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Facilicom secures eighth year with University of Brighton 15/01/2021

CLEANING AND soft services provider, Facilicom UK & Ireland, has secured a contract extension with long-standing client, the University of Brighton.

The relationship, which began in September 2013 has seen the hygiene specialist deliver daily janitorial and cleaning services to the University’s halls of residence. 

The contract extension will see Facilicom’s team of highly-skilled cleaning operatives continue to deliver these vital services into 2021. 

Richard Roalfe, residential operations manager, University of Brighton said: “Facilicom has provided cleaning services to the University of Brighton Halls of Residence for eight years. During this time, they have consistently provided a very high standard of service within a fixed price contract, offering a very cost-effective solution. This is, in part, due to the commitment of the Facilicom team to continually innovate the products, materials and systems in use on the contract. The fact that Facilicom have twice won the competitive tender process demonstrates their ability to provide both quality and value.

“When the time came to review the cleaning contract, Facilicom proved flexible and accommodating to our changing needs. Activating the contract extension option soon became the obvious choice. The flexibility and professionalism demonstrated by the Facilicom team throughout this very challenging time has proven this to be the right decision.”

Jan-Hein Hemke, managing director of Facilicom UK & Ireland, said: “We have thoroughly enjoyed working with the dynamic University of Brighton for eight years now, and we are thrilled to have secured an extension to our contract.

“Maintaining the highest levels of cleanliness, particularly in the current climate as we live alongside Coronavirus, is vital to the health and well-being of the university’s students. Our team on campus will continue to deliver the very best standards of hygiene as new and returning students begin to fill up halls in the coming months.” 

For more information visit www.facilicom.co.uk 

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Training to manage the unexpected 17/11/2020

Jan-Hein Hemke highlights the importance of ongoing training to equip cleaning operatives with the skills and agility needed to deliver their role in this evolving pandemic. 

TRAINING HAS always been a vital part of personal and professional development, and I am a firm believer in investing in our people and their future. Not only does this ensure colleagues are up to speed with the latest practices and guidelines, but it also helps to nurture talent and ability. Well trained staff are happier, more motivated, and provide a better service to customers.

Coaching is also essential to protect operatives’ health and safety. This is vital when you consider that many work with a variety of hazards including chemicals, sharps, and exposure to infectious pathogens. It is therefore paramount that they are given comprehensive training, to bestow them the necessary skills to perform their job safely and effectively – and to a high standard. 

But what happens when we are plunged into crisis mode, faced with an unknown enemy? Some may think that no level of training could have prepared us for the COVID-19 battle. But I disagree. 

Of course, there were new working processes to follow and novel products to consider, but as it became evident that cleaning and hygiene was one of the first lines of defence against this virus, it was clear to me that we could make a real difference to the health of the nation.

Changing perceptions 
For a long time, the cleaning profession has been undervalued by many, despite the extensive training required to meet standards and health and safety requirements. It’s a shame that it has taken a global pandemic to change hearts and minds, but it finally feels like attitudes towards contract cleaning are improving.  

We’ve always worked hard to change perceptions and get people to recognise the important work that professional operatives do. Despite the immense current challenges, I have been overwhelmed by the unwavering dedication of our cleaning teams. I am so proud of the way that our people have come together and pulled out all the stops for our clients. 

From undertaking additional training, to delivering tasks outside of their normal requirements, our teams have gone above and beyond to ensure clients and their premises are clean, hygienic, and safe. 

Training is engrained in each cleaning operatives’ professional journey with us. It’s not a tick box that we reluctantly fill once a year. It’s an ongoing commitment that ensures our teams are up to date with ever-changing practices and guidelines, and have the confidence to know what to do in any situation. 

During times of change, it’s important to ensure that all colleagues feel supported to deliver additional or enhanced duties. From being knowledgeable about infection control, to understanding how to operate during a crisis, we must keep training up to date and accessible to all. 

This hasn’t gone unnoticed. I have received great feedback from many clients, thanking our teams for their sheer perseverance. They have commented on the diligence of our service, praising our colleagues for the challenges overcome and applauded the professionalism of staff, who remain positive despite extremely challenging circumstances. 


Upskilling during a pandemic
When the pandemic first broke, we very quickly put new coaching systems into place, to upskill our operatives on specialist cleaning practices like fogging. Following comprehensive staff training, we have also introduced new COVID-19 related services to help safeguard our customers, including ‘SAFER’ with Facilicom. This Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) regime offers clients a comprehensive package of post-clean surface testing, giving comfort to staff returning to their workplace. Cleaning operatives were also trained in the correct use of personal protective equipment and social distancing measures. 

As the virus spread, there was a huge surge in demand for deep cleans and fogging, but having prepared our staff early, to ensure they had the skills they were going to need to combat coronavirus, we were ready and waiting to deliver these services for concerned clients. We were one step ahead. 

Of course, training hundreds of our colleagues during a global crisis wasn’t easy and trying to deliver sessions alongside COVID-19 restrictions was a real challenge. But through socially distanced sessions and video calls, we were able to upskill our teams to deliver these vital services at a time of real need.  

As an organisation a lot has changed for us, but clients need us more than ever. With a heightened responsibility to protect customers’ staff and premises, it was vital that we trained our colleagues in resilience, to ensure they remained professional and positive. With this in mind, we launched our Inspirational Toolkit, packed full of stories from colleagues, useful tips, and practical advice to guide people through this challenging time – both professionally and personally.  

This online resource features a raft of support tools, from training modules on working together online and mindfulness, to working from home and wellbeing advice. Many of our colleagues also provided short video clips to talk about how they were managing lockdown. And we even created our very own Facilicom Video Call Bingo – a light hearted game to prevent colleagues from getting bogged down with virtual meetings. The toolkit has been extremely well received by our teams and we hope to use it well into the future, beyond our pandemic days.  

A personal approach 
Now, more than ever, it is essential that our colleagues are able to adapt easily to meet clients’ needs. This is a quality that we have instilled in every single one of our colleagues through our Hostmanship approach, which is geared towards both the operational excellence and the human, social aspect of the job. It is all about ensuring our colleagues have the skills to go the extra mile for our clients, responding to changing needs and requirements. 

This also helps boost our colleagues’ self-esteem and builds their confidence to communicate and engage with their peers, clients, and customers effectively. Our training and development programme not only supports our cleaning teams in their professional role, but also provides them with skills that can be transferred to their personal lives.

This begins with a welcoming and open attitude to the people and situations we encounter. We believe that this is a significant way that we can add value to our clients, as well as enriching our colleagues’ wellbeing. When all processes are geared towards operational excellence, there is a risk that the human aspect can be overlooked.

Training as part of a package of measures
Hand in hand with ongoing, tailored training is the importance of fair pay for a hard day’s work. The cleaning sector is often perceived as short-termist and underpaid; we want to change this perception so that our colleagues feel respected and valued.  We have been strong supporters of the Living Wage movement for fair pay for many years. In fact, we are a founding member of its Service Provider Recognition Programme and were one of the first national contract cleaning companies to sign up to it. Our sister company, Trigion Security Services, also actively supports this initiative. 

Since joining the Living Wage scheme, we have seen lower absenteeism, increased staff retention, and higher levels of job fulfilment. This, in turn, has led to better teamwork and service provision, and greater client satisfaction. 

During this pandemic, our cleaning operatives have been putting their own concerns to one side to deal with the job at hand. From ensuring that client premises are safe and protected, to delivering vital services, like office deep cleans and touch-point sterilising. Now, more than ever, it is vital that these colleagues are rewarded fairly for their efforts. 

Training should be implemented as part of whole package of measures to ensure that our staff remain positive, healthy, and appreciated. We have many other processes in place to support our colleagues. These include our internal ‘Facilicom Awards,’ which recognise and thank colleagues who have gone over and above our exceptionally high standards. These are awarded quarterly and communicated via social media and to everybody within the company via email and our internal newsletter. This scheme is also supported annually with our ‘employee of the year’ award, presented at our annual company meeting at the start of each year. 

In addition, we place strong emphasis on workplace wellbeing and our Employee Assistance Programme provides 24/7 quick access to counselling, where staff can discuss any physical, mental, social, or financial issues.

As our cleaning operatives continue to keep our businesses and public places as clean and safe as possible, we owe it to them to invest in their development and futureproof their careers for many years to come. 

Jan-Hein Hemke is managing director of Facilicom UK

For more information visit www.facilicom.co.uk 

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Thanking essential workers during Living Wage Week 11/11/2020

LIVING WAGE Week takes place from 9-15 November and is a celebration of the movement to ensure people receive a fair day’s pay for their hard work. Jan-Hein Hemke, managing director of Facilicom UK, highlights the importance of ensuring people receive fair pay for their hard work during extremely challenging times.

The Living Wage is independently caluclated  to meet the cost of living, not just the government  minimum, and employers choose to pay it on a voluntary basis. This year’s celebration is particularly focused on thanking those who have committed to paying essential staff a real Living Wage during an extemely challenging year. New rates will be announced on Monday 9th November.

We believe that people who are willing to work hard should be rewarded sufficiently and ensure that every single one of our employees is valued and appreciated at all times. This is why we are strong supporters of the Living Wage movement. In fact, we were a founding member of its Recognised Service Provider Scheme and were one of the first national contract cleaning companies to sign up to it. Our sister company, Trigion Security Services also actively supports the movement. 

The pandemic has brought challenging times for everyone, but one positive to come out of the situation is the conversations it has allowed us to have with clients around the often avoided topic of pay. The nation needs key workers and they need a Living Wage. Despite unprecedented issues for businesses across many sectors, we continue our commitment to pay our colleagues the Living Wage and champion the cause.  

It is easy to have these principles when things are going well, but it is a true show of character if you maintain these during a crisis. Upholding these values is important for those working on the frontline providing essential work during the pandemic. It is also vital for those who were furloughed, or on the new job support scheme, which has put many families in extremely difficult financial positions. 

Many of our cleaning operatives and security officers have been putting their own concerns to one side during the pandemic, to deal with the job at hand. From ensuring that client premises are safe and protected, to delivering vital services, like office deep cleans and touch-point sterilising. Now, more than ever, it is vital that these colleagues are rewarded fairly for their efforts. 

Over the years, we have seen first-hand what a difference paying the Living Wage makes. From improving relationships between employer and colleague, to ensuring a better standard of living for our people, it has been one of the most positive initiatives that we have adopted. Since joining the Living Wage scheme, we have seen lower absenteeism, increased staff retention, and higher levels of job fulfilment. This, in turn, has led to better teamwork and service provision, and greater client satisfaction. 

By becoming a Living Wage employer or a recognised service provider, you can reap the benefits of visibly being a responsible business, help the Foundation to spread awareness, and encourage other companies to join the movement. Let’s keep the momentum going and give our key workers the recognition and pay they deserve. 

To find out more visit www.livingwage.org.uk/living-wage-week

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Facilicom secures contract extension with the Open University 09/11/2020

CLEANING AND soft services provider, Facilicom UK & Ireland, has secured a new one-year contract with The Open University (OU). This follows a decade-long relationship with the supported open learning and research experts.

The cleaning specialist began working at OU’s Nottingham site over 10 years ago, delivering hygiene and window cleaning services. Facilicom has since won contracts, over a number of years, with seven additional regional sites. This includes its headquarters in Milton Keynes and sites in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. All these sites are included in the contract extension. There are approximately 60 operatives working at the headquarters, and 25 operatives working across the regional sites. 

The contract extension was awarded due to Facilicom’s outstanding service delivery over the past decade, and more recently, their rapid response to COVID-19 hygiene measures across all sites. 

Jan-Hein Hemke, managing director of Facilicom, said: “We are delighted to be extending our contract with The Open University across multiple sites in the UK. We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the organisation for many years now, and feel we have developed a real partnership approach to cleaning operations.  

“This contract extension really is testament to the hard work and dedication of our teams across the country.  

"They have consistently delivered the highest standards of cleaning, and more recently have adapted to the challenges that COVID-19 has brought, to ensure each campus is safe and hygienic. I would like to thank everyone involved in securing this relationship for another year, and we very much look forward to working with the teams at The Open University in the coming months.”

For more information visit www.facilicom.co.uk 

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Facilicom to exhibit at Cleaning Interactive 18/09/2020

CLEANING AND soft services provider, Facilicom UK & Ireland, is set to share its innovative approach to cleaning services this autumn, at the UK’s first ever high-tech virtual cleaning event.

Between 6 and 7 October, Facilicom will exhibit at Cleaning Interactive, to showcase its commitment to innovation, wellbeing and Hostmanship – the firm’s award-winning approach to employee training.
 
Facilicom will also present its COVID-19 infection control support tools including fogging, protective screens, and thermal screening cameras. It has also launched a new service, – SAFER Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) surface testing regime, which has been designed to instil confidence amongst clients as people return back to the workplace.     
 
Facilicom joins the line-up of leading hygiene specialists at Cleaning Interactive, which has been created by CBI VR Experiences Limited, to enable the cleaning industry to safely and effectively engage with valuable new customers whilst showcasing their innovations.
 
Jan-Hein Hemke, managing director of Facilicom UK & Ireland, said: “We are incredibly excited to be involved in the UK’s first ever high-tech virtual cleaning event. With many live events still on hold due to the pandemic, this is the perfect way for us to continue to engage with new and existing customers, while celebrating all that is great about the cleaning and hygiene industry. 
 
“Not only will we be showcasing our range of cleaning services, including our most recent COVID-19 support tools, but we will also give an insight into how we operate as a business, placing innovation, wellbeing and training at the forefront of what we do. We look forward to welcoming guests to our virtual stand.”  
 
For more information visit www.facilicom.co.uk
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Colleague welfare must be a priority as lockdown eases 09/09/2020

As the UK lockdown continues to ease, Jan-Hein Hemke from Facilicom UK & Ireland, shares the importance of safeguarding colleague welfare as we transition to a ‘new normal’.

The past few months have been unprecedented, as the Coronavirus pandemic has swept our globe. From the tragic loss of lives to the impact on the economy and employment, the effects of the virus have been felt by all.

COVID-19 has changed the face of our society beyond recognition and its impact on our wellbeing is hardly surprising. In fact, a recent study by the Institute of Fiscal Studies has revealed that mental health has been hard hit by lockdown, with a quarter of respondents reporting at least one concern since restrictions came into force.

However, in recent weeks we have seen a string of announcements from the government, as they continue to loosen the strict limitations put in place back in March 2020. From industries such as retail and hospitality given the go-ahead to reopen, to the increased freedom for those who have been shielding, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel.

Although this is welcome news for most, it is understandable that some are anxious about what these changes may bring. For those who have been shielding for several months, the thought of leaving the house can be daunting.

Others, who have been working from home since lockdown began, are nervous about returning to the office environment. And of course, people who have been furloughed, essentially loosing 20 to 30% of their income overnight, are concerned about their future.

While it has been encouraging to see so many businesses stepping up their employee welfare efforts (one of the positives to come out of such a difficult situation), it is vital that this support doesn’t start to dwindle. It has never been more important to maintain this momentum and be there for our colleagues during this period of transition. 

As an employer that has always placed the wellbeing of our colleagues at the heart of our business, we already had many procedures in place to help them feel reassured and valued. Here are just a few ways that we have been looking out for our colleagues’ wellbeing over the past few months, which we will continue to follow moving forwards:

It’s good to talk
Our Employee Assistance Programme, for example, has been in place for many years, offering 24/7 access to a trusted, compassionate health and wellbeing counselling service. We know that this provision can really make a difference to those that are struggling, either with workplace stress or pressures at home. We continue to urge all of our teams to take full advantage of this during these difficult times.

Feeling part of the family 
Our ‘mental health first-aiders’ have been keeping in touch with our colleagues who aren’t currently working on-site, contacting them once a week to ensure they still feel part of the company. We’re consistently checking how they are coping and discussing ways we can support them, from offering reassurance about their position to motivating them to help their local community through volunteering.   

Bridging the furlough gap
We have also tried to ease the financial burden that furlough brings, by trying to bridge the gap between the government funding and their usual wage. We do not underestimate the impact that losing 20% to 30% income overnight can have, which is why we have put provisions in place to ensure that almost all of our colleagues still receive 100% pay whilst on this leave of absence. 

During challenging times, it goes without saying that people need more support than ever, but employee welfare shouldn’t be reserved for a time of crisis. It must be a consistent effort that is engrained into the heart of your business. After all, if you take care of your employees, they will, in turn, take good care of your business for years to come. 

Jan-Hein Hemke is managing director of Facilicom UK & Ireland.

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Return-to-work pack supports workers 10/07/2020

Contract cleaning and services provider, Facilicom, has launched a care pack to help its customers ensure their post-lockdown return to work is safe and hygienic. 

The packs, which include hand sanitiser, latex gloves, multi-surface wipes and 3ply face masks, are available to all existing and new customers. Price per box is available upon request.

The items can be used to protect workers from potential infection risks, as well as to maintain a clean and hygienic workspace, from cleansing surfaces to sterilising keyboards. 

Jan Hein Hemke, managing director of Facilicom, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of continuously maintaining high levels of cleanliness, at home, in the workplace and in public spaces. As many businesses hope to return to work in the near future, they need to ensure that their social distancing, cleaning practices and hygiene etiquette are strengthened to prevent further spread of infection. 

“Alongside a robust cleaning provision - delivered by a team of specialists – businesses should also be looking to their employees to play their part in reducing the risk of further outbreaks, by keeping their workstations as sterile as possible. Our return to work care packs provide colleagues with everything they need to keep spaces clean and hygienic at all times.”

To request your Return-to-Work care pack, or for additional cleaning needs, contact Facilicom on 0208 308 5050 or email info@facilicomservices.co.uk 

www.facilicom.co.uk 

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New helpdesk portal 03/03/2020

Facilicom UK has launched a new online helpdesk portal to help customers and cleaning operatives work harmoniously together. 

The contract cleaning and services provider has teamed up with Innovise to be the first to trail their new workforce management and service delivery web portal, which will seamlessly connect customers with Facilicom. 

Facilicom’s ‘Helpdesk’ is one central point where customers can log an issue or request and monitor its progress. Site managers access these raised requests and respond directly. This can include requesting replenishment, additional services and alerting management to an issue. It enables customers to see when a cleaning operative has provided services, which tasks they have completed and at what time, as well as monitor a stock order request and make queries to their service provider. 

Users can also submit a request for a quote if additional work is required, enabling Facilicom’s operations team to respond quickly and progress the activity.   

Following a successful trial, Faciliom UK is now offering the service to its entire client base free of charge. Customers can also integrate the new portal with their existing customer relationship management (CRM) system for a small cost. 

Jan Hein Hemke, managing director of Facilicom UK, said: “We receive an overwhelming amount of queries and requests from clients on a daily basis, so we were keen to streamline the process to make it more efficient for both customers and our operations team. 

“The new client portal will allow customers to log-in and track the status of their cleaning operation at any given time, from any location. It makes the relationship we have with our customers truly transparent, giving them peace of mind that their work is being completed to the very highest standards. We have had some excellent feedback from customers so far and are delighted to now offer this service to our entire client base free of charge.”

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Facilicom UK appoints new director of sales and marketing 02/03/2020

Contract cleaning and services provider, Facilicom UK, has appointed Lucy Lott as its new director of sales and marketing. 

Lucy joined the team in January, bringing with her over 20 years in the cleaning and FM industry, having previously held roles with ISS, Carlisle and Carillion. She will be responsible for growing the contract cleaning business in new sectors, as well as overseeing marketing strategy, raising the profile of the Facilicom UK brand nationally. 

Jan-Hein Hemke, managing director of Facilicom UK, said: “We are delighted to welcome Lucy to Facilicom. With experience in both the FM and security markets, and a shared passion for driving innovation and investing in people, she is a perfect addition to our team. It is an exciting time for Facilicom, as we gear up to grow into further sectors and Lucy will play a key role in this next stage, developing key relationships with our existing and new clients.”

Lucy Lott added: “Facilicom UK has an excellent reputation in the FM sector, and I really admire the people-focused drive of the company. I am thrilled to join such an established team. I’m very much looking forward to growing our customer base in new sectors, working with partners that share our values and are committed to paying the Living Wage to their staff and suppliers.”

www.facilicom.co.uk 

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Stay agile in uncertain times 09/09/2019

The professional cleaning sector is fiercely competitive, and with the current uncertainty around Brexit, and the pressures of increasing rates of pay and operational costs, the industry faces challenging times. Jan-Hein Hemke, MD of Facilicom UK, explains why agility is the lifeboat that will keep the industry afloat in the coming years

In today’s political and economic landscape, cleaning companies, and their operatives, are having to fight harder than ever to win and retain work. With the looming Brexit decision, and rising operational costs threatening to stifle the industry’s growth, we need to equip our employees with the skills to adapt and thrive in the ever-changing market. 

The challenges

As the nation remains under a cloud of uncertainty at the hands of Brexit, many cleaning companies are concerned about future employment restrictions. The industry currently employs more than 500,000 people in the UK alone, many of which are EU nationals. In fact, a recent ONS study showed that around 25% of cleaning employees in the UK don’t have British nationality. Companies that rely on non-British nationals could find themselves with a smaller workforce and may also struggle to secure new employees.

Rises in the National Minimum Wage, and increasing operational costs, also put added pressure on the bottom line. How do we remain competitive and an attractive employer if our profit margins are under such stress?

The art of agility 

As competition in the market continues to grow, we need to find ways to make our offer stand out from the crowd. At Facilicom UK, we do this by investing in our colleagues to make them agile and indispensable. From ensuring they are highly skilled to deliver their role, to training them in added-value services, enabling them to adapt to changing client requirements – it all comes from a solid foundation of learning and development. 

To make sure we can consistently exceed client expectations, we gear our training to both the operational excellence and the human, social aspect of the job. We offer each of our colleagues coaching in ‘Hostmanship’ - the art of making people feel welcome. Good Hostmanship encompasses areas such as customer care, quality, friendship and hospitality. It begins with a welcoming and open attitude to the people and situations we encounter, and can be as simple as assisting with directions, helping on reception or even just offering a friendly smile. It is understanding that the smallest positive action can brighten somebody’s day. We believe this is a significant way that we can add value to our clients, while also enriching our colleagues’ wellbeing. 

Hostmanship helps boost our colleagues’ self-esteem and build their confidence to communicate and engage with their peers and clients effectively. This is important as, in many settings, especially in the leisure, retail and hospitality sectors, cleaning operatives are often ‘front of house,’ working within a customer’s view. From the visitor’s perspective, everyone who works in a facility is part of the same team and should be approachable and knowledgeable about the place they work. It is therefore logical to develop and embed people skills across the entire workforce – from management level through to cleaning operatives. 

This training goes above and beyond the basic skills required to deliver the job. It enables our teams to add significant value to our clients. By developing and honing colleagues’ interpersonal skills, a caring, yet professional, approach is introduced to our work. 

In return, colleagues are more motivated and committed to their tasks, have a better understanding of a client’s needs and are more likely to engage in issues rather than just doing the minimum amount of work.

We firmly believe that investing in our people will reap huge rewards when it comes to retaining and winning new business. After all, without a happy, effective and loyal workforce, our operations would grind to a halt.

www.facilicom.co.uk

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