It’s no doubt that we’ve all had to make significant changes to our daily practices and cleaning procedures; thanks to COVID-19, your new routine may add hours to your daily operations. And you may be wondering, “how am I going to keep up with all of these changes?” Take heart, the first place to start is to have a good, strong foundation, and be realistic about your efforts. But how do you manage from there? Let us help. See below to learn more about the best tips for keeping up with your newly implemented cleaning procedures.
Create a Realistic Plan for You and Your Staff to Follow
The key piece in you and your staff being able to properly follow protocol is to have a plan in place to start with. You can’t go at this with guns blazing, you’ve got to have a game plan and one you can be proud of. Start by evaluating your gym and knowing which surfaces and materials are present and identifying your frequently touched areas (shared workspaces shouldn’t be left out!).
Next, make a checklist. Think about what products and personal protective equipment you’ll need, which gear needs to be removed (if state and Center for Disease Control regulations require it), how often, and when you want to clean. Be careful not to have too rigorous of a cleaning and disinfecting protocol, as they’ll be harder to keep up. Remain flexible and realistic about your efforts. Take into account how many staff you have, their limitations, and everyone’s schedules. The goal is to achieve a balance of doable and CDC-approved methods.
Once you’ve reached a protocol plan that you’re proud of, share it with the rest of your staff and your students. Being transparent will not only grow their trust in you, but it will also help keep you accountable and not slack on your protocol. Your gym members are looking to you to keep them safe and healthy as they train with you.
And don’t let this be your plan’s final iteration. Continue to tweak and revise your plan, making edits to what works and what doesn’t. But in your journey to provide the safest environment possible, don’t drive yourself crazy with trying to be perfect. Spoiler alert: you can’t. No one can 100 percent guarantee that someone won’t contract COVID-19 while working out at your studio.
Use the Right Cleaning Products
Before you get busy as a bee with cleaning and disinfecting, be sure to do your research first. It’s important to inform yourself about what are the approved cleaning chemicals and methods you should be using in your studio. Bleach is at the top of the list for the most common household disinfectant. When mixed with a gallon of water per 1/3 cup, it creates a solution that’s effective for up to 24 hours. Though a great tool, be certain that your bleach isn’t expired and is intended for disinfecting (no, color-safe bleach used for laundry doesn’t count).
The CDC’s article on cleaning and disinfecting your facility is an excellent resource for tips and recommendations for cleaning. A few suggestions include leaving cleaned surfaces wet for a period of time before wiping them dry and if alcohol solutions are used, they should contain at least 70% alcohol.
Also, take the time to read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions on its cleaning products so that you can safely use them, and they can be at their most effective. If you’re still unsure if what you have at home is strong enough to fight the virus, see if your disinfectant is listed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) list of Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2.
Teach Your Staff
Your staff is an integral part of your success in applying and maintaining your cleaning procedures. And they should be treated as such. Take the time to thoroughly share your game plan with them and make sure to train them where necessary. Let them ask questions, do a walkthrough of where they can find supplies and equipment, and be receptive to having a dialogue about any part of the protocol they’re uncomfortable with or have concerns about.
Find a way to make protocol trainings and refreshers fun. Try creating a quiz through Kahoot and giving out prizes to staff who get the most right. Or try creating a scavenger hunt to refresh them on what to do and where to find supplies.
And if you find yourself or your employees starting to slack on cleaning efforts, — which can happen if you’re cleaning multiple times a day — you can randomly assign employee pairs. Have them walk through after the other has cleaned and grade their effort to help keep them on their game about cleaning.
Reorder When Supplies Are Low
Luck favors the prepared, so do your best to include ways to keep your supplies on hand into your cleaning game plan. And think through different scenarios to prepare yourself. What will you do if the products you have aren’t available or won’t get to you in a timely manner? We think it’s wise to have two lists: one for your main supplies and PPEs and another for your backup supplies. If possible, we suggest making sure you always have at least two weeks of supplies available at all times. But NEVER allow your studio to get to the point where you’re completely out of supplies.
To help you keep track of the items you have or need, have your staff check-in or fill out a scorecard (ex: Monica 5/23 at 5:30 p.m., bleach bottle half full). Also make sure there’s plenty around and not just one size fits all kinds. Each employee may need a different size, so keep all size variants in stock. Set a designated time or set a reminder for the end of the day (or the week, whichever is easiest for you) to measure your product usage. This can help you get a ballpark estimate of when you’ll need to restock.
With the help of our tips and recommendations for how to maintain your carefully crafted protocols, we hope you seek the knowledge and find the confidence you need to be successful and keep your students and staff safe.