The COVID-19 pandemic will go down in history as a pivotal moment for the professional cleaning industry as custodians have continued to report to work at hospitals, schools, and office buildings. Considered essential employees, cleaning crews are in high demand as the nation responds to the virus. According to the online job board ZipRecruiter, COVID-19 has led to a 75% increase in listings for professional cleaners. Unfortunately, as demand for cleaning services increases, so too does the potential health and safety risks for cleaning professionals. Professional custodians can leverage one tool in particular to help mitigate these risks is the two-way radio. Two-way radios not only help cleaning crews stay safer, they can also help crews work quicker and more efficiently. In fact, many professional cleaning companies consider two-way radios as indispensable as mops, buckets, or brooms.
Here are four reasons why more custodial firms are incorporating two-way radio technology into their operations:
Safety is the No. 1 concern for any professional cleaner or custodial firm. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 custodians and cleaners suffered an average of 50,000 injuries that required them to take days off from work. Even more staggering, the industry is in the top 20 most hazardous occupations, along with logging, professional fishing, and roofing.
Cleaning injuries can range from accidental exposure to hazardous chemicals to slips, trips, and falls. Two-way radios are valuable tools for anyone who works in an isolated or remote area as custodians often do. Unlike cell phones, which may not be able to receive or send a signal and can be hard to operate in the midst of an emergency, two-way radios can provide immediate and reliable communication.
For example, most professional-grade, two-way radios have a programmable emergency alert button located on the top of the unit. During an emergency, workers can push the button to immediately send out an alert to either the entire network or a specific user. The signal will reveal which radio sent the alert. This feature allows two-way radio users to instantly communicate with each other while maintaining distance between them, which is especially valuable in this age of the highly contagious coronavirus.
A two-way radio is a useful tool for maximizing efficiency in any facility setting. Consider a cleaning crew dispatched to a large office building with multiple floors. One worker may encounter a problem on the seventh floor that requires a second opinion or supervisory instruction. With a professional-grade, two-way radio, the worker can instantly notify another team member or supervisor to receive the additional support needed to get the job done. Not having to leave a location to secure help saves the worker time and saves the company money.
Profit margins keep cleaning operations under constant pressure, requiring crew managers to do more with less staff and less time. Two-way radios allow workers to instantly communicate with other team members so they can complete jobs quickly and thoroughly.
A cell phone limits communication to between two people at a time. Two-way radios allow workers to put out a request, perhaps for a special tool or more supplies, to an entire team with one push of a button. As these radios can be programmed to have isolated channels, different employee groups can communicate on their own channels to keep communication organized while avoiding distracting cross-talk noise.
Commercial-grade, two-way radios are designed to withstand physical wear and tear better than consumer-grade radios, often called Family Radio Service (FRS) or General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS). Consumer-grade radios are lightweight with a thin plastic casing. They are built for infrequent use during weekend camping trips, caravan road trips, and field trips, for example.
Similarly, cell phones are fragile and prone to breakage when dropped or exposed to water. Commercial-grade, two-way radios, however, are constructed with a heavy-duty, rugged commercial housing and designed to be used for hours every day. Many are built to exacting military specifications for resistance to shock, vibration, extreme temperatures, dust, and even water.
Two-way radios can help improve operational performance, offer personal protection and safety during times of social distancing, and improve overall team productivity and communication, which in turn leads to higher customer satisfaction.