by Michael Slawson — July/August issue of “Cleaning & Maintenance Magazine”
In the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, one thing is clear: hygiene is king. And there seems to be little debate that today’s daunting demand for heightened hygiene will remain long after the pandemic itself has waned.
For businesses, that means the ability to improve hygiene and protect the health and wellbeing of facility occupants is critical to their survival. This puts a great deal of pressure on facility managers and building service contractors (BSCs), who must identify cleaning and maintenance solutions that will lead to success. Fortunately, advanced smart restroom technologies are available that leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) to create data-driven facility management solutions. Some of these solutions monitor, analyze, and measure information that directly impacts hygiene—and a great deal more.
Following are five timely benefits of smart restroom solutions that can help facilities survive and succeed.
1. Heightened hygiene
Smart restroom solutions help improve hygiene for both restroom users and custodians. By monitoring supply levels and alerting custodians when levels are low, smart technologies help ensure soap, sanitizer, and towel dispensers are adequately stocked so users can properly wash, dry, and sanitize their hands. And custodians can spend more time cleaning and sanitizing additional spaces because they aren’t constantly running in and out of restrooms to check supply levels. By ensuring touchpoints like doorknobs, faucet handles, and toilet paper dispensers are cleaned and sanitized regularly, smart solutions help reduce the number of germs on surfaces and protect restroom patrons. By guiding custodians to refill and sanitize only when necessary, these workers come in contact with fewer touchpoints, lessening their own exposure to germs.
2. Improved sustainability
Over the past two decades, information has become readily available about the harmful effects of a wide range of products on the environment while, simultaneously, concern has grown about the depletion of the Earth’s natural resources. In response, many facilities have gone to great lengths to implement sustainable business practices. Smart restroom solutions can help facilities improve hygiene while simultaneously advancing sustainability. By implementing technology that alerts custodians to refill dispensers only when needed, facilities reduce product waste. And by monitoring flush valves and faucets to help ensure these fixtures are operating optimally, facilities reduce their water usage.
3. Enhanced user experience
Imagine a restroom with adequately stocked soap, sanitizer, toilet tissue, and paper towels; fully functioning sinks, toilets and urinals; and clean and sanitized counters, handles, and floors. Such a clean, well-maintained, fully functioning restroom is critical to a positive user experience, and smart restroom solutions can help deliver that positive experience every time. Solutions with sensors and monitoring capabilities maintain a proper balance between product supply and demand so users don’t experience outages. They also help facilities quickly address water leaks, clogs, and faulty flush valves so restroom disruptions are minimized. Technologies that collect customer feedback and determine patron satisfaction levels help facility mangers determine if the restroom is performing as it should be and can quickly alert custodians of an issue. Together, these smart systems can provide a healthier and elevated user experience.
4. Reduced staff burnout
It’s quite likely that facility staff are feeling a bit burned out right now. Since news of the coronavirus pandemic first broke, facility managers, BSCs, and custodians have been investing an inordinate amount of time and effort to keep facilities clean and safe. Some may be manually creating and updating cleaning and sanitizing checklists and keeping close tabs on cleaning staff to ensure tasks are completed. Others have seen their to-do list grow exponentially as they are cleaning more surfaces and doing so more frequently. The mental and physical toll is extreme. Smart restroom solutions, though, allow for smart cleaning. Checklists and task alerts are automated, performance is monitored, and results are measured, saving time, energy, and effort for all involved.
5. Elevated confidence
Smart solutions take a wide array of cleaning, sanitizing, and maintenance tasks and create a systematic and methodical approach to organizing, performing, monitoring, and measuring them. This streamlined, automated approach ensures everyone involved in facility maintenance has a clear understanding of tasks and expectations. As cleaning and maintenance tasks are completed, they can be monitored and measured in real time. As a result, facility managers can be confident in the quality of work performed and, as a result, that the health and wellbeing of building occupants is protected.
About the author
Michael Slawson is vice president and general manager, Smart Restrooms and Connected Devices for GP PRO, a division of Georgia-Pacific and a leading provider of advanced dispensing solutions for commercial facilities. To learn more about GP PRO, visit www.gppro.com.
CMM is designed for professionals involved in the cleaning and upkeep of healthcare, education, government, commercial, and other types of facilities. CMM is owned by ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association.