A Force for Impact

A Social Investment Report of Clean Force Property Services – an award-winning commercial cleaning not-for-profit driving social change – has reconfirmed its impressive contribution to the community.

As a WISE social enterprise providing employment opportunities for people living with disability, mental illness and other disadvantage, Clean Force offers quality commercial cleaning services for a broad range of large corporates and medium-sized businesses, and infrastructure projects as well as grounds maintenance.

The report by Social Ventures Australia explored what socio-economic return Clean Force’s Victorian and New South Wales divisions have had across its employees, customers and the government from July 2015 to June 2020. And the results were overwhelmingly positive.

Demonstrating the shared value of engaging Clean Force for commercial cleaning services, the study confirmed an outstanding $6.50 of social benefit to the community for every $1 invested. Furthermore, Clean Force contributed the equivalent of $26.6m of social outcomes with an investment of $3.8m from Government, WISE and Customers.

Over the last five years, in addition to hiring employees with disabilities, there has been a focus on hiring individuals experiencing disadvantage, including single parents, migrants and Indigenous Australians. This report aimed to capture the impact of those changes on social and economic outcomes created by Clean Force, highlighting what an important role the social enterprise plays in our communities.

The report found retention of its staff has been very high compared to cleaning industry retention rates. Clean Force supported 70% of its employees for more than five years and 39% for more than 10 years. More specifically, it supported 230 employees in FY20, an increase of 70% since FY16.

The mental health and wellbeing of all employees has improved substantially since joining Clean Force, as well as their workplace skills, confidence, quality of life and feelings of connectedness.

Clean Force employee Aaron Robinson, lives with Schizophrenia and has been with the company for more than eight years. Due to challenges with his mental illness, he struggled for many years to find employment and shudders to think where he’d be without the support and opportunity Clean Force provided.

“If it wasn’t for Clean Force, I genuinely don’t know where I’d be. I’ve paid off my house, I have a car, I have a wife and two beautiful children. I just love my life and will be forever indebted to my employer.”

“Clean Force has given me purpose, a new found motivation and focus. It’s so comforting being part of a company who understand and champion people living with mental illness.”

WISE Social Enterprise Manager, Jim Dinuccio, who co-founded the business in 2001, says he is absolutely delighted with the report outcomes, although admittedly not surprised.

“We already knew what a profound impact we’ve had across the last 5 years, not just to our employees but to the Australian community at large. And now we’re proud that these impressive results can quantify and back up the work we’ve been doing,” he says.

This is the second report of its kind to be commissioned by Clean Force, with the first completed in 2012. Since then, Clean Force has grown substantially, expanding operations to NSW while competing for higher value contracts that have seen the number and make up of its employees change.

For those interested in reading the full report, please request by emailing us here.

Clean Force adopts fogging during COVID-19

Clean Force adopted fogging into their cleaning practices in August as an added safety measure to keep clients safe while working onsite during lockdown in Victoria. When fogging was first requested, the Clean Force team reacted quickly, training team members on the process and ensuring the chemical were both safe and effective for cleaners and clients.

Keep reading to learn about fogging and how Clean Force works with clients to keep them safe.

What is fogging?

Disinfectant fogging is a cleaning technique used to kill bacteria and sterilise surfaces. The chemical is diluted and added to the fogger. The Clean Force team use a machine similar to a mister to spray the chemical over all surfaces after the completion of the usual routine cleaning process. The mist has a fog-like look before it settles on surfaces.

Clean Force has received certification confirming our fogging chemicals are safe to use from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Clean Force team member dressed in full PPE gear fogging onsite
[Clean Force team member dressed in full PPE gear fogging onsite]

How does fogging work onsite?

When onsite, Clean Force staff disinfect all areas. This includes wiping down all surfaces in the office, with a particular focus on high touch-point areas such as sinks, desks, switches and door handles. When clients request fogging, the team will then go back through the site and fog all surfaces as a second method of disinfectant.

All staff are required to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE) when they are fogging. The gear includes protective eyeglasses, full-body suits, rubber cleaning gloves, industrial face masks and face shields.

Clean Force team member in full PPE gear fogging a table
[Clean Force team member in full PPE gear fogging a table]

Does fogging create any risks?

Although we have TGA approval for our fogging chemical, the safety of our clients and team is essential to us. Due to this, no one can re-enter the site for at least two hours after spraying to ensure it has settled.

High levels of communication between clients and Clean Force are maintained so fogging can be scheduled at times that do not interrupt the client’s workday. For example, Clean Force has clients where sites operate 24/7. At these sites, fogging is planned carefully to ensure workers will always have a safe room to enter on their break.

The Clean Force team are happy to accommodate and work around clients schedules to carry out cleaning and fogging services.

To learn more about fogging and our commercial cleaning services, get in touch with us here

Being an essential worker in a pandemic

Frank and the team singing off at the end of the night

COVID-19 has impacted our work and personal lives in more than one way. While many people in the WISE community have been working from home, Clean Force has been at the forefront of COVID-19 related work. To find out what it’s like being an essential worker during a pandemic, Clean Force’s Leading Hand , Frank, invited us along for a shift during Victoria’s level 4 lockdown.

Frank started with Clean Force as a floater in April 2015, filling in where extra staff were required across Melbourne’s west, city and Richmond crews. Last year, Frank’s responsibilities increased when he was promoted to Leading Hand of the city crew. He’s now accountable for rostering his nine support staff, ensuring they have the correct hours of work per week. Along with this, the Leading Hands are trusted with keys to their client’s offices and have all completed high clearance security checks.

Frank works Monday to Friday, meeting the cleaning crew at the Preston office at 3:30 pm. Most of the team jump into the van and head to their first location, meeting the remainder of the team on site.

Photo supplied – leaving the office in Clean Force van.

COVID-19 has changed several operational factors for Clean Force. The first being the changes in transportation. Previously, there were five people to a van. However, to practice social distancing, they have reduced the number to four people.

Further safety precautions are taken onsite with temperature checks being conducted and recorded when entering the first office. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is also supplied for all staff and required when onsite. Masks, gloves and an optional plastic apron are changed whenever needed and between locations. Frank is always prepared, keeping spare masks and gloves in the glovebox.

Photo supplied – Frank in PPE gear

As a Leading Hand, Frank informs the staff of their tasks at each site, helps with any questions and ensures everyone is following social distancing requirements. Although they have always cleaned kitchens, toilets and foyers, there is now a big focus on main touchpoints like doors, switches and elevators.

Even though everyone is assigned a task, once someone finishes their job, they help other team members finish too. Frank helps out wherever he can too. If there’s time before the end of a shift, they complete any additional cleaning.

Photo supplied – Socially distanced cleaning of high touch points

Due to COVID-19 causing office closures, the city crew visit two or three offices a night. They’re very cautious to clean everything thoroughly, and Frank checks everything as they go.

“If you hire cleaners for your own home, you want them to clean it properly too,” says Frank.

Photo supplied – cleaning door handles
Photo supplied – cleaning kitchen sink

Although PPE gear can be annoying to wear, Frank knows it’s essential.

“The last thing you want to do is get ill. It’s [PPE] the one thing that’s saving us at the moment.”

Due to Victoria’s enforced 8 pm curfew, all team members have been provided with exemption permits for their rostered working days. These permits allow them an hour to get home after finishing their shifts at 7:30 pm. Frank says being out after 8 pm is a blast from the past.

“Being out after 8 pm, it’s like when I used to go to night clubs, and you’re on your way home at 4 am.”

He even wears his mask when driving home in case he needs to stop somewhere along the way like the service stations.

“It’s part of life now so we might as well get used to it.”

Clean Force has supported the staff the whole way through the pandemic.

“They’ve been very good. They supplied all the staff with PPE and made sure the information is out there to pass onto our support staff.”

Although COVID-19 has created new challenges, Frank can’t imagine working anywhere else. He enjoys learning from his staff and being part of a supportive environment.

“I love it! I think I’ll retire here and become part of the furniture.”

Photo supplied – Clean Force crew signing off at the end of the night