Interview: Khidmah puts measures in place to contain the virus
Abdulla Al Wahedi, CEO at Khidmah, reveals the firm’s practices in cleaning and containing the virus
How does Khidmah handle the rapid rise in demand for professional cleaning, sanitisation, and disinfection services during this crisis?
Khidmah’s primary focus has always been to provide its customers with effective, quality facilities management solutions and services to meet their needs and requirements.
It has been advised by local and global health authorities that good hygiene, disinfection and sanitisation of frequently touched surfaces are key to combating the virus and killing germs. To cope with the current environment, we were compelled to play our part and offer our expertise to help residents and commercial tenants disinfect and sanitise their homes and workplaces to mitigate the spread of the virus. As such, our services have become a critical part in the fight against COVID-19 to ensure people’s homes, offices and other assets are safe.
With the rapid rise in demand for professional cleaning, sanitisation and disinfection, we have acted proactively and put together an Emergency Response Team to meet the increasing demand and be able to respond immediately to people’s needs. More and more people rely on us as FM professionals and we have a tremendous responsibility to make sure we deliver and sanitise people’s offices and homes.
Since we announced the discounted prices of these services in March this year, we have seen a significant number of clients signing up from various residential and commercial sectors.
Your technical team are frontlines in the war against COVID-19 - what are the safety measures taken by them in order to complete the job, safely and successfully?
Khidmah’s strongest asset has always been its employees and we have ensured that we take care of our people, their health and their safety at all times.
When COVID-19 began spreading, we immediately took action, establishing safety and preventive measures to detect possible cases and safeguard our staff and clients. These included providing coverall personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitisers to staff engaged in sanitisation and disinfection works. We have also regularly been disinfecting and sanitising our technical staff’s accommodation and buses as well as daily staff health checks. We also made sure to raise awareness among all staff including drivers on all necessary safety and precautionary measures that include social distancing and hygienic protocols in line with the guidelines from the UAE Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation and ensured full compliance to all regulatory guidelines from local government and health authorities.
Moreover, we introduced additional staff accommodations to decrease congestion across all locations and abide by social distancing guidance and introduced additional shifts to follow social distancing and thereby reducing physical social interactions
Each one of our staff is well trained and briefed regularly on good hygiene and sanitisation in line with the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) Infection Control Awareness. We have also trained our technical team on how to effectively and safely use sanitisation and disinfection products in line with all hygiene guidance provided by the UAE authorities and the World Health Organisation.
Khidmah employees also follows good sanitisation procedures before and after any personal contact, after any activity that contaminates hands and after proper use and disposal of personal protective equipment. Our teams are also provided with regular interval breaks to rest and re-energise, their temperature is regularly monitored and are provided with immune system boosting beverages rich in vitamins and minerals.
As a company that provides services to both commercial and residential units, do you think cleaning measures vary for both sectors and how? Are you providing your services to healthcare facilities given the need for very thorough disinfection and sanitisation?
Khidmah focuses on providing FM services and solutions to clients in the UAE and the region across different sectors including residential, commercial, retail, government, education, hospitality and healthcare.
The requirements and guidelines vary from one sector to another especially when it comes to disinfection and sanitisation. There are specific areas that different sectors would require focus on.
For example, residential units focus more on the inside of the house such as floors, bedrooms, washrooms and so on. On the other hand, commercial premises focus more on deep cleaning and sanitisation of offices, stores and other gathering areas. We are keen to support more clients in all sectors and that includes healthcare facilities as we believe we can help, and the Khidmah teams are well prepared and ready for that.
Could you elaborate on the best practices implemented by Khidmah to contain the risk of spreading infection and cross contamination?
Khidmah has always practiced strict methods of sanitisation and disinfection. This includes strict monitoring and following a color-coding methodology. This helps to avoid spreading viruses from one space to another and eradicate the spread of disease and cross contamination. Our technical staff are also trained on color coding which would apply to almost everything involved in the disinfection and sanitisation process such as cloths, gloves, tools, chemicals and equipment.
Every member of the team involved in sanitisation is also required to disinfect themselves and their equipment after each job to prevent spreading viruses from one place to another. Of course, vehicles are fully disinfected before and after each job.
Can you share with us some DIY (do it yourself) cleaning and disinfecting techniques that can be used by residents who do not have access to professional cleaning service providers?
It is effortless to transfer viruses from one place to another and practicing good hygiene can minimise if not eliminate the transfer entirely. A cloth or item in a sensitive area such as washrooms should never be used in any other area and vice versa.
People who do not have access to professional services can use a diluted solution of 1/3 of bleach and 1 litre of water to clean all high touch areas and bathrooms.
Having said that, at such crucial times, we would always recommend customers use the support of certified cleaning professionals.
How are residents being taken care of while the houses are sanitised?
Before every job, our 24 / 7 Customer Support Centre team reaches out to the customer and informs him or her of best practices to follow during and after sanitisation is completed. While residents do not need to leave their premises during the sanitisation and disinfection process, we provide them with masks and gloves and request them to be in different rooms while we are working. Our technical team will utilise odourless, organic cleaning products certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. A contact time of 10-15 minutes prior to entry to the treated room is strictly implemented as an extra precaution.
We have also applied a strict cashless payment policy in line with heightened hygiene guidance.