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Productivity is crucial in any business. Understanding the importance of productivity in the workplace can help a company increase and utilize the capacity of human resources it has. In fact, the most productive companies in the world have happy and healthy employees- it’s the base on which any successful organization can stand. But when it comes to janitorial services, we struggle to gain a greater output.

Why?

Simply put, there can be too many variables to account for. Unlike regimented systems (looking at you production lines), you just can’t measure the amount of trash, dirt, and accidents that cleaning crews will encounter each new day. Staying effective while managing the variations in workloads can seem like an uphill battle. However, there are systems and procedures you can start today that will boost productivity within your janitorial services, all while keeping those high cleaning standards intact.

Communication

A lack of communication exponentially harms output. When an employee is not seen or heard, their work suffers. When clear parameters are not communicated, you leave everything up to interpretation. The amount of communication amongst your team will dictate whether your cleaning program will thrive or die.

If you are noticing a decline in productivity within your janitorial services, think about upping your communication habits. Institute regular meetings with your staff and let them know about the problems you are seeing. Allow them to have a space to have a dialog with you during these meetings. Learn from one another and chart a new course.

Even further, you can institute a message board for your teams. Allowing your people to have an app or text thread that everyone can be a part of builds a framework for higher output. Opening these lines of communication decreases backtracking, lets everyone know what has been accomplished, and dictates where the priorities lie. If you have teams on different shifts, this solves the problem of finger-pointing and blame-shifting and creates a sense of ownership and cohesiveness.

A great tool for janitorial services is Swept. Swept is a time-keeping and messaging app that can solve your communication troubles but also roll those tedious operational practices into one easy-to-manage space. (Check out this case study we did for Swept to see how it can maximize your communication efforts.)

Training and Development

Inadequate training will destroy your productivity. If you are seeing the man hours pile up without a drastic change to the messes they are encountering, it’s probably time to look at instituting some new training courses or skill development methods.

Something as small as the improper changing of a waste can liner or cleaning of a mirror can completely wreck your productivity goals. When you look at the full scope of work and realize a cleaner has a hundred or so waste-cans throughout their route, the lack of training in that area could cost you 30 minutes or more. Look at your training methods and how you can improve quality and productivity through better practices.

Of course creating a completely new training course for janitorial services can be draining. If you don’t have the time or resources available to devote to an entirely new program, start by instituting small changes. Teaching your teams a new way to change those waste-can liners or showing them an improved method for cleaning windows and mirrors can go a long way in increasing productivity.

Set Clear Goals

The biggest hit to your productivity may not be those that work for you. In fact, the lack of productivity might be your fault altogether. If you have a clear understanding of where you want your cleaning program to go, have you shared it with your team?

Instead of being frustrated with the productivity you are seeing, cast a vision for where you want your program to go, how you want to get there, and why. Employees work harder and more efficiently when they have a clear understanding of the finish line.

Zig Ziglar once said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” By setting goals, you are setting a primary focus for your teams which is the key to increasing motivation and productivity. Consider using the S.M.A.R.T. method to get your teams on the same page and casting clear and attainable goals.

Products

If you’re convinced you have the right people on your team but are still struggling with productivity issues, it might be time to take a look at the products you are using.  

There are always new products and chemicals making their way into the janitorial service marketplace. Be on the look out for products that will provide efficiencies for your teams. It might be a large up-front cost but implementing systems and new products that will cut the labor demand could make a huge impact on your payroll.

On the other hand, there’s always the risk of introducing too many new procedures and products to your teams. A look back at our blog on The Best Cleaning Tool You Already Have shows you how those new products and systems aren’t always the best solution. Find the best tools you can and limit the amount of differing systems your teams will be using. The key to getting the most out of your workforce is giving them a small arsenal that makes the greatest impact.

Technology

The lack of productivity you’re seeing could be directly linked to the “tried and true” methods you’re accustomed to. The art of cleaning has come a long way but most janitorial service programs fail to recognize the new technologies that have made their way onto the scene.

We tend to automate so many areas of our lives but when it comes to janitorial, we stick to manual labor. Autoscrubbers, electrostatic cleaning systems, battery-powered vacuums, and a host of other technologies could be the answer to your productivity issues.

If you currently have Joe-Blow mopping the entire cafeteria, a small autoscrubber could be your secret weapon to speeding up your floor care processes. Instead of a corded vacuum, battery-powered units give your teams the flexibility to fly through carpeted areas without searching for a power outlet in each new space. Technology can be a sizable up-front cost but the back-end benefits will push your cleaning program to new heights.

Productivity is crucial no matter what industry you work in. In the labor-intensive field of janitorial services, your production rate goals might seem unattainable. However, by examining your communication efforts, looking into new products and technology, while establishing new goals and training methods you will set the path to success.