Creating a Facility Maintenance Program

A few short and sweet reminders by Betco

Developing a comprehensive approach to facility maintenance is not always an easy task to accomplish. While there are many best practices for creating a facility maintenance program, the path to finding and implementing a plan that meets the specific needs of your facility can be challenging. With efficiency as a common end goal, facilities are searching for ways to optimize opportunities without increasing costs. Here are some dos and don’ts to help you develop a maintenance plan that fits your facility.


  • Expect to Inspect. There is always room for improvement. Pay attention to the areas in which your facility maintenance program could become better. By determining what changes need to be made, you could increase efficiency and reduce expenses.
  • Calculate Costs. Assess the specific needs in your facility and develop a plan to convert to more innovative, cost effective solutions. When evaluating your current expenses and researching other options, you’ll feel more empowered to make a decision in your maintenance program and potentially get more bang for your buck.
  • Outline Opportunities. Building an effective facility maintenance program requires weighing the pros and cons. Presenting various options and showcasing the advantages of a proposed program will help you establish a customized plan for your facility.


  • Rely on the Bare Minimum. You shouldn’t have to settle when it comes to the cleanliness of your facility. While your current maintenance program may be sufficient, there is always an opportunity to enhance it. When you analyze your program, you may discover new ways to achieve a higher level of clean.
  • Guesstimate. There’s no need to play the guessing game with your facility maintenance program. Many modern tools are available to you for free online to assist you in planning and executing the very best solution strategies.
  • Short-Change on Change. Every facility is unique and requires solutions customized to their specific needs. While modeling your maintenance plan off of another facility’s may be easy and effective, make sure you take the time to evaluate what’s best for your facility. Building an exclusive plan may present you with various new opportunities.


Written By: Ryan Greenawald of Diversey

Schools see a lot of foot traffic throughout the year, which can negatively impact the look of floors if they are not properly maintained. Although foot traffic significantly subsides in the summer, students, teachers, key personnel and even community members may be utilizing various school spaces for summer courses, planning meetings, sports team practices, club gatherings and community events.

To keep flooring assets protected year round, it’s important for custodians and facility managers to consider the following best practices:

4 Ways Using The Wrong Cleaning Product Can Damage Your Business

Written by: EnvirOx

Whether you’re choosing a cleaning product for your own facility, or you’re a cleaning professional deciding on what product to use with your clients, it’s one of the most critical decisions you can make. If your floors are sticky, dirty, or slippery, then it means your cleaning product is leaving behind too much residue. These issues are more than just cosmetic or minor annoyances, however. They can have a real, negative impact on a business. Here are four problems that can result from residue left behind by the wrong cleaning product: 

4 Facilities Questions Answered

Recently, some of our customers had a chance to ask Staples Business Advantage expert Neal Duffy, Senior Manager, Facility Solutions, some of the trickier facilities and cleaning questions that arose in the office. Air freshener giving you a headache? Are you adequately protected against the flu? Neal has great advice and answers.

Dueling Disinfectants

When it comes to keeping the office clean, preferences come into play a lot, from the cleaning crew to the building occupants, about everything from color to scent. How do you balance these preferences? Is there a way to be sustainable while doing it?

Neal: People have been conditioned that fragrance and color are needed to clean. Who wants to use a clear glass cleaner? It needs to be dark blue, right? And when people seek to mask or cover up odors in target areas like bathrooms and breakrooms, the air fresheners or fragrances can actually be more offensive. Here are a few things that might help:

  • Talk to the person who sets the cleaning specs for your area and talk to them about people-friendly products that don’t just mask odors. Clean” should not have a smell.
  • Encourage the sourcing and use of more environmentally friendly products. Most suppliers offer these now, as more consumers are conscious of the negatives that come along with heavily fragranced or dyed products. Staples has our own line called Sustainable Earth by Staples, formulated using effective ingredients that are also people-friendly.
  • Communicate to leadership and facilities management if and when someone’s sensitive or allergic to certain products so the use of those can be avoided.

Avoiding an Outbreak

Do you have any tips on how employees can clean or disinfect things themselves? We have a cleaning service, but they only come in once a week, and when one person gets sick, it always spreads through the office.

Neal: No matter how good your cleaning service is, there are daily use surfaces like breakroom appliances, faucets, doorknobs, etc. that are breeding grounds for germs and may require more frequent cleaning—daily or even multiple times a day. Here are some good places to start:

  • Wash your hands, wash your hands and wash your hands—frequently and thoroughly.
  • If you can’t get to a sink to wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Practice common sense. If it’s peak flu season or your colleagues are sick, take extra precautions like using a tissue or paper towel to open the door, or using a knuckle to press buttons. It may sound silly, but the fewer germs you allow to enter your body, the smaller your chance of getting sick.

Green & Clean

I’m looking for recommendations to pass along to our cleaning crew for products that are mostly natural and have fewer chemicals. What would you recommend?

There are many environmentally friendly and people-friendly products on the market to choose from these days. It’s key to look for third party green certifications such as Green Seal, EPA Safer Choice and EcoLogo. These certifications can help to distinguish the more sustainable products from those with harsher chemicals and dyes.

Saying Thanks (one of our favorite questions!)

I’m not involved in facilities management at my office. What can I do to better show that I appreciate the staff that keeps our office healthy and clean?

Neal: Keeping an office clean is not only a big challenge, but it’s also extremely important to the health, safety and satisfaction of everyone in the office. Some things you might consider doing to help show your appreciation:

  • Holidays of appreciation: There are several that fit, including National Custodial Workers Recognition Day (October 2) and World FM Day (usually in May), but you can also designate a day in your office to do something simple, like a sign and cookies or snacks for your cleaning crew.
  • Communication: Setting up a notebook for your office to communicate needs, concerns or thanks, especially for an after-hours crew, can help them better understand your needs and deliver better results, avoiding escalation.
  • A simple “thanks”: Just saying “thank you” on a regular basis can let your facilities staff know they are appreciated and it goes a long way in making their job easier.

Provided by Staples Business Advantage, February 17, 2017

The Devil is in the Details

My name is Aaron Bailey. I’ve spent the past two years observing and asking questions to my company’s clients, prospective clients, independent service providers, and experts in the industry, (trade organizations, chemical company representatives, and other building service contractors). I’ve been looking for trends in technology, chemicals & distribution, service delivery and generally what makes customers happy overall. What I discovered (in addition to the fact that there are some great people in the facility maintenance industry) are a few commonalities that center around four main topics: Communication, transparency, value, and quality. In the first of a four-part series, I will explore the topic of quality.

Although quality is listed lastly above, it’s almost always the number one topic among facility managers and corporate facilities team members. Let’s face it – particularly in the retail segment, these are the most competitive times in history. It’s no secret that internet companies are experiencing explosive growth year over year while actual in-store purchases are flat or declining. The internet has many competitive advantages, especially when it comes to the physical characteristics of a store. The internet company does not have to worry about dirty floors or messy bathrooms, gum spots on sidewalks, dust on fixtures or unclean windows. No light bulbs to replace, no slip and fall accidents waiting to happen…you get the point. Not only are retailers facing internet competition, but also fierce competition between themselves all fighting for what remains of customers who physically visit their stores. Advertising costs are through the roof, labor costs are rising (minimum wage went up by varying degrees in nineteen different states on January 1, 2017) and customer experience has become more important than ever.

With all this in mind, it is baffling to me that the first line-item to be cut or decreased from a corporate financial sheet is the janitorial budget. With so much riding on brand identity and awareness, why would anyone cut this spend? In a study performed by M/A/R/C Research and National In-Store, 14 percent of consumers polled said they would stop visiting a store that was not as clean as they liked. Obviously, this has a direct impact on the amount of spending a retailer can capture. This applies not only to retail, but to restaurants, early childhood education, higher education and office buildings. Basically, any entity competing for a customer of any kind!

Quality is defined as “the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something.” Is quality subjective, or can facility managers quantifiably measure the quality of cleanliness in their facilities? Sure, it’s easy to measure the shine of a floor with a gloss meter. It’s also easy to measure the cleanliness of a floor by measuring the number of bacteria with an ATP meter. However, there are many aspects of a “quality cleaning” that indeed are subjective. As an example, let’s pretend two different inspections take place at the same facility by two different representatives. Representative 1 – let’s call him Joe, walks the sales floor and observes a clear, consistent shine on the hard-floors and very little debris on the carpeted areas. He then runs his fingers along several shelves / displays and finds no dust. The windows are not streaky and look relatively clean, as do the walk-off mats in the vestibule. He gives a B+ grade to the store because hey, let’s face it there is always room for improvement! Representative 2 – Jane, performs the same inspection in the same area and finds mostly the same quality. However, Jane goes a step further and climbs a ladder to check the cleanliness of the intake vents and finds high-levels of built-up dust. She also goes around the interior perimeter of the facility and inspects the tops of the baseboards and all inside corners, thus she finds more dust! Jane gives the store a C grade due to these facts. Did anything change other than the expectation differences between inspectors?

Written by Aaron Bailey

VP of Sales

Getting a Little Festive

Office Best Practices: HAVE FUN.
For Halloween this past Monday a few of the NJS employees got a little festive.
Is it considered work if you look this good?

Click the post to see their costumes!

Why is Green Cleaning Important?

This post is provided by Betco

Green Cleaning means more than using “green” products. The success of a green cleaning program is dependent on numerous factors. While the selection of sustainable products is important, it will have little effect in the case of an inadequate cleaning regimen that leaves facilities dirty and the health of occupants, visitors and the environment at risk. A comprehensive green cleaning program should include sustainable options for chemicals, procedures, equipment, paper, liners, mops and matting.

The movement toward green cleaning does not imply that traditional methods are inadequate or have created unsafe conditions. Instead, it can be viewed as simply taking the next step beyond current approaches to further reduce impacts on the environment while continuing to maintain and improve the health, comfort and aesthetics of our surroundings.

Sustainable solutions minimize the impact of cleaning on people and the environment. More importantly, it is a process to protect natural resources for the future – not a single product alone. In articles and discussions about green cleaning, you will typically read or hear themes about the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit.

People – pertains to fair and beneficial business practices toward labor and the community and region in which a corporation conducts its business.

Planet – refers to sustainable environmental practices. This practice entails reducing the ecological footprint by carefully managing consumption of energy, non-renewables and reducing waste as well as rendering waste less toxic before disposing of it in a safe and legal manner.

Profit – is the economic value created by an organization after deducting the cost of all inputs, including the cost of capital.

The cleaners used by the custodial staff have an impact on the residents and staff at Long Term Care facilities. By switching to safer chemistries, without sacrificing performance, residents and staff can perform in a safer environment and will reduce the spread of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI).

How do you know if a product is truly green? We know that green cleaning creates healthier environments.  However, to make sure that you are green cleaning you need to look for some type of third party certification endorsements from Green Seal, EcoLogo, Design for the Environment or BioPreferred.  These third party certifiers review a manufacturer’s product to make sure that it adheres to strict requirements based on the effects to the environment.

Note: The facility janitorial staffs contribute as much to the well-being of patients as the medical staff.  Keeping linens clean and reducing clutter helps improve the indoor environment and is conducive to healthy residents and staff.


8 Ways to Improve Office Air Quality

Take a deep breath. Notice anything? If you don’t, that could be a very good thing: indoor air quality, or IAQ, often only attracts notice when something’s wrong. But there are times when poor IAQ can go unnoticed, leading to headaches, congestion, nasal and throat irritation, and more—and it can even impact productivity. According to the World Green Building Council, IAQ can impact productivity by as much as 11%!  So how can the average business protect itself and maintain good IAQ? Here are a few easy ways—and the best part is, most of the efforts you take to improve your IAQ will also bring added benefits to your building and its occupants!

  • Maintain your air filters and your HVAC systems – this also ensures smooth operation and cuts down on energy costs incurred by poor maintenance and air flow!
  • Clean your building regularly to eliminate bacteria, dust and other pollutants. Not only does this improve IAQ, but also helps cut down on productivity drains like hay fever and influenza.
  • Protect your entryways and floors with proper matting systems that help trap soils and particles. Your lungs will thank you, and you’ll spend less time and money cleaning and refinishing your flooring!
  • Invest in (and maintain) quality vacuum systems for your facilities, including HEPA filtration technology. Backpack versions of these vacuums are also more efficient and safer for your employees to use.
  • Switch to microfiber dust mops and cloths that trap more soil and that are cleaned through thorough vacuuming and washing. Microfiber products can also cut down on the use of disposable alternatives, reducing your environmental footprint.
  • Choose cleaning chemicals that are low in volatile organic compounds. These chemicals are safer for your workers and can also provide you with the opportunity to streamline your cleaning supplies for more labor savings.
  • Plan your space around airflow, ensuring good ventilation and utilizing furniture and fixtures that are easy to clean. Thoughtful design can also boost productivity and employee morale!
  • Keep up to date with new guidelines issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. You should also work with vendors and suppliers who can work with you collaboratively to stay in step with the latest trends and regulations.

“8 Ways to Improve Office Air Quality.” 8 Ways to Improve Office Air Quality. N.p., Staples Business Advantage, 28 Sept. 2016. Web. 5 Oct. 2016.

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