Day cleaning is a term that has been around in the cleaning industry for many years, with experts and consultants touting its benefits and advantages, predicting it would be the wave of the future. However, adoption of day cleaning programs, with the exception of buildings housing certain federal government agencies that require daytime cleaning for security reasons, hasn’t been as prevalent in the greater commercial marketplace as anticipated.

That’s OK, though, say building service contractors, as day cleaning is a huge culture shift for both cleaning staff as well as building occupants. The change truly is like night and day, and it should be treated as such. While there are many benefits to moving cleaning duties to the day shift, there can also be a host of problems if the programs aren’t strategically implemented.

Ensuring Cleanliness

For many years, KBM Facility Solutions, San Diego, has serviced facilities that needed day porters, those that were high-security and required an escort for the safety of janitors and the security of the building’s activities, and those that requested full-service day cleaning. Homeowners associations, high-security buildings and sports facilities are examples of ideal day cleaning customers — and it’s only in the past few years that other types of facilities have requested day cleaning, says Paul Condie, director of operations.

The recession has forced facility and property managers to look for ways to cut cleaning costs, and for large facilities that have day porters in addition to janitors at night, day cleaning has become a plausible option. But it’s one that requires pragmatism from both the customer and the service provider.  

“When we hear someone say, ‘We want you to switch to day cleaning,’ our first thought is, ‘What does this do to us from a liability standpoint?’” Condie says.

Not only is safety a huge concern, but so is the actual cleanliness his company is able to provide during the day, and in his opinion, the quality of cleaning is just not going to be as good as it can be when cleaners are able to work without occupants in the building.

“From purely a cleaning perspective, my concern is, when we clean during the day and the building is also full of people during the day, we’re not creating as healthy of an environment as we can when we do it the traditional way,” Condie says.

To alleviate these concerns, KBM has developed a form of hybrid cleaning for accounts that use a combination of day and night cleaning to accomplish a truly clean building. This way, customers and janitors experience the benefits of day cleaning, yet the one big negative — quality of cleaning — is addressed as well.

Extending some of the more major work into the early parts of the evening can give a building a well-rounded day cleaning program.

“We like to keep floor- and carpet-cleaning activities in the evening, just because there’s so much liability that we have,” Condie says. “If we can, we like to have the restroom at least toward the end of the day, maybe janitors are in the building a couple hours later so that when people come in [in the morning], it’s fresh and the restrooms don’t have pathogens growing in them overnight.”

Day cleaning is definitely a challenge for BSCs, and it’s not for every customer, but those accounts that switch over require a commitment to communication and management to get the program off the ground. Communication with building occupants prior to and throughout the implementation process is an essential component of a successful program.

“Day cleaning can be successful, but it’s going to require quite a bit of coordination,” Condie says. “If you’re willing to work with the janitorial staff and kind of provide some means for them to get through and accomplish their work, it’s a win-win.”

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