The decision to trim cleaning costs during time of economic business stress is not a new idea. This has been a methodology used by business executives and managers for decades. When the dollars get tight you ask your own people to do their part for a short time by taking out their own trash. Maybe you clean the carpet and windows fewer times that year. This strategy I understand. The trend I am seeing currently is one that seems disturbingly short-sighted. Employees are being asked to take out their own trash as a permanent policy, dusting in offices is being eliminated from cleaning protocol, vacuuming is being completed once per week (or less), window and carpet cleaning being ignored for years at a time. What are the real costs of this kind of strategy?
If we start with the small end of the dollars in this discussion which, on a comparable basis, is ironic as the only true economic portion of this discussion were the dollars being spent on cleaning in first place; however, this discussion is about the costs of the absence of cleaning so let us start there and the smaller end is the rapid conditional decline of facility substrates. If you vacuum carpet less… if you clean carpet less… it needs replacement sooner. We can make this a long discussion about whether the carpet” uglies” out or wears out, but the simple truth is that you as the substrate owner will need to replace it sooner. You just moved this small maintenance savings to a major capital expenditure. In addition, is the inconvenience you will be causing your staff during the additional churn caused by the replacement cycle. Congratulations.
What about those windows? How many cleaning cycles can you skip before what could be cleaned with a simple cleaning will need to be removed with a restorative method or will be permanent and will need to be removed with replacement or will you just live with it by increasing the electric light load inside the facility (increasing the need for cooling). How often you should have the exteriors cleaned is very dependent upon the auto traffic outside your facility… 10,000 vehicles passing per month, 30,000, 100,000? Traffic at these levels will negatively and sometimes permanently impact the exterior glass on your facility in less than a year.
Now it is time to talk about the larger end of the costs if you are a business owner or manager. If your people are taking time to clean their own spaces instead of concentrating on your core business… is that a wise use of their time? If the hourly outlay for a cleaning service is half the cost of your average employee’s hourly outlay it does not take much justification to keep the cleaners cleaning. A second thought along this same vein. If your employee is unhappy about an unclean workspace and taking time to tell others… if even a moment each… the accumulative effect of this unproductive time is monumental. Now let us take it a third step. What if the indoor environment that is being under-cleaned becomes sick with poor indoor air quality (IAQ) or unsanitary causing staff to miss work? What are the costs of the absence of cleaning then? What if you as the facility owner are forced to clean a sick building back into an acceptable condition? How much was saved by cutting the cleaning costs then?