One can’t talk about staff workload without also addressing the products and equipment being used within the department. That which is used to clean will have a large impact on how quickly a job gets done.

Currently, we live in a time when there are equipment or cleaning chemical advancements daily. Often, these product developments contribute to environmental initiatives, improved safety and productivity.

And yes, there was time when this was not the case. Years ago, products may have been safe for both workers and the environment, but did not get the job done. Today, product and equipment advancements can result in big rewards for departments.

Have you implemented a green cleaning program within your custodial department? Do you know that doing so can be a big contributor to increased productivity? Here’s an example of what I mean:

Situation: The custodial department is now responsible for cleaning some additional square footage every night. The problem is the departmental budget is not changing and you know that you are not going to be able to add any additional staff. 

As a manager, you might think you have one of two options.

First, you have the existing staff take on the additional work and ask that they do the best they can. If and when you receive complaints about cleaning quality, you can blame the increased work with no increase in staff.

Or, your other option could be to force the staff to clean it, or else.

I’d also argue that there is a third option – readdress cleaning processes.

Have you ever asked a staff member to tell you how long any individual segment of their cleaning duties takes to perform? I have found that of all the duties, dusting is the area that is the catchall.

At Disney, when isolated, the dusting time during a shift averaged between 45 and 90 minutes. This was cleaning in the traditional way and vacuuming with equipment that featured a cloth bag.

When you implement a total green cleaning system, you will reduce the daily dusting drastically. Here are some reasons why:
•    Using vacuums with HEPA/triple filtration captures the dust that would normally go back up into the air, ultimately coming to a rest on flat surfaces.
•    Using microfiber cloths to dust captures particles, rather than moving them around.
•    Incorporating the proper size entry mats captures dust before it enters the building, reducing what needs to be cleaned throughout the facility.

The point is that if we gain a half an hour a night by not having to dust as much, we are able to allocate that time to the added areas. And this is just one benefit of a green program.

As managers, it is important that we know the productivity of our staff. When it comes time to make adjustments that affect the labor, we need to have already anticipated and developed the strategy to be used. Being prepared as managers helps us to be more confident that the implemented changes could be done.

As part of the facilities group, we are the low hanging fruit when cuts are made, but historically we have been able to make adjustments and maintain quality. Make use of the technologies available. Ask your staff about some of the methods they use to successfully maintain their areas.

It’s like Theodore Roosevelt said, we can get the job done. We just need to figure out how and then do it.

RON SEGURA, founder and president of Segura & Associates, has over 45 years of experience in all segments of the cleaning industry. Ten of those years were spent overseeing the cleaning of over 4.5 million square feet for The Walt Disney Company, as well as the management of the Document Services department. With eleven years of consulting both domestic and internationally, Segura & Associates has been assisting organizations to perform at maximum efficiencies. Ron has assisted hundreds of organizations in the reengineering of their operations so that they are able to provide a high quality of service and still meet budgetary requirements.

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Custodial Workloading Does More With Less