Cleaning time -v- cleaning results

Or how to get more bangs for each of your cleaning bucks

It doesn’t matter whether your premises are cleaned in-house or the service is contracted out, one simple way to ensure you are getting the maximum value from your office cleaning service that is so simple it always gets undervalued is the work specification!

Work specification? When you initially either set up your own DIY cleaning plan for your premises or when you employed a contractor you will probably have set down on paper what you wanted cleaned and how often. Didn’t you? Well have you ever revisited it? Have you ever checked that the cleaners that you have now have even seen it?

plan

What’s my point? Well in time everything changes. Not only have your cleaners probably changed many times since you implemented your initial cleaning programme but so will have the layout of your building and probably the importance you attach to cleaning certain bits which were once considered high profile. If the work specification is up-to-date and relevant it both ensures your cleaning staff know what is expected from them but also allows you to factually respond to those clients who always want more and more squeezed into their cleaning programme but aren’t willing to pay extra for it.

We have all experienced client ‘management staff’ who glibly talk about adding extra duties onto the cleaners with the full expectation that this should quite simply just be included within the present cleaning shift. We had one retail client who decided that instead of their sales staff sweeping the sales floor daily our two staff who had a 90-minute cleaning time slot should take over the responsibility of doing it. What’s the big deal? Well if you have 180 minutes to maintain a highly polished vinyl sales floor and it’s 31,000 square feet that is one heck of a lot of extra sweeping work to absorb into your cleaning shift!

Because our work is carefully detailed by area, the regularity of cleaning determined by both Health and Safety implications and by the prestige that the client attaches to certain areas of their customers shopping experience and because we tell our clients up front how the sales floor should look just after cleaning and also at the end of their trading day we were able, in simple no-nonsense language explain to this junior manager that we were more than happy to sweep their sales floor for them but that it would require additional cleaning time of 3.25* hours every day even allowing for the fact that the floor under the fixtures didn’t need sweeping, to do it. They of course were gob smacked that it was possible for us to tell them factually what labour input was required to sweep their floor and this made their decision to keep their own staff sweeping the floor a no-brainer.

Sweeping

When your cleaning programme is detailed, timed and the expected results are known it is easy to make someone with no cleaning experience understand the ramifications of such requests so that you aren’t giving your cleaning staff totally unrealistic cleaning stints and just storing up complaints and higher labour turnover rates for the future when they struggle to manage.

Next week I will discuss how to make your specification your first step in your own quality audit system so you can prove you have done a good job.

* ISSA standard time of 9 minutes a thousand square foot with a 2’ dust mop

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