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From Where We Sit

The new key success factors: Cleanliness and health and safety practices

Jessie Carpio

Having studied and practiced management over many years, I seldom come across companies stating that among their key success factors (KSFs) are cleanliness and health and safety practices. At most, these are practiced, but neither expressly recognized nor stated as KSFs (e.g., there are clean rooms in semiconductor manufacturing plants, and there are health and safety standards for food processing).

Under the new normal, cleanliness and health and safety practices shall play a prominent role, and this should be clearly communicated to stakeholders, especially to customers. This is particularly critical to companies in the service industry, such as hotels and restaurants, and even in professional services, such as accountants and lawyers.

Hotels should emphasize their cleanliness policies — not just how they change their linens and sheets, but more important, how they disinfect their rooms and other high-touch or high-use areas, such as swimming pools, gyms and restaurants. Hotel staff should observe cleanliness and sanitation. Health and sanitary items (i.e., alcohol and sanitizers) that were present before the enhanced community quarantine should remain visible and accessible. I was intrigued when, after I “Googled” the Hilton hotel chain, I read: “Hilton is defining a new standard of hotel cleanliness.” The article said Hilton was partnering with Reckitt Benckiser, which makes Lysol disinfectants, and the Mayo Clinic to elevate its hygiene protocols, from check in to check out.

Restaurants and dining establishments should also elevate their health and safety protocols. While most restaurants have adapted to the curbside pickup and delivery models, they should anticipate the reopening of their dining areas soon. Guests will be few and wary during the first few days and weeks, and maybe even months, as they continue to observe physical distancing. However, diners should be reassured right away on the health regime implemented by restaurants.

Similar to those in hotel operations, cleanliness and sanitation practices should be clearly manifested by chefs and cooks in the way their food is prepared and cooked, as well as by waiters and servers in the way the food is served and the dishes are cleared out. One chief executive officer of a restaurant chain said standards of cleanliness would be higher once they reopen the dining areas: food preparation would be more stringent, waiters would be required to wash their hands thoroughly and regularly every time before they deliver the food or clear the tables. All restaurant staff would be required to wear gloves.

Professional service organizations, such as accounting and law firms, have to observe health and safety measures to avoid infecting their people when they visit their clients’ offices or premises. One best practice is conducting a health check survey, during which each staff member is asked about his or her potential vulnerabilities. Vulnerable employees must continue working from home. Organizations should consider providing a transport system where employees are not exposed to others during their ride to and from the office. Work at the office must be rotated or segregated into two batches: one set of identified personnel would work for a specific period and another would work for another period. This work arrangement makes it easier for organizations to do contact tracing, should one person be infected, and easier to isolate and test one batch of personnel. Other best practices include maintaining physical distancing at work, where safe distance areas are clearly marked, and regularly disinfecting work areas.

This pandemic has drastically changed customer behaviors and expectations. Thus, organizations have to adopt new business models, metrics and KSFs.

Jessie Carpio is a partner and division head of Audit & Assurance at P&A Grant Thornton. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading audit, tax, advisory and outsourcing firms in the Philippines, with 23 partners and more than 900 staff members. We’d like to hear from you. Tweet us: @GrantThorntonPH; “Like” us on Facebook: P&A Grant Thornton; and email your comments to or For more information, visit


As published in The Manila Times, dated 06 May 2020