Several readers wrote asking about speed and productivity when it comes to vacuuming, sweeping, damp mopping and even automated equipment.  


Response:  When one thinks of productivity they need to take into account the various aspects in their interpretation of this concept.  


Productivity incorporates both efficiency (how long it takes to perform a task) and effectiveness (how thoroughly is the task performed).  We oftentimes utilize Square Feet/Hour as a productivity measurement.  For instance, if one can “clean” an office building (at night with minimum tenant and visitor traffic) at 6,500 SF/Hour, the key word is clean.  What tasks and frequencies are involved in cleaning this building?  How often and how thorough is the vacuuming?  How often and thorough are the hard floors maintained?  How often and how thorough are the rest rooms serviced?  Is “skip cleaning” and other short cuts allowed or even required to stay within budget?  The average of 6,500 SF/Hour means that vacuuming may be around 10,000 SF/Hour whereas cleaning rest rooms may only achieve 600 SF/Hour due to the different tasks involved.  


Let’s consider vacuuming with either an upright vacuum cleaner or a back pack system.  For an extreme comparison, let’s consider the old fashioned upright with a cloth bag for the low end of efficiency and effectiveness compared to a well maintained backpack system.  The upright’s only redeeming quality is that it was cheap to buy while its negatives include costs of low productivity as well as high maintenance.  The upright vacuum cleaner has a beater bar with brushes and a belt that require regular servicing.  It also should be dumped often to minimize the risks of carpel tunnel syndrome from pushing the heavy unit back and forth resulting in potential repetitive motion injuries.


We will continue to look at upright vacuum versus back pack systems in a future article.  


Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or