Stephen Ashkin

Green Cleaning: Sun Shine

Evaluating your school’s summertime cleaning efforts.

Every summer, schools and universities undertake deep cleaning, repair, maintenance and training while most students have an extended break.

Education institutions should carry out this work every summer. They should establish a specific method to ensure that summertime cleaning activity continually improves. Thus, this is the time to evaluate how effectively the time is being spent and identify opportunities for improvements.

Some of the key issues to explore to improve efforts in succeeding years:

  • Products. Did all products perform adequately? Did products meet state mandates or sustainability objectives for using green cleaning products? Should any new technologies or products be considered for purchase throughout the school year or for next year’s program? What feedback does staff have about how products performed? Should the purchasing department incorporate any new requirements for next year?
  • Suppliers. Did the suppliers meet needs and expectations? Were supplies delivered on time and complete, or were there delays and back orders? If there were emergency requests for products, did suppliers respond in a timely manner? Were suppliers knowledgeable about the products? Did they offer informed recommendations about alternatives? Is there any experience, positive or negative, that should be shared with the purchasing department?
  • Processes. Were the cleaning processes effective? What worked well? What could be improved? Were the people and teams well organized? Did the processes reduce energy and water use? Did they reduce waste? Do supervisors and staff have recommendations that could improve processes?
  • Training. Did the training meet the needs? Was enough time spent on training? Was an adequate amount of time spent on improving skills versus compliance? Was the amount of classroom and hands-on training sufficient? Was it appropriate for the skill level of those being trained? Do supervisors and staff have feedback about the trainers? Should the trainers be invited back or new ones brought in?
  • Personnel. How did the supervisors and staff perform? Did they just do the minimum that was expected or did any of them excel? Did any stand out as candidates for increased responsibility? What feedback do supervisors and staff have about their colleagues? Were any people given responsibilities that did not align with their skills? How could things be done better next year? Should any information be discussed with human resources?
  • Facilities. Are there any situations that need to be addressed differently next year? Were there any areas connected renovation, construction, repurposing, or other changes such as fluctuating enrollment or funding that may affect next year’s cleaning program? If so, how will this affect purchasing, suppliers, cleaning and maintenance processes, training, personnel and other issues related to summertime projects?
  • Promotion. With a new school year set to begin, has consideration been given to informing students and staff about the work that the facilities and custodial team has undertaken to make the facilities cleaner, greener, safer and more healthful?
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