National Custodian Day: Showing Custodians You Care by Making their Jobs Safer and Easier
Custodians play a vital role in maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene of various facilities, supporting the efforts to keep facilities operational and building occupants healthy. However, their jobs can come with challenges and frustrations that can not only impact the effectiveness of the cleaning task at hand, but also the health and safety of the custodian.
On National Custodian Day, in addition to showing your appreciation, it’s an ideal time to review some of the most common frustrations that custodians may have and consider how you can address those moving forward.
Frustrations Experienced by Custodial Professionals
- Equipment Shortages and/or Outdated/Broken Cleaning Tools: Broken equipment can bring a cleaning job to a halt, while not enough equipment can delay a cleaning task or result in custodial resources not being used efficiently (i.e., time wasted tracking down or waiting for equipment availability).Shortages can also impact cleanliness, working against efforts to prevent cross contamination. Take for example a microfiber mop. If enough mops are not available, a custodian may have to use the same mop to clean a breakroom as they do a bathroom, increasing the spread of germs from one area to another.
What You Can Do: Show your staff you appreciate them by investing in their tools. Investing in adequate cleaning supplies will help support a better working environment while providing safer, quality tools to get the job done.
- Chemical Handling:
Custodians often work with cleaning chemicals and may encounter hazardous materials. Complaints may arise if they feel that safety protocols are not being followed, or if they lack access to personal protective equipment (PPE).
What You Can Do: Standardize chemical brand purchases, establish effective SDS programs and consider commercial cleaning equipment that does not rely on the use of harsh chemicals. Such tools and equipment may include microfiber cloths, microfiber mops and innovative indoor window and surface cleaning kits.
Ensuring custodial safety is not only a regulatory requirement and the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense to have a workplace safety program.
- Heavy Workload:
Custodians often have a demanding workload, especially in large or high-traffic facilities. They may struggle to keep up with cleaning tasks, which can lead to stress and fatigue. If a custodial team is operating with limited staff, that makes it even more difficult to cover all cleaning duties effectively.
What You Can Do: Evaluate commercial cleaning equipment that is designed with speed and efficiency top of mind. For example, when it comes to cleaning indoor windows and tabletop surfaces, the Unger Stingray cleans windows 25% faster than regular cloth cleaning, allowing a custodian to complete the window cleaning task faster and move on to the next task.
- Physical Strain:
Custodial work can be repetitive and physically demanding, leading to complaints about musculoskeletal issues and physical strain.
What You Can Do: Keep telescopic dusters and high-access bulb changers on hand for frequent jobs. By keeping custodians safe on the ground and giving them access to hard-to-reach areas, they can avoid using ladders and/or strenuous moving of furniture to execute a common task.
You can also consider equipment that is ergonomically designed and physically lighter than other product alternatives. For example, comparing cotton mops to microfiber mops, cotton string mops are 80% heavier than microfiber when saturated, increasing the risk of energy when performing repetitive floor mopping.
- Lack of Training and Input
Proper training is essential for custodians to perform their tasks effectively and safely. Some custodians may be frustrated about inadequate training or a lack of opportunities for professional development.
What You Can Do: Begin with a thorough assessment of the custodians’ training needs. Identify specific areas where they feel they lack training or competence and develop a comprehensive training plan that addresses the identified needs. You’ll want to offer a variety of training methods to cater to different learning styles. This may include hands-on training, classroom instruction, online courses, instructional videos on how to use equipment, and written materials. After training, make sure these training resources and materials are easily accessible.
Most importantly, create an environment where custodians feel comfortable asking questions and providing feedback about their training and job experiences so that they feel like they have a voice in the organization.
- Lack of Recognition:
Custodians often work behind the scenes, and their efforts may go unnoticed. A common complaint is the lack of recognition and appreciation for their hard work and contributions. Recognizing workers through appreciation days and events, such as National Custodian Day, can go a long way in boosting morale and fostering a sense of respect and inclusion within the organization.
What You Can Do: Express your thanks and appreciation! Here are some ideas on how to show your gratitude.
Join Us in Celebrating National Custodian Day
The Unger team wants to thank all the custodial staff who work every day to keep our businesses and communities operating, and as healthy as possible. If we can help you evaluate alternative cleaning equipment to help keep your custodial staff safer and healthier, please contact us or schedule a consultation to learn more about our commercial cleaning products.
It’s important for employers and facility managers to address these complaints and provide custodians with the support, resources, and recognition they need to perform their jobs effectively and maintain job satisfaction. This can include adequate staffing, training, proper equipment, safety measures, and regular appreciation and feedback.