Prepare for International Housekeepers / EVS Week September 13-19

IEHA executive director offers his thoughts on the importance of the week

September 1, 2020

Like other 2020 events, Environmental Services Week (EVSW) / International Housekeepers Week (IHW), September 13-19, will look different this year. But even though there will be no in-person events, IEHA, a Division of ISSA, is planning to recognize EVS workers and housekeepers.

Michael Patterson

Michael Patterson

Michael Patterson, executive director of IEHA, a 1,300-plus professional member organization for persons employed in facility housekeeping at the management level, answered CMM’s questions about the importance of the upcoming week.

CMM: Why do you think it is important to celebrate International EVSW/IHW?

Patterson: It is very important that our housekeeping or environmental staff be recognized for the invaluable work that they perform in their facilities all over the world. In this time of COVID-19, they are playing a vital role in helping to keep everyone safe through proper cleaning and disinfecting.

CMM: Does IEHA have any events planned September 13-19?

Patterson: IEHA will post messages daily to thank cleaners via social media and our intranet. We will also reward 15 frontline staff with a one-year membership and scholarship to take our Certified Environmental Services Specialist (CESS) course at no cost through IEHA’s learning management system.

COVID-19 has curtailed any in-person events. In past years, there have been formal ceremonies at chapter meetings. All members are encouraged to include the celebration in their budgets. This has generally been embraced by facility administrators. However, we will continue to push our members all over the world to celebrate and recognize their staff during this special week.

CMM: How can facilities recognize their housekeepers during that week?

Patterson: They need to communicate to everyone in the facility the importance of this week. A thank you from management and staff goes a long way. A different specialty treat such as a breakfast or lunch every day and tangible rewards at the end of the week will tell workers how important they are to everyone.

CMM: When was IHW founded? Has IEHA been involved from the beginning?

Patterson: IHW/EVSW was founded in 1985. It began as a directive from an IEHA president to recognize staff in all facilities involved in housekeeping. We are now celebrating our 35th year of this important week.

CMM: What are the objectives of the week?

Patterson: The objective has and always will be to celebrate our heroes in housekeeping and environmental services. The housekeeping and environmental services frontline employees are so important and should be recognized for their contributions. They are the blue-collar work force that truly make a difference by keeping buildings clean and properly disinfected.

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