Whether we’re ready or not, winter is just around the corner.
For those of us not lucky enough to live in Cancun or Key West, there’s a pretty good chance we’ll be dealing with our fair share of frigid temperatures, icy walkways, snow, and of course, those Coca-Cola polar bear commercials (although, this one is a classic).
When it comes to the winter months, we forget to be proactive. And therein lies the problem.
We have fire escape plans and tornado shelters, but nothing for cold weather. By not prepping our facilities for whenever Elsa decides to turn up that big A/C unit in the sky, we are risking everything from mucked up floors to viral outbreaks and more.
Luckily, there are things we can do now to ease the pain and make those cold months a little more bearable. Here’s a winter maintenance checklist to keep you warm and safe:
1. HVAC Cleaning
That furnace of yours has sat dormant for months, and now it’s time to turn that puppy on. But did you know that, over extended periods of time, HVAC systems will collect dust, pathogens, allergens, and all sorts of contaminants that can inhibit proper air circulation and poorly affect your indoor air quality (in fact, here’s an entire blog we wrote about indoor air quality and the dangers of allergens)?
You can circumvent any heating issues and help your employees breathe a little easier by doing maintenance prior to the winter months, when it’s necessary to crank up the temp.
Take the time to clean out your ductwork, registers and air returns, as well as clean and replace all the filters as needed. You can also clean any ceiling vents or fans that might be collecting a generous layer of dust.
By including HVAC maintenance in your winter checklist, you can proactively combat winter illnesses as well as ensure your furnace is in tip-top shape.
When walkways and floors are not properly prepared for the cold weather months, you are putting your facility and employees at risk. Simply put: ice, salt, snow, and grime wreak havoc on your floors.
All of the wintry things that can get tracked through your facility can cause irreparable harm to polished, waxed, and carpeted surfaces as well as become a significant safety hazard to foot traffic.
You can prepare for these dangerous conditions by investing in more walk-off mats for both the interior and exterior of your building. Salt is a great solution for sidewalks and entryways, but also consider using cat litter. Salt can be corrosive to cement sidewalks and ramps as well as your floors when it’s tracked inside. Cat litter is a way to provide traction for your guests while preserving the integrity of your facility’s floor.
Also, try using a neutralizing chemical (like Nutra-Rinse) to eliminate salt build-up and increase the effectiveness of your mopping efforts.
During your winter maintenance schedule, don’t forget to instruct your cleaning teams to increase their frequency of vacuuming and mopping to protect your floors. By focusing your cleaning efforts on these areas, you are preserving the lifespan of your floors whether they be carpet, vinyl, tile, or laminate.
3. Deep Clean
It’s no mystery that sickness runs rampant in the colder months. Sickness means a loss of productivity for a facility. Output suffers greatly when a viral or bacterial outbreak occurs.
Instead of waiting for an outbreak to hit your building, you can cue up your Rocky training montage, and prepare yourself for a fight.
Get in front of sickness with a seasonal maintenance chronogram of deeper, more detailed cleans. Either with your team or cleaning service provider. In fact, most service providers can enact a terminal clean process, which is found in hospitals, operating rooms, and other environments where sterilization is a priority.
You can also attack sickness by concentrating on touchpoints, such as door knobs and desks, and high-traffic areas like restrooms and open area workstations (we’re looking at you, cubicles!).
Many companies are beginning to understand the importance of preventative measures when it comes to healthcare. It isn’t uncommon for an employer to offer free flu shots, health assessments and other proactive health measures.
An outbreak amongst your teams can be a devastating blow to productivity but, through scheduled deep cleans and a health-first mindset, you can take control of the situation and reap the benefits of healthier and happier employees.
Game of Thrones got it right: winter is coming. Whether we like it or not.
The colder months can bring allergies, sickness, operational issues, salt, ice, and a host of other problems.
We can either react to the incoming issues and risk the health and productivity of our employees. Or we can become proactive and prepare our facilities for a fight against allergens, bacteria and viruses with a special maintenance plan for the winter.
Luckily, you are in control. Increase your awareness and take intentional steps to prepare your facility for any issues the cold weather may bring.
Winter shouldn’t be an excuse for poor planning, it should only be a reason to drink more coffee.