Done well, cleaning does you good

26th of November 2021 Article by John Griep
Done well, cleaning does you good

John Griep reports for ECJ on VSR’s recent meeting at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam.

The Johan Cruyff Arena is a unique location for several reasons. One of them is that four matches of the UEFA European Football Championship were played here at the beginning of the summer.

“At the time, we had to hand over the building for a month and a half,” the stadium’s director of facility management told VSR members. “UEFA took full control of the stadium and checked every nook and cranny. Everything had to be dressed up and covered over. It was a huge transformation.”

And all of that while the pandemic was going on in the background. How do you prevent the spread of infection in a situation like that? How do you guarantee safety? “We organised 450 disinfection posts, waste bins for face masks, cough screens, remote kiosk queues and digital press conferences. During those weeks, the cleaners did an incredible job. They expanded the cleaning programme to include blue zones, periodic cleaning, UVC lamps in the toilets and incident reporting. It was very intense and highly exceptional.”

According to the director of facility management: “The pandemic gave us an insight into how to create cleaner buildings for the user. Nowadays, people have developed greater respect for cleaning.”

In the stadium, an even closer cooperation has been established with its cleaning partner, CSU. “Together, we looked at critical areas that required additional attention. One of those vulnerable areas is the changing room, as that is where all the players sit together. If contamination occurs there, the impact is enormous. The same also applies to the toilets. We defined a number of zones where we made additional investments in hygiene and equipment in order to guarantee the maximum degree of safety.”

Together, they started thinking about the conditions that contribute towards a healthy building and about the resources that can be used. While digitalisation, real-time monitoring and UVC cleaning certainly support professional cleaning, the FM director believes they will never replace it. “Cleaning cannot be automated. The best results are achieved by using good people, who have been well trained, receive good instructions and who believe in what they do.”

This appreciation for professional cleaning services is nowhere as present as it is at VSR and that has been the case for some years now. For more than 40 years, VSR has been working to bring about the professionalisation of the cleaning profession through research, information and education. And yet, during the pandemic, we still sat down to reflect anew and ask ourselves - what is our mission?

Or, as our chairman Diane van Dijk said to the VSR members: “What are the elements that actually make VSR what it is?” There are actually three elements of importance: 1. Research, 2. Being a knowledge institution and 3. Being an independent platform. Van Dijk: “Those three elements are about ‘how’ and ‘what’, but a third factor that is at least as relevant is ‘why’? Why does VSR carry out its core activity? And why is that important to VSR’s member groups?” The conclusion: done well, cleaning does you good!


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