring, training, and educating people on our employee manual.
Without our expanded HR capacity, our staff and our company would’ve had a far more difficult time staying organized. We’re fortunate to have focused on HR early in 2020 – and we’re grateful for Diana!
2. We improved our technology.
As we’ve noted several times throughout the year, we’ve also made some technology improvements over the course of 2020.
At the end of 2019, we updated our mobile app and workorder system to make service reviews quick and service requests simple. That app has continued to serve us and our clients well this year, especially in a time when in-person, face-to-face communication is more difficult.
Additionally, we implemented a bar-code scanning system for work assignments. Employees simply scan their code and are assigned their cleaning responsibilities for a given time and area; they see their task list and even any special instructions for their work.
This makes assignments easier – and, in the pandemic, it’s made contactless service a reality.
3. We adapted with new teams and relationships.
While we had many of the year’s initiatives in place before the pandemic, many of the specifics changed as we worked through the course of 2020.
One of the more notable adaptations we made was in implementing task teams for Covid-19 disinfection requests. These teams were given special resources – like electrostatic cleaning equipment – and were on call apart from our normal cleaning activities. This allowed us to continue our normal operations while also giving us the capability to respond within hours, not days, to keep people safe.
Another adaptation was in our handling of supply chains. You may have heard: For awhile, there, it was pretty tough to get ahold of things like hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and personal protective equipment. Thankfully, our company was well prepared.
We’d been focusing on supply chain relationships even before the pandemic, so we had a proactive approach to getting the necessary cleaning and protective products for our staff. When things tightened up, we had already planned for more than enough – and, in fact, we were able to help supply our clients with some of the products mentioned above, too.
4. We invested in education.
We always invest in education, because we want to empower our people. This year, of course, education happened in unexpected areas.
That included a training program with Marion Stecklow of The Mercain Group to facilitate education on controlling the spread of the virus. Via a series of in-person and Zoom sessions, our employees were prepared to take the correct sanitization measures and to maintain safe work processes. The crux of cleaning has remained the same, but these sessions helped to provide our people with clarity.
Education also included training on updated standards for disinfecting from our partners at Green Seal. Focus points of these new standards included:
- Creating a cleaning and disinfecting plan. This involves cleaning and disinfecting with increased frequency.
- Ensuring that cleaning personnel are properly trained. This involves both in-person training and the provision of written and recorded resources.
- Maintaining sustainability and healthy indoor air. This is to ensure that enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols to protect against COVID-19 don’t increase exposure to hazardous chemicals for cleaning personnel or building occupants.
- Communicating the cleaning and disinfecting plan. This involves developing and following a communications plan to keep stakeholders apprised of actions being taken about the virus.
- Providing safer working conditions. This involves implementing building-wide policies for occupants and cleaning personnel to practice social distancing and to wear appropriate protective equipment.
These standards are not vastly different from our disinfecting standards entering 2020 – but there is, undeniably, an increased focus on their adherence.
5. We continued cleaning for health.
Looking back, it’s affirming to see that the core of our focus has remained unchanged even in the midst of a crazy year: Cleaning for health is still what matters.
At The Wilburn Company, our philosophy is to clean in ways that make buildings safer and people healthier. Most of the processes and protocols we had in place before 2020 have maintained their effectiveness – and the new initiatives we’ve introduced follow this guiding value, too.
Covid has inarguably changed a lot. But, as we reflect back on 2020, we’re grateful that our core focus has enabled us to deal with the pandemic as effectively as possible.
Ready to move ahead with your cleaning services?
If you have any questions about cleaning services – including about disinfecting, scheduling service to abide by occupancy guidelines, or procedures and protocols – let us know. We’re happy to consult with you.
It’s been a difficult year, but we’re optimistic that there are better times ahead – and no matter what, we’ll be there ready to keep your buildings clean and your people healthy.
We look forward to serving you in 2021 and beyond.