When looking back at my 2019 Year in Review blog post, I found the introductory sentence read, “What a year it has been for ServiceMaster by Stratos.” I couldn’t help but chuckle. With all that 2020 has presented our organization, 2019 seems like a vacation. When I crafted that piece a year ago, I could have never in a million years predicted what was ahead.
This year started off with big plans. 2020 marks 40 years of providing professional cleaning services to customers for Stratos, so we were all very excited. The leadership team began dreaming up how we could celebrate the milestone with our team members, customers and partners. Visions of catering spreads and guest lists danced in our heads.
We also began reflecting on all the valuable lessons we had learned over the past four decades, one of which was that information is currency. At the time, we had no idea we were weeks away from being given an opportunity to put crucial information into play in an effort to help create healthy and safe environments for customers, and thus save lives. God knows what He’s doing, doesn’t He? Our belief that some information is more valuable than money proved true once again.
In mid-March, COVID-19 made its way into the Mid-South. Overnight, Stratos’ business philosophy of being flexible was put into the spotlight. The pandemic gave, and continues to give, our team a larger opportunity to live out what we have always been capable of. Our event and venue, and Shelby County Schools cleaning teams saw drastic changes to cleaning procedures, while others who serviced facilities that transitioned to remote work were assigned to new job sites. The latter, further proves why we coined the phrase logistical people business back in 2018.
The pandemic has increased our focus on one of our core values as well, consistent and intentional communication, since we are unable to meet in person like we used to. Effecting communication is and always has been the key to the health of our organization, and oftentimes to the health of our service partners. Whether it is phone calls, text messages, newsletters, internal portals or the cherished, masked face-to-face interactions, we take every opportunity presented to engage with our service partners. At the end of the day, pandemic or not, it is still our goal to take great care of our customers and their employees, as well as our people – the lifeblood of our organization.
In closing, it has been refreshing to see the life-saving cleaning and disinfecting techniques and solutions we use on the job be applied at home by service partners, too. Take Pamela who provides cleaning and disinfection services St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, for example.
“I’ve learned a lot of things on the job that I’ve started doing at home,” Pamela said. “I go home and I take what I’ve learned here and I do those things at home to protect me and my family. I tell my grandkids to wear their masks and wash their hands all the time.”
At Stratos, we’re doing so much more than disinfecting and cleaning workspaces. Our service partners who are on the front lines are saving lives. I’ll let Ms. Charlotte close us out. Take care and be safe. May 2021 be a more joyful, peaceful and healthy year for us all.
“I think people appreciate us more because they see how important that we are for them as far as keeping things clean and sanitized. Everywhere I go now I hear, ‘Thank you for your service.’ It’s an eye-opener for everyone. It’s not just cleaning. They see how much of a job we are doing now.”