Facility Managers Spark Changes in Office Cleaning, Janitorial Services

Dec. 16, 2004
Memphis, TN – At a time when they’re putting in longer hours than ever before, office workers across America are expressing a lack of confidence in how their buildings are cleaned, which is spurring facility managers to raise the bar for quality, reliability, and communication from janitorial services companies:That’s the conclusion of new research conducted by ServiceMaster Clean, a leading provider of janitorial services.The ServiceMaster Clean “Office Cleanliness Monitor” surveyed 1,000 office workers in the U.S. to explore beliefs about their buildings’ office-cleaning efforts and the impact of unsanitary conditions on employee health and productivity. The second component of the Monitor surveyed approximately 300 facility managers with janitorial services decision-making responsibilities to assess their own attitudes and behaviors regarding the cleaning of their facilities.The Monitor found that only 40 percent of U.S. office workers have “a lot of confidence” in their building’s cleaning staff. And, a mere 29 percent believe that their building’s cleaning staff is cleaning their offices as effectively as possible.Office workers believe that unsanitary work environments are triggering sick days and decreased productivity. A full 78 percent of office workers say they get sick and miss work from illnesses contracted from coworkers. And more than half of workers say a clean office helps promote productivity.   “In many ways, consumers and facility managers are on the same page,” said Gary Bauer, ServiceMaster Clean director of business services. “Consumers are expressing concern about the cleanliness of their office spaces and are demanding clean, healthy environments in which to earn a living – and that, in part, means superior janitorial service.  At the same time, facility managers are addressing this trend and insisting on top-notch service from their janitorial services providers. The best providers already are executing plans for being true partners with facility managers and delivering greater value.”  ServiceMaster Clean explored some of the most important components of quality janitorial service for today’s facility management decision-makers and found that: 86 percent say it is very important that a cleaning provider’s employees can be trusted.67 percent believe it is very important that a provider has a proven “track record.”67 percent consider it very important that a provider is committed to “best practices” in cleaning.63 percent say it is very important that a provider trains cleaning staff well.53 percent believe it is very important that a provider regularly inspects its staff’s work.One in three facility management decision-makers believes that new technologies and techniques, changing regulations, and enhanced consumer awareness of cleaning issues are stimulating new approaches to cleaning buildings. Among those who cited awareness issues, nearly 50 percent said that employees will demand a clean/safe environment, and that companies will respond to their employees’ requests for cleaner offices.  “Facility managers are listening to their tenants and thus are seeking janitorial-service providers who demonstrate a sustainable commitment to best practices in communication, staff training and technology to ensure reliable staff and clean buildings,” said Bauer. “With programs such as P.A.C.T. (Plan, Act, Communicate, Track) that enhance customer communication and our commitment to professionalism, ServiceMaster Clean continues to build on its reputation as the leader in janitorial services.”ServiceMaster Clean recommends that facility managers seeking to ensure a quality approach to janitorial services take the following steps when evaluating potential janitorial-services providers:Insist on the following best practices: Carpet cleaning (more than just vacuuming; carpet maintenance is critical to air quality); Thorough cleaning of workspaces – too often, janitorial companies only clean bathrooms, kitchens, etc. Request and check several references for each potential provider.Ensure cleaning performance will be monitored consistently.Ensure results/status will be communicated regularly.Identify vendors that have thorough employee training and background checks.Evaluate only vendors that use the most advanced technology and cleaning methods.

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