Singapore—Cleanliness is important at all times, but especially so during a pandemic. In the last few months, we’ve seen our lives upended in all sorts of ways. No one predicted that hygiene and sanitation would be such an essential part of our everyday lives, not even the experts themselves, who say that the disinfection of our different living and working spaces is now part of our new normal.
TISG interviewed 33-year-old Joel Lim Wai Meng, the Managing Director of Getz Cleanz Pte Ltd. The company started out with three cleaning staff in 2017 and now has nearly 70 people in its employ. Get Cleanz started out with ad hoc cleaning, but quickly moved to commercial and office building cleaning, making sure to tailor their services to their clients’ specific needs.
This interview was lightly edited for clarity.
TISG: How is Get Cleanz doing its part in fighting the pandemic?
Joel: We are an NEA-approved and certified disinfection company, with up to five teams trained specially for cleaning and disinfection works (both with preventive and suspected/confirmed cases) on 25-hour standby with a hotline available.
To give back to our customers and to society, we are providing cleaning services at a discounted rate plus complimentary (preventive) disinfection service and hand sanitizers to customers as we know many are going through a tough time now.
We are also supporting dormitory operators and property management companies with our team of trained cleaning and disinfection crew dedicated to one specific customer, to prevent cross-contamination as much as possible.
Therefore, we are continuously looking to hire people who are retrenched at this period and we will send them for training as well as get them to undergo in-house training on the proper and correct way of using the approved disinfectant chemicals.
TISG: How does Get Cleanz spring into action when there are confirmed coronavirus cases?
Joel: We have disinfection crews on standby during the day and night. Upon activation by call, we send our disinfection team down within 3 hours to the location. This is only possible when our whole team is all ready and willing to give their all, no matter the timing when we get the call, even if it is midnight.
TISG: Since the pandemic began, how has your job changed?
We have office staff working from both their homes and office on a rotational basis weekly. We also do video conference meeting calls with all the staff.
There has been a significant increase of disinfection services compared to before. Now, more of our customers are coming to us for disinfection in addition to cleaning services.
Personally, most of the I’m time working from home unless otherwise necessary. I’ve even done hands-on cleaning during this period as we do not want our older cleaners to come into any single chance of contracting the coronavirus at their work premises.
TISG: What have been your biggest challenges during this time?
I would say that our biggest challenge is keeping hold of our existing older cleaners and paying their salary and CPF during this period, even while they are not working, as we know they have financial difficulty.
Therefore, I put in place no salary for all directors of the company for three months starting from April 20 through June 20. We will analyze the situation and adapt accordingly to the government’s action to deal with this pandemic to ensure that our employees and cleaners’ welfare and health are best-taken care of.
We are also ensuring that all our existing cleaners of older ages are doing fine at home and we’ve been reminding them to try not to go out and if they need any assistance from the company (e.g. providing them face mask and hand sanitizer and etc.)
TISG: What preventive measures should Singaporeans observe for their own health and safety?
We always encourage and constantly remind everyone to sanitize their hands regularly and do not go out unless for essential reasons.
Always wear your face mask when going out and either sanitize your hands regularly or wash them thoroughly with soap for at least 20 seconds.
If you feel unwell, please see a doctor immediately and do not self medicate, and always ask if everyone around you is feeling okay. If someone is feeling unwell, ask them to visit a clinic and get them checked.
TISG: Looking past the pandemic, in what ways do you think your job has changed permanently?
Currently, most of my team are working from home, and we feel that this may become a norm for at least a year in case of another pandemic outbreak. Disinfection has also become a norm service in our industry compared to before.
Now the public is focusing on disinfection more so than before the pandemic happened. This may become a permanent state where all the public, including businesses, will go for disinfection services more than our cleaning services.
Disinfection may become a norm in the future, and the world will see disinfection as very important. So currently our industry must level up to prepare and counter such problems in case another outbreak were to happen, all of us must be prepared to fight the battle. —/TISG