In the context of corporate responsibility, green buildings were initially intended to respond to the need for energy savings and efficiency in the use of resources. Today, green cleaning programs for facility managers mean delivering on many more initiatives for your company, including employee health and team productivity. “Greening” your enterprise is no longer some lofty goal to improve the environment; it’s actually a smart business decision that can boost your bottom line. There are a few key factors that all facility managers should be aware of in order to capture business gains.
How Harsh Conventional Cleaning Products Affect Your Business
There are multiple thousands of chemicals used in conventional cleaning formulas, many of which evaporate into the air when cleaning crews move through a building. They negatively impact indoor air quality, causing irritation to eyes and skin and asthma in vulnerable individuals. Respiratory problems and allergic reactions can result when employees are continuously exposed. Over time, these compounds lead to increases in complaints and sick days, and productivity suffers.
Green Cleaning in a Nutshell
The concept of green cleaning involves selecting products and policies that significantly reduce the harsh effects of facility housekeeping procedures, thereby maintaining a healthy atmosphere. Many resources and tools have been developed in recent years, and one of the most effective is LEED for Existing Buildings, Operations and Maintenance. LEED-EBOM offers a simplified approach to certification by utilizing green cleaning products and tactics. Examples are implementing a hand hygiene program for washing and sanitizing, or purchasing eco-friendly products like recycled paper products.
The Benefits of Green Cleaning
Facility managers must lead the charge to moving away from harsh cleaning products that are harmful for both humans and the environment. Green cleaning programs for facility managers can improve the overall health of your workforce, which has the added bonus of enhancing employee morale. At the same time, these solutions support your organization’s sustainability initiatives and can even increase profits.
Moving away from conventional cleaning products and embracing green solutions have the effect of reducing negative reactions. Employees and building occupants report fewer breathing problems and skin or eye irritations. There are also decreases in employee sick days and fewer complaints of headaches and nausea.
In the bigger scheme of things, green cleaning programs for facility managers can also boost your company’s image. Many consumers are more likely to purchase products or procure services from enterprises that they view as being environmentally responsible and workplace friendly.
Where to Start
Implementing green cleaning programs for facility managers is similar to other company initiatives in the sense that it involves planning and a series of steps. You should start by adopting a protocol that’s in line with your company’s goals, stating the priorities of employee health and safety. Appointing a committee will be helpful in establishing a green cleaning program and assessing its success over time.
Once you have a strong team foundation, it’s time to look at your existing cleaning practices and products. Conduct a comprehensive audit of what’s being used in every sector of the facility in order to determine where you can make changes to improve the health of your workforce.
Before taking the leap and switching out all of the cleaning solvents you’re using, it might be useful to develop a pilot program. You can test different products in certain locations within your facility and figure out what solutions are effective.
Finally, boost morale by rewarding your team for a job well done in implementing a green cleaning program. It’s important that your employees feel like they’re part of the process and involved with decision making.
About Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson is AFFLINK'S Vice President of Marketing and Communications. He has been with the organization since 2005 and provides strategic leadership for the entire supply chain team. In his free time, Michael enjoys working with the Wounded Warrior Project, fishing, and improving his cooking skills.