Holiday Handicaps

Three maintenance issues to watch out for this holiday season

There’s nothing like the end-of-year holidays to bring a sense of cheer. But the season also has its own set of challenges for commercial property management – from an influx of seasonal workers unaccustomed to company protocols, to that perhaps slightly too boisterous office party. For a safe, productive and enjoyable season, consider these key tips for worry-free maintenance

No one can deny the cheery charm of holiday decorations. But they also pose serious safety and management concerns, particularly fire hazards. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 400 people are killed and 1,650 are injured due to holiday fire-related incidents. So thoroughly inspect all electric decorations, smoke detectors and fire safety equipment, and be sure electrical outlets are not overloaded. Avoid real foliage, and make sure your chosen artificial greenery is flame resistant.

Less expected, however, is the difficulty cleaning of holiday ornaments. Anyone who has taken decorations from storage knows how artificial trees and garlands can become a nightmare of allergy-inducing dust mites. They also attract dust while displayed through the long holiday season. Consider using such decorations sparingly, and have an established strategy to keep them clean and attractive. Also be wary of glitzy ornaments vulnerable to shedding, such as tinsel and glitter-encrusted objects. Glitter in particular can be a clean surface’s worst enemy, as anyone with a fourth grader can attest.

Any professional team can troubleshoot everyday spills and stains. But the season’s series of festivities, from Halloween right down to New Year’s, can intensify these issues. Think spilled, sticky party punch all over the carpet, or bins full of unrecyclable materials like Styrofoam plates and cups.

Consider challenging your employees to an eco-conscious celebration. Encourage the use of reusable or recyclable materials to keep the party going. Affordable and eco-friendly disposables are now so readily available, like biodegradable plastics made from corn.

Food safety
Nothing says the holidays like food shared together. But the influx of holiday dishes can exacerbate food safety challenges. Food improperly stored is a likely culprit.

Regular cleaning of surfaces likely to touch food becomes more crucial than ever. Your maintenance team must take extra caution in using cleaning materials without toxic residues. Harsh cleansers, such as chlorine bleach and ammonia-based products, are usually unnecessary, and often have significant consequences for our health and the environment. Be sure your team is using certified green cleaning products. Green Seal, EcoLogo, DfE, and GREENGUARD are all excellent and reliable brands.

With these recommendations in mind, here’s to a wonderful (and safe) holiday!