April 22, 2020

How to Improve Cleaning Staff Productivity and Efficiency

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Cleaning for building health and safety has become evermore crucial to building owners and building service contractors. Finding new ways to improve cleaning staff productivity and efficiency are key in meeting new expectations, stricter guidelines, and tougher standards. This can prove to be a daunting task but an important one because of the effects on human health and well-being.

Having a clean workspace has been shown to aid in the productivity of all staff. On the whole, a clean environment helps staff stay healthier (resulting in less sick time), keeps technology and equipment clean (less breakdowns and malfunctions), and employees often report feeling happier and more productive when their space is clean. All of these things rely on an efficient and productive cleaning staff.

Thus, businesses spend thousands of dollars a year hiring staff to keep work environments clean. And, the cleaning industry is expected to keep growing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the “janitors and building cleaners industry is expected to grow another 7% over the next ten years,” citing projections of growth that are faster than any other industry. Meaning there is increasing demand to meet growing amounts of work and stricter guidelines.

Technology is going to play a crucial role in empowering staff to be productive and efficient while meeting stricter standards and guidelines.

What is efficiency?

Being efficient means achieving the maximum level of productivity while expending the least amount of energy. Efficiency is something we all strive for; the art of getting a job done to the best of our ability with the least amount of effort. This can take practice and the development of routines and KPI’s that target detailed tasks.

Employers are faced with having to help their cleaning staff to become more efficient and productive while taking on new standards and meeting new guidelines.

Automation is a one way to increase efficiency and productivity because it is designed to expand the scope of services and capability of cleaning staff. Adding autonomous technology as part of the cleaning team allows tasks like floor cleaning to become routine and standardized across multiple teams or departments.

Autonomous equipment will follow a set route regularly and consistently, and can be more effective due to being deployed more often leading to standardized cleaning. For cleaning teams, getting to routine floor care is not always top priority and frequently spot cleaning is done. By adding Cobots, the job actually gets done better and more often. Beyond that, intelligent cleaning equipment offers real data about each route it runs. The data collected is used to increase speed and performance over time—delivering higher quality and efficient cleans.

How do you measure efficiency?

Often, we measure cleaning standards through things like appearance of a space, customer satisfaction, measuring amount of space cleaned during a set amount of time, and employee absenteeism—just to name a few.

These things can be hard to track, especially when trying to keep up with ever-changing needs depending on foot traffic, or number of people working in a space. However, measuring efficiency is incredibly important.

Setting KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) for a cleaning team allows a business to determine where improvement is needed in order to make a space cleaner and safer.

Fleet tracking technology can be very beneficial for measuring efficiency. For example, EMMA, an autonomous floor scrubber by ICE Robotics and Whiz, an autonomous vacuum sweeper by ICE Robotics and SoftBank Robotics, collect data as they work. Designed by Brain OS—the leading design company behind intelligent, self-driving technology, these robots are able to navigate complex and dynamic environments and identify obstacles that appear it their path. The robot is able to reroute, avoiding collision and all the while collects data for future work. The tracking of this data allows an employer to assess a route and come up with improved KPI’s.

How to improve staff efficiency?

Improving staff efficiency can happen in a number of ways, but here are a few important ones:

Setting clear KPI’s

Appropriate staffing

Easy access to all necessary materials

KPI’s or Key Performance Indicators are vital in holding staff accountable. Managers should outline clear expectations, cite all areas that need attention, and set benchmarks for how each task should be completed, and what the final outcome should look like. These things should all be set up and explained thoroughly during training. Even more importantly, is following up and checking in with staff regularly.

Appropriate staffing is also an important way to improve efficiency. Not only does having the right number of people for the scope of the job ensure the job will get done, it helps staff to feel supported knowing they are working on a team with a common goal. This can boost morale and overall productivity of staff.

Lastly, no job can get done without appropriate materials. Cleaning staff should not have to hunt high and low to find the supplies they need. Management should keep the supply closet stocked at all times. This allows for staff to check-in for the day and get right to work—they won’t waist time trying to find their tools.

How does technology improve workers productivity and make them more efficient?

As stated earlier, having the right size staff is important, however, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a staff of humans. Increasingly, technology is a solution to some of our largest societal demands. Adding an autonomous vacuum sweeper like Whiz or EMMA can help employers free up cleaning staff to focus on higher value tasks.

Adding a robot to the team can improve the frequency and quality of the job as well—especially because they can take on repetitive tasks like cleaning floors. Through the ICE Robotics subscription service, Whiz and EMMA can be programmed by an ICE Robotics employee through an initial set up visit, or virtually. For Whiz and EMMA, virtual training with an expert is available, or for Whiz simple how to videos and quick start guides are available on the virtual training page. Once Whiz is programmed to a specific route it is set to go on its own and frees up cleaning staff to focus on other high priority tasks—thus adding to the productivity of the cleaning staff.

Robots are an important counterpart in building health and safety and an important asset because they take on repetitive and routine cleaning, increase frequency by following standardized cleaning routes, get the job done without ever calling in sick, and report data back to management that can result in improved KPI’s and working conditions.

Showing support for your cleaning staff

We live in a society that is increasingly focused on health and well-being, our indoor environments play a crucial role.

Cleaning staff are feeling the pressures. In order to reduce turnover of cleaning staff and to manage the demand for cleaner spaces, technology is key.

Autonomous cleaning equipment like Emma and Whiz, subscription-based technologies, are revolutionizing the ways businesses support their cleaning staff. The digital support, the collection of data, the ease of use of the machines, the ability to eliminate repetitive tasks for cleaning staff, these are just some of the ways that technology is increasing efficiency and productivity for our cleaning teams.

ICE Robotics is a leading manufacturer of floor cleaning equipment and works to provide people-first, collaborative cleaning equipment. For more information please reach out to our client care team.

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