The following steps must be considered:
- Have I identified the level of clean that is acceptable
- Based on the square footage of my facility, have I taken consideration all of the variables?
- What are my limitations on cleaning in areas?
- What type of cleaning method will I use (zone, team, etc.)
- Will I have access to the capital equipment I need? How does it fit into my plan?
- Have I identified new labor reducing systems and plan implementation on all floors?
- Will I be supplementing any cleaning process with outside contractors?
- What is my plan after all of the above is taken into consideration?
- Can I get a “quick” reference if my plan has the correct amount of FTE’s (full time employees)?
Level of Clean
One of the most important factors to consider in determining staff numbers is the desired level of clean. You must first evaluate or have a third-party evaluation on the cleanliness of your facility, and this will give you the starting point. Everything you do from there will properly staff your facility. A lot of managers consider this as a process improvement along the way — it never works.
What is a Level of Clean?
- Facility Site Survey – The site surveys are designed to get a clear picture of your facility and the needs of employees to maintain the desired level of cleanliness. It also uncovers the variables that many overlook when staffing a facility. It, in essence, gives you an overview for discussion purposes with your existing and new hires.
- Evaluation & Recommendation Process – The second step after reviewing the site survey is to now focus on the key areas (like your floors where 65% of your labor will be utilized). Take pictures of the level of appearance and determine a smarter way to enhance appearance at a reduced cost. Each critical area should be evaluated to determine any process changes that reduce labor and costs. What this does is ties everyone’s thoughts of cleanliness together, so that the goals are clear and attainable with the proper staffing requirements.
It is sometimes hard to identify variables that will throw off your staffing levels, but you must find them and re-allocate your labor. What are some variables that can cause labor pain and be disruptive?
- The educational sector has some that are often overlooked. The custodial staff often has set-ups for extracurricular activities such as sporting events, PTA meetings, etc. that may not be calculated in the overall labor picture
- There are cross-industry facilities that have their custodians pick up supplies. The travel time is rarely figured into the labor equation let alone the liability of sending your personnel out to get supplies at what may appear to be a lower price
- Usually, any deemed maintenance function like painting, plumbing, lighting replacement etc. are also not usually fit into the custodial staffing budget
Some areas are just off limits during the time of operation. Many realize that and have weighted staffing heavily in the evening hours. It is surprising how many additional productive hours you can get from a day porter when you investigate the change in what can or cannot be done. A prime example is “Day Cleaning”, and there are many job functions with the technology on the market today to shift some of the burdens to days, thus enhancing your productivity and re-positioning staffing tasks. When you have limitations on cleaning times, it’s important to step back, re-evaluate, and prescribe change. A lot of limitations can blow your budget if you are not careful.
Methods of Cleaning
It is also important to map out your method to determine staffing levels. Here are several methods that can adversely affect your labor budget:
One single employee completes all tasks for a designated floor or area of a building. This system actually gives employees a sense of ownership because they are responsible for a specific section. It also helps the employee become more efficient as they begin to understand the nuances of their specific area.
Most often, teams consist of two, three or more workers who work individually to complete cleaning tasks in a precise sequence. Work is then organized in a sequential route. The work is systematized and structured with cleaning times allotted for each task. Cleaning staff is often taught specialized skills and focus on one or two tasks.
Gang cleaning has cleaning workers working in an area at once, and there is little accountability, structure, or responsibility to this method. A time to completion is often assigned by supervisors with the individual tasks left to the group. This system is usually used during construction site cleaning and summer cleaning in schools.
Blended cleaning is a combination of various cleaning strategies to complete specific scope of work. Any of the various strategies could be used to accommodate any unique conditions.
Daytime cleaning offers economic benefits in areas such as building security, accountability, energy savings, communications, quality of work, and reduced turnover. Cleaners perform tasks such as the cleaning of entrances, restroom cleaning and stocking, vacuuming, break room cleaning, emptying trash, and most other cleaning activities. Daytime cleaning may utilize specialist, zone, collaborative, or a combination of system designs to accomplish the scope of work.
Cooperative cleaning is defined as building occupants working together with the custodial operation to create efficiencies that allow the cleaning worker to complete a cleaning task in less time. Occupants (often students) remove clutter, wipe their feet at entrances, and notify workers of serious spills that cannot wait for routine maintenance.
Some plans require outside support to offset the need for additional FTE’s. I would suggest you do your due diligence before proceeding. Usually, the outside add is for stripping and waxing floors, cleaning carpets, bathroom floors, etc. It is important to set the expectations and desired appearance you require on the front end. It may also be to your advantage to use any floor maintenance equipment so as to maintain a high appearance levels at all times.
I would map out my plan and then back in the labor required to achieve the level of appearance that coordinates with my budgetary numbers. If you address all of the questions on staffing above you will find savings and provide a clear vision for what is expected.