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Day Cleaning: The Social And Psychological Benefits For Janitors
Jennifer Corbett-Shramo has spent the better part of the last three decades in the contract cleaning business — and she’s long had a passion for recognizing front-line janitorial staff for the hard and often thankless work they put in making the indoor environment a better place to be.
As CEO of Innovative Cleaning Solutions of Orange County, Irvine, Calif., she preaches the benefits of day cleaning to her customers; as an industry consultant, she travels the country, educating and implementing day cleaning programs for organizations that need help transitioning from traditional cleaning programs.
Even though it may not be the norm for most customers, she has helped clients save on energy bills as well as on custodial costs by switching to day cleaning.
Some BSCs say the price of day cleaning is going to be similar or slightly higher than that of night cleaning — mainly because of the caliber of employee that is needed, one that can not only clean but communicate effectively with building occupants, and because of the ability to offer them full-time positions. In some cases, mainly in large buildings, the cost of cleaning can actually be decreased by eliminating day porter positions those types of facilities require.
However, in Corbett-Shramo’s experience, the price has never had to increase.
“When you merge staff, you have a redundancy in duties so there’s always the potential to have a reduction in staff,” Corbett-Shramo says. “With the reduction in staff, you can either take those funds and increase wages for the crews, or you can provide a cost reduction for the client.”
Depending where a BSC is located in the United States and whether they’re working with union companies, the hours of cleaning impact wage differentials, so about 30 percent of the time, BSCs do have to pay more for workers, she says. But that is offset by a staff hours reduction.
Any customer in any type of building can glean the benefits of day cleaning, but large facilities assume relatively better savings when it comes to labor and energy, she says.
“I would say pretty much anything under 75,000 square feet is slightly more difficult — when you get into a smaller building you don’t have a lot of common area cleaning. You have a lot more density cleaning and so the crews are cleaning more slowly… And of course, the potential energy savings are prorated based on square footage, so it’s not as magnanimous if you’re saving $400 a month in energy costs versus thousands of dollars.”
Cleaning companies that move to day cleaning witness a positive transformation in their staff, says Corbett-Shramo. Raising the awareness of building occupants to the cleaning that is going on around them has a direct impact on not only how they are perceived, but also how they perceive themselves.
“When you go to day cleaning, all of a sudden, there’s an understated expression of appreciation for people who are cleaning in the daytime, and it’s remarkable how quickly it happens, so that’s a wonderful benefit,” she says.
The level of respect that develops between the crew and the tenants is elevated. Occupants are more aware of picking up after themselves and less likely to leave inconsiderate messes, and janitors get the added benefit of social interaction during their shifts.
Tenant interaction is one area of training that is integral to the success of a day cleaning program, Corbett-Shramo says. Staff need to learn how to clean around people while still respecting their space and privacy, and need to know at least the basics in communicating greetings and cleaning-related questions. Whereas janitors used to be able to keep their head down and go about their business without having to socially interact, that behavior is not acceptable for day cleaners. Not only do they need to act the part, but they need to look it, with clean, professional uniforms and higher-end janitorial carts.
“They’re a integral part of the operation going on in that building — they now make a difference and they need to be proud of that and own it,” she says.
Day Cleaning: A Night-And-Day Difference
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