As COVID-19 continues to create stress and uncertainty, one of its benefits is that it has enhanced our awareness and appreciation for essential services, such as those who provide medical care and work in roles that produce and deliver necessities that keep us fed, safe, secure.
Essential workers are all around us. Some are more obvious than others.
A quick Google search shows that there are over 180,000 janitors, caretakers and building superintendents and over 140,000 security guards working in Canada. These career choices are as noble as any other, especially at a time like now. While you may not necessarily know your local cleaner or concierge by name, or even notice them in your day-to-day life, they are unsung heroes demonstrating commitment and courage, working tirelessly around the clock, and often behind the scenes through this pandemic, along with other front line heroes, keeping people and property clean, safe and secure.
As an essential service, we remain open and active in delivering service excellence to our clients.
Our business automatically and seamlessly went into high gear in January well before we were deemed an essential service. Not only did we have to navigate our way in meeting our clients’ needs, but we also needed to support the safety and well-being of our team members through this unprecedented time.
At the onset, we initiated weekly email blasts to our clients and launched frequent conference calls with team members to address current conditions, emphasize key messaging around safe work practices and to answer any questions or concerns. We followed up with written and illustrative material for cascading around the business and posting at all our work locations. This included messaging around individual safety and appropriate personal protective equipment as per the guidelines provided by the World Health Organization and government health officials. We also emphasized several safety measures which involved not sharing resources like chairs, computer keyboards or phones between team members without disinfecting them first and reiterated instructions on effective handwashing and physical distancing.
“We were quick to respond to the situation with our ICS Airborne Pathogen Disinfection Protocol and Pandemic Preparedness and Response Plan,” says Ross Manley, ICS’ chief operating officer. “We engaged all stakeholders by sharing information, answering questions and offering value-added support. The response has been extremely positive.”
This pandemic is hitting everybody and every business in every single sector.
As the pandemic spread across nations, we knew we needed to think strategically and act fast. We quickly pivoted our cleaning focus from regular maintenance to touch-point targeted disinfection and our security teams stepped up to protect our clients, their tenants, assets and properties.
We created rapid response teams and mobilized them to sanitize traces of COVID-19 using a DIN-certified, organic and highly-effective disinfectant solution. In full protective gear, these teams work around the clock disinfecting confirmed cases of contamination in a variety of sectors, such as commercial, municipal, medical, multi-residential and transportation, including aviation. Depending on square footage, our established track record is within 3 hours from initial request to work order completion.
“COVID-19 is evolving rapidly and our response to this outbreak has always been about our team’s safety and security and that of our clients, while continuing to provide 24/7/365 support,” says Manley. “We’ve made every effort to maintain our commitment to service excellence by working closely with our clients and supply chain network during this challenging time.”
Part of maintaining business continuity as best as possible is anticipating the right course of action. Speed in decision making, staying calm and carrying on were of the essence. In preparation, we ordered numerous skids’ worth of the organic disinfectant solution we committed to using for this pandemic – it’s the only organic solution shown on the list of approved products to kill the COVID-19 virus. In addition to ongoing open communication and emphasis on safety practices, we also had to ensure our teams were equipped with appropriate personal protective equipment. We complied with instructed safety protocols and worked closely with our clients in regards to proper handling of deliveries and appropriate physical distancing in common spaces.
“We know it’s not easy to work the front line at a time like this and appreciate seeing the majority of our team members rising to the occasion,” says Manley. “We are doing our best to maintain employment levels and have had to hire and train more people to address some expected absenteeism.”
Absenteeism is a challenge for many essential services as some employees or their loved ones at home may be at high risk. This situation is very personal to every body.
Despite a change in workflow at select client locations, we continue to offer base coverage and, in some cases, have ramped up our level of support to accommodate their needs. We anticipate that while more people work from home, disinfection services will shift from the commercial to multi-residential sector and as a result, we’re redeploying and training team members accordingly. We’ve also had more requests for crowd control and patrols to protect closed or empty facilities. Our earned reputation as a trusted partner for prompt and professional disinfection and security services have driven work orders from current and new clients.
While COVID-19 is not over, this pandemic has taught us a lot. Now into week five of self-isolation and social/physical distancing, we know that panic and fear are very real but that the human spirit is alive and enduring. We trust that optimism, innovation and determination will persevere and get us through this challenging time. And, we have more awareness, appreciation and gratitude – not for toilet paper or our consumption of it, but rather for essential services, the people who produce and deliver basic necessities, and the relationships we have with others in our life.
As a responsible company, we will manage the impact of this situation on our business, our team members, clients and the communities in which we operate. Through our prompt professional response to this pandemic, we believe we have strengthened our relationship with current clients and have gained the trust of new ones. We know that no business is immune from a crisis of this kind and that together, we will navigate our way through this and accept all that there is to learn from this experience.
For more information about our disinfection protocol and safety measures, or to learn more about the ICS Pandemic Preparedness & Response Plan, please email us at email@example.com and a member of our communications team will respond right away. Alternatively, please contact:
Chief Communications Officer
ICS Facility Services
Additional information on the coronavirus can be found on the following websites:
Ontario Ministry of Health:
Public Health Agency of Canada:
Government of Canada Travel Advice & Advisory:
World Health Organization: