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Healthy & Happy Employees Need a Clean Work-Space

Employee morale sagging? They may love their job, but on those bad days, a bright and clean work-space can help lift their moods and keep them productive. Working in a clean, healthy environment can have a major impact on how people feel. (I know I love coming home after my housekeeper has visited. That clean smell that hits my nose when I walk in the door perks me right up.) In a dingy or cluttered work-space, frustrations can mount more quickly and bad days and problems seem to only get worse.

While your employees may be more concerned about pay raises, benefits and vacation time, one of the top issues affecting their overall performance is the state of the office environment. In fact, as study done by Harvard and Syracuse Universities ( https://phys.org/news/2017-05-air-quality-productivity.html )  shows that if you improve air quality at work, you’ll improve productivity too. It’s one of those things you don’t think about until it becomes a problem.

It goes beyond your employee’s moods, and can save your business money.

Going too long without a good cleaning can put the health of your employees at risk. A clean work-space improves air quality and reduces the spread of germs and bacteria. That cuts down on sick days and absenteeism. When your workers are healthy, they’ll have more energy and feel more creative, resulting in improved performance and a boost in business. Who doesn’t want that!?!?

A clean work-space benefits your customer service as well. A well-maintained and clean work-space will make your customers feel confident entering your business and working with you. A bright, clean, airy space is like putting out a welcome mat for your clientele and it demonstrates your professionalism and attention to detail.

The bottom line is that you want people, customers and employees, to feel good about your work. If you don’t have the internal resources to clean and maintain your work environment as well as you’d like, a commercial cleaning company such as Townsend & Styer Maintenance can help you put together a regular and affordable cleaning and maintenance schedule. Townsend & Styer Maintenance provides cleaning services for commercial, industrial and institutional work-spaces. Give us a call 510-597-7900 today for a free estimate.

 

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6 Surfaces Swarming With Germs

  1. Money

It’s cringe-inducing to wonder who last handled your cash or coins. A sick drugstore customer buying medicine? A child sticking the quarter in his mouth? A person traveling straight from the bathroom stall to the vending machine without stopping at the sink? New York University researchers found in 2014 that a dollar bill carries about 3,000 different types of bacteria, so wash your hands after shopping.

  1. Towels

Washing your hands is a great step in preventing illness, but where you dry them must be clean, too. University of Arizona researchers found in 2014 that 89% of kitchen towels contained coliform bacteria, and 25% contained E. coli, which gets introduced to kitchens by uncooked meat. After each use, machine wash towels using warm water for colored towels and hot water for white ones.

  1. Door Knobs/Door Handles

Doors get us from point A to point B, and they open our microwaves, ovens and refrigerators. But in 2014, University of Arizona researchers found that one germ-infested doorknob could spread a virus to 40-60% of a workplace staff within two to four hours. Microbiology professor Charles Gerba said people can stop the spread anywhere with a simple item: Disinfecting wipes. In the studies, the wipes alone reduced occurrences of the virus by 80%.

  1. Electronic Devices

Phones, tablets, TV remotes and gaming controllers all spend hours in our hands, and they’re germy. We pass around TV remotes and video game controllers while stuffing our mouths with food. And our cell phones, which follow us everywhere, contain 18 times more than the amount of germs you’ll find on a toilet handle. Debate continues on how to clean a phone or tablet without harming the screen, but the New York Times offers ideas you may try at your own risk.

  1. Light Switches

We finish touching our light switches after a quick flick, but nonetheless, they’re communal locations that everyone lays hands upon. Studies show light switches can have as many germs as a trash can. Run a disinfecting wipe across the light switch to eliminate the germs living there.

  1. Washing Machines

We’ll save you the stomach-turning specifics, but just know that underwear introduces bacteria to the washing machine. And when wet laundry sits in there after the cycle, the bacteria invades, according to ABC News. Use hot water (140-150°F) or bleach to wash your clothing when possible. When it’s not laundry day, run a wash cycle with bleach and no clothing to rinse your washer. Always wash your hands after handling laundry.

 

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Allowing Dogs in the Office

Do you allow dogs in the office?

It is becoming a more popular practice. Personally, my Ava Louise comes to work with me every day. She takes her job seriously. That patch of sunshine isn’t going to nap alone.  And everyone that walks in to the office gets stopped for kisses and belly rubs.

Ruff day

There are pros and cons to allowing pets in the workplace.
*Helps reduce stress levels
*Encourages getting up and away from computer
*Encourages midday walks = more exercise = healthier employees
*Happy employees = productive employees (unless games of fetch get a little rowdy)
*Employees can work later because they don’t have to run home to the dog
*It is also financial benefit for the employees: It eliminates Pet Care Costs
Allowing owners to bring their pets to work also provides a significant financial benefit—it eliminates the additional costs of doggie daycare or dog walking services for employees who work long hours or commute a significant distance from their home each day. 
Daycare or walking services can be quite costly, so this can be an excellent perk for a pet owning employee.
*Customers and Clients like being greeted by a wagging tail
*Promotes Positive Interactions
A pet-friendly workplace tends to increase employee satisfaction and to improve morale.  Pets are also a point of common interest that can help to promote an atmosphere of teamwork and communication.

Pitfalls:
Allergies and messes – 

Dog-friendly workplaces can cause a serious medical problem for employees who are allergic. For most, the allergy resides in the pet’s dander, which is secreted through the dog’s saliva, skin, and hair. Dander can travel through the air, so an allergic employee can be exposed even if he or she tries to maintain a distance from the pooch. Vacuuming regularly, which is often offered as a solution, may help some, but it is probably not a cure-all.

That’s where we come in.

Professional janitors have the tool to handle any dirt (or muddy paws) you throw at them. HEPA filters are your friend (see https://www.tsmaintenance.com/hepa-filters-often-change ).
If you allow pets in the office, then your cleaning team needs to be detail vacuuming on every visit. And that’s just for the dander… Accidents happen and spot cleaning doesn’t always get the job done. The dog will likely do his/her business on the floor at some point,
so have cleaning supplies (spray cleaner and paper towels) available. Then, call your janitorial company and give them a head’s up to bring the spot bot with them on their next visit. Mark the area with a note and give that dog a written warning from HR.

Obviously there are a lot of things to consider, when considering a dog-friendly workplace. Don’t let fear of dirt and hair be one of them; Hire a professional cleaning company, Good dog!

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Is Clutter Killing Your Productivity?

Does your work space need some serious de-cluttering?  If you are always thinking, “I just don’t have time to get organized”? Well, this might spark you to make the time: In a survey by OfficeMax and the National Association of Professional Organizers, 82 percent of workers said that being organized improves their performance. (But hey, don’t feel bad — almost a third also fessed up to keeping a disorganized workspace.)

And if bettering your productivity isn’t enough to motivate you to declutter your cubicle, how about this: Writing on Forbes.com, Jenna Goudreau tells us, “According to a survey of over 1000 workers by staffing firm Adecco, a majority of Americans (57 percent) admit they judge coworkers by how clean or dirty they keep their workspaces. Meanwhile, nearly half say they have been ‘appalled’ by how messy a colleague’s office is, and most chalk it up to laziness.”

Now we’re sure you don’t want to be billed “lazy” by your coworkers; so here are a few tips for banishing clutter and chaos:

1) Go digital. Do you really need to print out all those sales reports or meeting notes? By cutting down on printing, or printing double-sided when you absolutely need a hard copy, you’ll reduce those piles of paper that invariably collect on your desk. You’ll save a few trees to boot.

2) Make time. Take a few minutes at the end of the day to dispose of food containers and coffee cups (or wash reusable ones), sort paperwork and gather personal items to take home.

3) Adopt a once-a-week routine. If you’ve reduced the clutter, you’ll have an easier time keeping dirt and dust at bay. Use earth-friendly wipes to clean your phone, keyboard and mouse, and other items you use a lot. And don’t forget your monitor; a soft microfiber cloth is best.

Following these tips will make it easier for your janitors to vacuum and dust around your cubicle, and who knows, a little of your sparkle might inspire your coworkers to tackle their own clutter.

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Who is T&S Maintenance and What Do We Do?

Townsend & Styer Maintenance was founded in 2001 by Matthew Townsend and Jeremy Styer.  The two principals decided that they could provide better service through state-of-the-art products, stellar customer service and the ability to adapt to each individual client’s needs.  From restaurants and bars to schools, gymnasiums and Class A office space, Townsend & Styer Maintenance develops customized service plans and strives to exceed all client expectations. We have two locations serving the greater Bay Area.  

Pricing & Supplier Strategy:
Pricing Methodology – T&S Maintenance customizes each individual proposal based on a number of variables including type of facility, density, frequency of service, type of business and hours of operation.

T&S Maintenance will provide all cleaning materials and we ask that the client provide all paper products, hand soaps and trash liners.  Additionally, T&S Maintenance can manage your supply inventory thru a third-party vendor.

Communication Process:
T&S Maintenance prefers that all communication comes through our central office for proper tracking and resolution.

Account Management & Quality Control:
Each account has it’s own on-site supervisor to ensure overall quality control. Quality Controls Used:

  • On-site Janitorial Supervisor
  • Account Representative
  • Internal Quality Control Manager
  • Communication Logs
  • QC Questionnaire
  • 24-hour access to voicemail and email

Supplementary Services Offered:
We are strictly a full service janitorial maintenance firm.

We do not distribute janitorial supplies.  We contract with a third party vendor.

Yes, we can provide proof of liability insurance and worker’s compensations.

As a small local janitorial company, we find that we offer our clients unparalleled customer service, which allows us to nurture long-term relationships with our clients.

T&S Maintenance strives to provide each and every client with the latest cleaning services and products.  We offer a full line of “Green” cleaning products and will adhere to each client’s recycling and/or composting policies.

Would you like to find out more about us?  Give us a call to discuss your facility needs and schedule a free, no obligation site visit.

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Lighting Up Dust

There is nothing better than being in the Bay Area in October.  The clear autumn days offer the perfect combination of sunshine and warmth and the mid-afternoon sunlight shining in the windows reminds me why I love living here.  Unfortunately, that same sunlight also reminds me of the amount of dust that is constantly surrounding us. 

You know the image: you glance up from your desk; the sunlight is shining through the window at just the right angle to display the millions of tiny particles floating peacefully through the air.  They are everywhere.  And they are unavoidable.

According to Wikipedia, one-third of the global land area is covered by dust-producing surfaces.  Dust particles found in home and office environments could contain small amounts of almost anything including plant pollen, animal dander, textile fibers, mold spores, bacteria, food particles, minerals from outdoor soil, human skin cells and even the remains of burnt meteors.

For the most part, the dust particles we see in the air are harmless.  However, those tiny microscopic particles are a primary cause of many allergies, hay fever and asthma.

Getting rid of airborne particles is nearly impossible.  But there are a few ways to limit the accumulation and movement of those particles:

  • Clean and dust regularly.  Use a wet cloth or microfiber cloth to capture dust.
  • If your work area is carpeted, it should be vacuumed at least 2 times per week.  Ensure HEPA filters are used in vacuum cleaners.  HEPA filters will trap particles and reduce the amount that is recirculated through the air.
  • Have ventilation systems cleaned.
  • Air filters should be checked and replaced frequently.
  • Open windows to keep fresh air moving through your space.

When you are evaluating a cleaning service or janitorial maintenance company, but sure to ask how they manage dust.  Even though total elimination of dust is impossible, regular cleaning can help reduce the amount of particles in the air.

Then you can go back to gazing out the window and enjoying the sunshine for a few more weeks.

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Summer Allergies – How to alleviate sniffles in the office?

Summer is just around the corner.  April showers gave way to May flowers and they brought with them a wave of summer allergies.  For some, this time of year can be brutally tough.  Here are some ways you can help minimize the effects of the season.

  • Keep air circulating in your area; perhaps use a small personal fan
  • Keep your area well dusted. This is where a good janitorial firm comes in. Using microfiber dust cloths helps to catch dust rather than spreading it around
  • Keep the carpets and upholstery well vacuumed. Again, a good janitorial firm uses triple-filtered HEPA vacuums that trap dust and not leak particulates back into your environment
  • Having the carpets professionally cleaned regularly is a good idea to keep summer allergies at bay
  • Make sure your janitorial firm is cleaning all the building’s air vents monthly
  • Clean the blinds. They are a huge collector of dust and are often overlooked

A few other tips from the EPA on how to help improve air quality in your office:

  • Do not block air vents or grilles
  • Comply with the office and building smoking policy
  • Water and maintain office plants properly. Healthy plants create healthy air
  • Dispose of garbage promptly and properly and keep a lid on it
  • Store food properly
  • Avoid bringing products into the building that could release harmful or bothersome odors or contaminants
  • Notify your building or facility manager immediately if you suspect an indoor air quality problem
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Clean Up Indoor Air with These Four Tips

February is National Care about Your Indoor Air month, which is the perfect time for facility managers and cleaning professionals to take a moment and focus on the importance of improving the indoor air within their facilities. 

Custodial personnel and the type of cleaning processes in place can have a large impact on the quality of indoor air. For example, using vacuums with filtration systems can reduce the dust and debris redistributed into the air from equipment exhaust. Chemicals with low VOCs can minimize what particles linger in the air. And potentially one of the most noticeable factors influencing air quality is odor, so it is important for custodial personnel to deal with odors appropriately.

Here are four tips that will help eliminate problem odors and improve indoor air quality:

Lose the mask
Many products simply mask odors with air fresheners and overusing an ineffective product can make the problem worse. The best way to remove — not mask — odors is to first identify the cause of problem and select cleaning products that can effectively eliminate the odor at its source.

Tackle tough restroom odors
Urine odors present one of the toughest challenges when it comes to maintaining pleasant indoor air and can make an otherwise clean facility seem unappealing and dirty, despite the hard work of cleaning professionals. The effective and lasting solution to eliminating urine odors lies in breaking down uric acid crystals in urine, removing the source of the odor rather than just masking it. Incorporate products that break down the odor-causing urine crystals as a regular part of your cleaning routine.

Don’t forget soft surfaces
Porous damp surfaces, such as grout, host bacteria, which feed on urine and humid conditions or wetting the surface can reactivate the odor. To combat this, look for products that are specially formulated work on hard and soft surfaces such as grout, carpet and mattresses.

Limit the spread of pathogens
Unpleasant odors can signal the presence of harmful microorganisms, such as Shigella, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, E. coli and Norovirus, which are routinely found in restrooms and are associated with outbreaks of illness. Remember to select products that are Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered to kill illness-causing bacteria. Bleach products are especially effective against multi-drug resistant organisms and are compatible with most hard surfaces found in public restrooms.

Prevent cross-contamination in restrooms and elsewhere by focusing on high-touch surfaces and objects such as counter tops, urinals, toilets, door knobs and handles, light switches and faucets.

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Floor Care: Spruce Up For Spring

No matter how good the floor care program, a harsh winter can leave a floor looking drab and discolored upon the first blooms of spring.  After the final rain has come and gone, it is time to address the the wear and tear that winter brings to floors.  

Floors will generally need to be stripped or deep-cleaned to return them to like-new condition. A floor that needs stripping may look dull and its finish may appear uneven, cloudy or hazy. After stripping, the floor will need recoating with a floor finish.

The floor will likely need a deep scrub before applying finish to spruce up tired looking floors. It’s a good time to strip and recoat just to get rid of leftover contaminants that were brought in during the winter.

Whether stripping or just a deep scrub is required is largely determined by how well crews kept up the floor during the winter months.

During the winter you have a couple of options, you can either increase your frequencies in an effort to keep things looking good, or you can take a chance and and work on sprucing it back up in the spring.  Which is the best for you?  In the end it will be will be up to each facility manager or business owner to determine the need based on their individual requirements.

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Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Go Hand in Hand

When you think about a deep cleaning of your office, what do you consider?  Dusting, strip & waxing of floors, machine scrubbing of restroom floors, shampooing and cleaning carpets?  However, upholstery cleaning may not be top of mind.  Have you ever stopped to consider those other germ-filled upholstery items, like cubicle walls, partition dividers or (gasp) your chair?

In the average office, you have sugars, starches, proteins, skin, perspiration, and germs circulating throughout the entire facility and collecting on furniture.  Cubicle walls often hide dust and stains by design, but are among the most neglected areas in an office building.   They are one of the biggest filtering medias that you have in the building.   Cubicles are commonly covered with a layer of woven polyester fabric that can become a collector of dust and other airborne debris.  They also collect stains associated with workers eating and drinking at their desk, from coffee spills to soup splatters.  Each person sheds about a gram and a half of dead skin cells every day.  However, the real concern lies with dust mites, who allergic droppings threaten indoor air quality.

Upholstery cleaning is a must in any building where indoor air quality is a priority (and it should be).  It’s also important to remove invisible stains or damage from foods, beverages, sweat, skin oils and more.

Talk to your janitorial provider about whether they offer upholstery cleaning in addition to the standard carpet extraction.  Hot water extraction provides a thorough, deeper cleaning.  A damp or dry shampoo can be brushed on, agitating the fibers and allowed to dry before being vacuumed away.

It is recommended to most commercial office customer that the cleaning of cubicles, partitions and upholstered furniture should be performed once every 12 to 24 months.  One rule of thumb to remember: “If you can see the soil, you’ve waited too long to get it clean”