Many offices seem to change their cleaning companies every six months, or sometimes even more frequently than that. The phrase ‘standards have fallen’ is regularly repeated by company representatives who are not making the most of their working relationship with the cleaning company they have engaged. Of course, some office cleaning companies will genuinely not be working to the right standard. However, in many cases, the situation can improve immeasurably by taking a few simple steps to make it easier for the cleaners to do their job properly.
Set expectations right from the start. Make sure the cleaning company knows where you need them to clean, and what you expect them to get done in the time. If you need to prioritise any tasks, such as emptying bins, wiping surfaces or finishing the washing up, establish these immediately. You may like to give a list of tasks in descending order of importance, so that the cleaning staff know exactly what to do. Don’t forget to clarify the cleaning company’s expectations too, especially around regular rates, additional charges, parking arrangements and payment schedules and methods.
Don’t expect the company to send you a team of mind-readers. If something is consistently not being done correctly, raise the matter with your representative calmly and give them the chance to set things right. This could be small issues, such as cup rings being left on a desk or fluff and dust gathering around the base of a computer, or more serious concerns like important documents being moved or office doors being left unlocked after they leave.
Leave the office in a state that allows the cleaners to work unimpeded. Look out for trip hazards, such as trailing flexes, or large piles of boxes or files that could fall onto someone vacuuming around them. Get everyone to form the habit of tidying their desks at the end of the day, and leaving communal facilities like the toilets and kitchens in a presentable condition. When a larger cleaning job is required, e.g. after an office move or a particularly messy order or project, consider asking the cleaners to tackle just one area at a time, giving it a deeper clean than normal and leaving the rest of another visit.
Finally, if you do come up against problems, try to suggest ways to overcome them, for example, if an office is not being totally cleaned in the time available put together a rota for certain desks or areas to be tackled at a time. Carry out a cleaning survey amongst staff to make sure they don’t have any minor complaints that could be easily addressed and resolved before they get too large in people’s minds.
Make friends with your office cleaning company and the cleaners they send – remember them at Christmas and let them know you appreciate their efforts. Such empathy should mean that they will be far more likely to remain loyal and go the extra mile to make sure you are satisfied with their services.