7 Benefits of Switching to Digital Cleaning Schedules

07 September 2023
Moving from a paper-based scheduling system to one which is digital makes managing staff and reviewing their performance more accurate, reliable and efficient.

The Pen and Paper Cleaning Schedule Method

Traditionally, the cleaning industry has taken a conventional approach to most of its processes and procedures. Paper-based schedules were used to manage staff, letting cleaners know when and where they needed to be, and what they should be doing. Paper checklists and score cards, often stuck to the backs of washroom doors, were then ‘ticked off’, to indicate that tasks were complete. But this traditional, pen and paper approach to scheduling and reporting proved inefficient in many ways.

No Margin for Change

If any updates needed to be made to the schedule, such as a change to the timetable, a staff absence recorded, or a last-minute client request accommodated, those neat little pieces of paper quickly became tired. Notes, comments, or feedback, all done by hand (usually in messy handwriting), meant those carefully planned timetables were quickly rendered illegible. Communicating these changes was also a major challenge – any update to a master copy had to be manually reflected in everyone’s copy of the log. Paper-based timecards were also notoriously unreliable, proving inaccurate in tracking the actual movement of staff. And any unforeseen or last-minute demands from customers required facilities management teams to track down individuals to communicate the request. Then things started to change, and cleaning became digital.

The Digital Transformation in Facilities Management

Advances in technology, such as the introduction of IoT, Artificial Intelligence, and Smart software, have meant the entire cleaning process has become digital. By digitizing scheduling and staff management, paper-based schedules and checklists are no more, and the process has become standardized, auditable and reliable.

7 Benefits of utilizing digital cleaning schedules

Here, we look in more detail at 7 ways the transformation of cleaning schedules in commercial and retail environments has made scheduling more efficient.
  • Allowing Adaptability and Flexibility
    When a cleaning schedule goes digital, changes can be made whenever they are needed, and teams can react and respond immediately.If a sudden increase in users is noticed in one area, staff can be moved and cleaning intensified. If a customer makes an unexpected request, managers won’t need to physically track down cleaners to pass on the message – the digital cleaning schedule is simply updated, and everyone instantly knows the new plan.The ability to make changes and adapt in real time means productivity of cleaning teams isn’t compromised, customer demands are met, and user experience is optimal.
  • Improving Time and Attendance Management
    While traditional paper timecards relied on a large degree of trust, digital schedules allow cleaning teams to accurately clock-in and out of their shifts, and FM teams to monitor both time and attendance.Digital systems show when and where teams are onsite at any given time and can immediately alert managers to anyone who is late or missed their shift.Not only does this offer peace of mind to cleaning companies and FM managers, but it is also a reassuring tool for customers too. Data can be shared with contractors as evidence of service delivery and reassurance that a quality service has been provided.
  • Introducing Accountability
    As well as monitoring the time and attendance of cleaning teams, digital schedules introduce a level of accountability that simply wasn’t possible before.Auditing of cleaning jobs used to be done via paper checklists at the end of the day, with feedback delivered verbally. The process was time-consuming, costly and completely subjective.Digital tools streamline the process, with auditing, checklists and inspections being monitored on an ongoing basis. Feedback can be sent immediately, ensuring prompt action if standards aren’t being met, introducing a high level of accountability for the whole team.
  • Improving Transparency
    Digital workforce scheduling introduces a level of transparency that benefits everyone. High quality, detailed reports can be produced on a range of parameters, immediately highlighting areas in which performance is not up to standard.Whether the feedback is via Smart sensors which are digitally monitoring a range of touchpoints, or uploaded via customer satisfaction screens, FM teams and their customers have a real-time understanding of what’s going on and what needs improving.
  • Smarter Daily Planning for Cleaners
    With a clear, real-time overview of the day’s tasks, as well as their manager’s expectations, digital schedules promote better timekeeping. When cleaners understand parameters such the frequency and distribution of their tasks, they can plan their time more efficiently and effectively. With a feeling of being more in control of their day, they are empowered to manage their performance and job satisfaction is improved.  And by reviewing performance patterns, the system also allows managers to review completed tasks and identify areas that are slowing employees down, and subsequently offer training or redistribution of tasks.
  • Improving Workforce Management for FM Teams
    Digital scheduling systems allow FM teams to manage their workforce remotely and get a complete picture of what is happening in real time. Responsibilities can be reallocated if needed, schedules can be changed last-minute, and action can be taken if performance is slipping.Digital tools also provide live status updates and GPS locations, promoting worker safety and allowing for the most efficient use of resources – if an issue is reported, then the nearest team can be sent to attend to it or a team with the necessary skill set can be selected.Digital software can also help to break down communication barriers. Traditional schedules and feedback reports are handwritten, and changes are hard to read, particularly if they aren’t in the reader’s mother tongue. With language options and easy-to-follow visual prompts, digital tools make communicating with multinational teams simple and straightforward.
  • More environmentally friendly
    More efficient, data driven cleaning means a better use of resources. By monitoring real-time usage patterns, unnecessary cleans can be prevented, and the use of environmentally damaging chemicals is reduced.And of course, digital cleaning is completely paperless! In large commercial spaces, with dozens of washrooms and hundreds of cleaning staff, a lot of paper is needed for reporting. Going digital saves paper and storage space and promotes a more sustainable cleaning service.

The Start of the Digital Evolution of Cleaning

These are exciting times for the FM industry. The digital evolution of cleaning will see almost every part of the cleaning lifecycle change for the better, and scheduling is just the beginning.

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