Work with, not against, your cleaning staff

How often has a computer problem been caused by housekeeping accidentally unplugging a power cord or switching off a surge protector? Here's how you can work with your cleaning staff to prevent these kinds of incidents from happening.

How many times have you received a call about a computer that was fine yesterday, but won't even turn on today? You go and check on it, only to discover a loose cable or a switched-off surge protector as the culprit. It is a simple fix, but it took valuable time to resolve. You ask a few questions and discover that the computer stopped working about the time the cleaning crew came through. Apparently a broom, mop, or vacuum hit the cable or surge protector and brought the unit down.

Talk to your housekeeping staff
What can be done about this problem? Plenty! You should make a point of meeting and talking to your housekeeping staff, the people who work around computers in a capacity that you probably have long ignored. Instead of just disregarding them or talking down to them, explain the potential problem and ask the cleaning staff for feedback. Ask them to let you know if they think they may have bumped or unplugged something. This input may just give you the heads-up on a potential problem.

Be proactive
Now, instead of leaving the problem or not even being aware that they may have caused one, housekeeping will leave you a detailed note with invaluable clues to what might be wrong. With a little help from the housekeeping staff, you can be proactive in your support duties. Imagine your client’s surprise when you show up in the morning to fix their computer, before they even report it as being down. In no time, you’ll develop a reputation for staying ahead of the game!

Get the cleaning crew to actually clean
Another advantage to communicating with your housekeeping staff deals with the problem of “dust bunnies.” Dust bunnies can cause a myriad of problems. Have you ever noticed that dirty machines aren't happy ones? Power supplies fail. Connections are sloppy or intermittent.

Computers sitting on the floor are most susceptible. When sweeping occurs around a floor-bound PC, dust is often pushed into the computer instead of away from it. Many times the floor dust is simply left sitting around the PC because of all of the cables associated with the equipment.

In most cases, the overlooked dust isn't a matter of laziness or sloppiness, it is a matter of fear. The cleaning crew is afraid of disconnecting or ruining something if they move the cables, so they don't clean as well as the computers need. They don't understand the need for getting the job done well and how to work around all the cords without them coming out of the surge protector. Housekeeping staff needs an understanding of what dust can do to the guts of a computer, what function the cords perform, and how to avoid disconnecting them.

You can make a difference
You are capable of supplying these missing bits of information to your cleaning crew. It only takes a few moments of your time. A few words, spoken correctly, can change the entire course of cleaning and computer problems in your organization. You might not convince everyone involved to go the extra mile, but even one additional soldier in the war can be considered a win.
Have you ever talked with your housekeeping staff about the best way to clean around your organization’s computers? How did you phrase your request? How much success have you had trying to work with your cleaning crew? We want to know. Post a comment below or send us an e-mail.

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