As reported by the World Federatoin of Building Service Contractors, a mild trend toward increased janitorial budgets is underway, as facility managers across America acknowledge the importance of effective cleaning for tenant health and productivity, according to a study commissioned by ServiceMaster Clean. The research shows, however, that facility managers are experiencing mediocre service levels from their janitorial providers, and will likely seek enhanced performance to justify their investment.

The ServiceMaster Clean “Office Cleanliness Monitor 2005” surveyed 330 facility managers and 215 office workers in the U.S. to explore beliefs, attitudes and experiences related to office cleanliness and janitorial services. The Monitor found that 43 percent of facility managers reported a janitorial budget increase in the past year, with only 14 percent experiencing a decrease. Of the facility managers who were surveyed, 61 percent report no corresponding change in their task schedule in 2005.

Although a mild trend toward more robust budgets is developing, facility managers’ confidence level in their janitorial companies is not overwhelming. More than half (53%) rejected the notion that their janitorial provider exceeded their expectations. The Office Cleanliness Monitor found that many tenants are assuming some responsibility for overall building maintenance from facility managers. More than one in five tenants (21%) are performing more of their own cleaning/maintenance than in the past, while virtually all facility managers (97%) instruct their janitorial provider to only clean “open areas” on desks and not move clutter. These trends suggest that there is a vital role for tenants, regardless of janitorial budget, to contribute to clean and healthy facilities.

“Office workers themselves are saying that offices need to be cleaner. In fact, only 24 percent believe their office is as clean as it should be, and are starting to take their own steps to fix that,” said Gary Bauer, vice president, ServiceMaster Clean Business Services. “From the research,we are seeing an increase in the number of employees who are straightening items in their workspace and wiping down surfaces with germ-killing substances. Office worker disenchantment is filtering up to building management, and it likely represents one reason for this year’s budget increases and why a majority of facility managers express some reservation about their janitorial companies.”