Strategies for Overcoming Maintenance Staff Shortages During COVID-19 and Its Variants—Delta & Omicron
If your facility is struggling to keep up with proper disinfection protocols due to a lack of staff, you are not alone. The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for employers, not the least of which is maintaining high levels of disinfection. While some employees still work remotely, facilities must remain vigilant and proactively disinfect, especially against highly transmissible emerging variants, such as Delta and Omicron. Unfortunately, this can require more labor hours than a facility may have available. The answer is to either
- Hire more staff to perform disinfection
- Utilize less labor-intensive disinfection methods
Hiring More Disinfection Maintenance Staff Can Be a Challenge, But There are Options
According to one recent survey, “Nearly three in four employers (73%) are currently having difficulty attracting employees.” Attracting disinfection technicians maybe even more difficult considering the potential risks of exposure to COVID-19 or the chemicals used to combat it. To successfully recruit disinfection staff, facilities may need to up their game. Here are a few tips to try:
Look for Staff in New Territories
Get creative in where you advertise employment
Most organizations list job openings online on common recruitment sites, like Indeed.com or ziprecruiter.com, and post availabilities on their facility’s website. Broaden your reach by partnering with non-profit organizations for opportunities to help others while benefiting your organization as well, e.g., veterans or people with disabilities.
Higher pay is likely the first thing a potential applicant will notice and gravitate toward. While it is not always an option, offering a competitive income can show employees your facility values their time and effort, encouraging loyalty and improving morale. Don’t forget to entice them with attractive paid time off incentives, too. Sometimes people are motivated by having more time for family.
Promote your facility’s positive employee experience
Besides higher pay, where else can your facility meet potential employees’ needs? Like everyone else, workers are looking for a job where they find joy and opportunities for growth. To attract more job seekers, ...
- Highlight if you have a great work culture or cool, fun team
- Let potential candidates know if there will be opportunities for advancement
- Offer flexible hours
- Offer a tuition reimbursement program
Create a Referral Reward Program
Word of mouth is often the best form of advertising. Who better to represent your facility than happy employees? Offer bonuses to those who refer successful new candidates.
Switch to an Easier Disinfection Process
If hiring more staff is too difficult or expensive, or if your facility does not want to increase its staff size, choosing an easier, faster, and more effective disinfection process can be an excellent solution. To free up labor time, an optimal COVID disinfection system will provide:
Use single-operator disinfection technology
Typical disinfection can require multiple staff to spray and wipe down every surface, which is time and labor-consuming.
Instead, choose a disinfection system that can be automated and operated by the push of a button. Ideal disinfection should require, at most, one person to easily disinfect a whole room.
Use hands-free disinfection technology
Today’s new maintenance staff or disinfection technicians do not want to handle harmful chemicals or heavy equipment. Begin by offering solutions without harmful chemicals and that save labor along the way. Even “fogging” with electrostatic sprayers or hand-held ULV foggers requires personnel to carry, hold, and aim the device for application, placing staff in harm’s way of potential exposure and heavy equipment.
Hands-free disinfection systems offer the potential to disinfect areas that human error may miss. Additionally, the ability to reach hard-to-reach areas with systems like HHP™ fogging can offer safer hybrid hydrogen peroxide™ application that will not leave behind harmful residues or expose staff to overly caustic chemicals, since most of the disinfection happens when no one is in the room and without the need for labor.
Choose a disinfection system that provides “set it and forget it” technology. A single technician can activate the CURIS system with the touch of a button without being exposed to disinfectant fog. They then have the freedom to move on to their next important task while the CURIS device takes care of the rest.
Implement an easier disinfection system
Systems that have too many pieces to operate typically can be found unused in a maintenance closet somewhere. Ensure your facility is selecting high-level disinfection systems that are not only easy to use but that also employ the least number of accessories. Extra pieces can break or be lost easily.
Establish an accountability process
Finding enough staff is not the only struggle facilities face. Finding managers to oversee the process is done correctly or even at all can be a challenge. Choosing a disinfection system that can help track the disinfection process can be very helpful to any facility. Knowing if a room has been treated or not maybe the difference between life and death, so make sure the system you choose has the ability to track disinfected rooms and the staff performing each job.
The CURIS system is EPA-registered and approved for use against SARS-CoV-2.
CURIS kills 99.9999% of one of the hardest-to-kill bacterial spores: C. Diff in a tri-part soil load. To learn more about choosing the best COVID fogger, visit our blog The Evolution of the Perfect COVID Disinfectant Fogger.