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The billboards are up, local buzz is building, and a hashtag or two may have even cropped up on social media: Minneapolis, where Tennant Company is headquartered, is hosting a Big Game. Whether it’s a special event like this one, or a regularly scheduled occasion, a large influx of visitors for a single event places special demands on businesses.
Cleaning contractors as well as business owners and managers know that there’s a distinct art to planning for the demands of a large event – without causing an even larger disruption to "business as usual" before and afterward. Here are a few things that managers need to consider to prepare before, during, and after a major event:
- Adequate Staffing – Depending on the business, critical shifts may be before and after the event, or during the main rush. Managers need to do the tricky work of determining which shifts to focus on, and how much to staff up. In addition to regular staff, some businesses can make use of one or several extra temporary hires for tasks such as trash pick-up, luggage handling, stocking, and so on.
With regular staff in a high-pressure environment, and especially with temporary help, communication is critical. It’s important to make sure that there’s a clearly established point of contact for questions, and a designated back-up if the main point is not immediately available. For staff who communicate directly with a large volume of customers, managers might want to establish a chain of command and consider giving temporary "veto" or "comp" powers to trusted non-managerial employees to prevent an endless succession of questions about customer requests.
- Cleaning Schedules – Businesses run well by establishing shift routines that are efficient…for normal traffic. Unfortunately, a large event defies those carefully established norms, and routines need to follow suit.
For businesses that will be fielding a high volume of foot traffic, and particularly if the weather may be uncooperative (early February in Minnesota, for instance), managers should examine standard practices and consider whether changing the frequency of routine cleaning will be necessary in addition to spot cleaning for spills and slippery spots. It goes without saying that in entrances and other high traffic areas, cleaning for appearance is important, but cleaning to control the risk of slip-fall incidents is the driver for deciding whether to change cleaning schedules during high-traffic times.
- Logistics Matters – Overloaded dumpsters and overflowing trash cans don’t make the best impression on customers. Saturated and grimy walk-off mats mean that mud and water get tracked further into a facility. For high customer volume, managers may need to make arrangements in advance to cover their logistical bases. That may mean checking to see if walk-off mats can be rotated more frequently or ensuring that extractors or floor fans are available to manage water. If extra trash pick-up can’t be arranged, a designated storage area may need to be established until proper disposal is available.
- Business as Usual – Exciting, probably. Great opportunity, very likely. But one thing is absolutely certain: a large event will be absolutely exhausting to work as a business employee or manager. For cleaning contractors, the aftermath of the event is the opportunity to make a difference for clients and is the focus of planning and preparation. For businesses that assign end-of-shift tasks to in-house employees, however, cleaning tasks may come at the end of a chaotic and fatiguing day or evening. Rather than asking tired staff members to cover these tasks, managers could schedule a special shift at the end of the night. This will ensure that workers have a clear idea of their responsibilities for the shift, and are fresh and ready to clean thoroughly—making sure the facility is ready for business as usual right after the event.
Making clear plans, communicating and delegating wisely, considering logistical implications, and ensuring you have a clear path back to business as usual helps businesses navigate the big events that come their way, maximizing opportunities and managing through the headaches that inevitably tag along.
Interested in reading more about cleaning for large events?
Check out this article on cleaning stadium venues!