May 18, 2023

10 Ways to Create Effective Cleaning Routines for Facilities

Cleaning equipment surrounding text '10 Ways to Create an Effective Cleaning Routine for Facilities'

With maintenance and cleaning costs forecast to rise for facilities management, time and resources must be allocated with great care and deliberation.

Establishing a routine and checklists for cleaning operatives helps to keep everything in check and retain focus on the tasks that matter most.

In this blog post, we will look at how facilities can create an effective cleaning routine and provide 10 steps on how to achieve it.


Why is a Cleaning Routine Important?

Cleaning is an important aspect of facilities management. A clean facility:

  • Prevents the spread of infection
  • Reduces absenteeism
  • Presents a good image that helps reinforce a positive reputation
  • Boosts staff productivity and morale

Implementing a cleaning routine can be incredibly useful because it generates organisation. All members of staff will have a clear understanding of exactly what is required and when. In turn, this reduces wasted time and resources, and yields better results.

Here are 10 steps to ensure a successful cleaning routine for your facility:

1. Develop an Action Plan

I cannot emphasise how important planning is. Planning before you execute a project or venture ensures you are properly prepared and can anticipate any future obstacles, reducing the risk of encountering issues down the line.

Developing an action plan is the first step toward achieving an effective cleaning routine.

All cleaning tasks that need to be carried out on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis need to be considered. This helps create organisation and keep track of everything that needs to be performed on all time scales, ensuring that nothing is left out.

Daily cleaning should incorporate high touch points – areas and surfaces that are touched frequently by numerous people daily and are a hotbed for bacteria and viruses. Regularly cleaning high touch points lessens people becoming exposed to harmful bacteria which promotes health and safety and reduces absences.

When facilities are regularly maintained with a thorough process and well-trained cleaning operatives, it can reduce, if not eliminate the need for frequent deep cleans

Weekly Cleaning Plan sheet on desk surrounded by cleaning equipment.
2. Set Up a Flexible Schedule

Once you have determined your action plan, it’s also important to factor in staff availability. Taking into account work hours, potential absences, holiday time, and establishing a flexible schedule that works best around staff will ensure that tasks are always completed, and the cleaning never falls behind.

3. Establish Checklists and Protocols for Cleaning Procedures

Creating a schedule and lists provides clear instruction so that everyone (management and staff) understands what cleaning duties need to be performed. Furthermore, breaking down tasks into subtasks can be beneficial as it allows you to include more detailed instructions and simplify things for the operative.

Checklists help to keep track of what cleaning has been completed and what still needs to be done. This reduces the risk of the same tasks being repeated which results in time, resources and product being wasted.

Instructions can also include protocols regarding manual work and COSHH and health and safety. Procedures can be put in place to prevent accidents occurring. Making this information readily available will help to enforce health and safety in your facility.

To avoid cross contamination, many facilities enforce the protocol, ‘colour coded cleaning’, – to assign different coloured cleaning equipment to particular areas. E.g. red equipment are only be used to clean the washrooms and are not to be used outside of that area.

Black boxes on white sheet being ticked with green pen.
4. Devise Mechanisms for Tracking Progress
Hand interacting with ipad with graphs and data on screen

Planning and actioning tasks are two important steps toward achieving great cleaning results and proper allocation of resources. However, all efforts are futile unless progress is tracked.

Once a schedule is implemented, you may find that gaps present themselves with areas that are missed during cleaning. Maybe staff are stretched thin and are unable to accomplish all tasks effectively due to lack of time, or alternatively, more tasks could be assigned to certain operatives or at particular times.

All this becomes apparent when you track performance as you are able to review how efficient your routines are and make changes to improve if needed.

To do this, cleaning standards must be defined and policed with regular inspections.

5. Conduct Time Trials

How long we think a task takes, and how long it actually takes, can sometimes differ significantly.

If tasks are often found not to be finished on schedule, and cleaning operatives appear to always be running out of time, consider focusing on problem areas and timing how long it takes to complete them. Doing so will help you identify whether there is a misalignment of allotted time for that particular task, and why that is the case.

Reviewing this information will enable you to modify your schedule and time allocation so that it can be assigned to where it’s needed the most.

 To avoid these issues, be sure that all equipment related directly with hygiene is serviced regularly according to manufacturer guidelines and inspected routinely for any signs of wear and tear.

6. Utilise Technology

A method to track your cleaning efforts are to adopt new technology. The Internet of Things (IoT) uses sensors that record data and stores it in cloud-based software.

When this smart technology and monitoring systems are implemented, it produces real-time data. This means that accurate numerical data on things like time spent on a cleaning task and consumption levels are stored.

With this data, facilities management and operatives are able to review processes with confidence. Time and resources that are being wasted on unnecessary tasks can be identified, empowering management to streamline processes and increase efficiency.

7. Implement Toolbox Talks and Regular Training Sessions

Knowledge is power. Ensuring cleaning operatives are trained for the task in hand is crucial to ensuring a successful cleaning routine. Cleaning might seem like common sense, but common sense isn’t always common practise and cleaning is a profession. Just because we can clean at home, doesn’t mean to say we automatically can clean in a professional commercial environment.

Therefore, once you have established your cleaning standards, you want to make sure these are understood by all members of staff, they have been trained, and the standards are being upheld.

Holding short, 5-10 minute training sessions, or toolbox talks, can really help ensure good practice is preserved.

Reiterating your cleaning protocols through talks, presentations, step-by-step guides, or even video tutorials, ensures that all staff comprehend the cleaning policies and how to execute all cleaning duties.

Performing these training sessions with your team once a week or month can be extremely effective.

Group of cleaning putting hands into a stack
8. Implement Systems that Measure Cleaning Effectiveness Over Time

In addition to tracking your progress, carrying out, or hiring a professional to perform an audit can help to develop a successful cleaning routine.

An audit provides you with tangible information on how effective your processes are. Swabs are taken and assessments are carried out which produce information about how clean and safe your facility is.

This information is presented in the form of a report and brings to light any disparities so that you can make amendments where needed.

9. Adopt Kaizen as Your Mantra

Kaizen is a Japanese term meaning ‘change for the better’, or ‘continuous improvement’ and advocates adaptive change under the premise that nothing is unalterable.

The concept encourages us to constantly analyse our processes and modify them to eliminate mistakes and waste of resources. Never think you’ve done everything, there are always things to review, adjust and tweak within your routines, protocols methods, and equipment.

To make these improvements, instead of big, radical changes, Kaizen promotes small, positive actions. When performed regularly, these actions can have a significant impact on productivity. For instance, regularly cleaning everyday reduces the need and frequency for a deep clean.

Kaizen is based on 5 principles, known as the 5s’:

 

1. Seiri (sort)

Which means to organise items in the workplace to separate what is useful and what is unnecessary.

2. Seiton (set in order)

This involves tidying the area and items and equipment with a designated place that allows of ease of access to make the process run smoother.

3. Seiso (shine)

To maintain a clean and healthy work environment

4. Seiketsu (standardise)

Systemising these processes by practicing them every day until they become habit.

5. Shitsuke (sustain)

Means discipline – to continue the effort and  follow the steps of Kaizen to ensure improvement.

 

If you implement this concept into your cleaning routine, you should see vast improvements both short and long term for your facility.

10. Create Incentives
two cleaners giving a thumbs up

Finally, it’s important to recognise the important work that cleaning operatives do to maintain a safe and clean environment for everyone.

Rewarding operatives who exhibit exemplary work performance with regards to cleaning duties will make them feel appreciated and incentivise them to continue working to the same high standard. It will also boost morale and encourage other staff to follow this example.

Closing

In summary, establishing a cleaning routine allows facilities to effectively utilise time and resources –both precious assets for businesses during the current economic climate.

A successful routine is achieved through planning and organisation that helps determine all required cleaning duties.

Creating schedules and checklists from these plans for operatives to action, forges an awareness and understanding amongst staff of what their responsibilities are, what is expected, and how to perform duties safely.

Once a routine has been implemented it is necessary to measure the success of your efforts by tracking the data and performing cleaning audits. This provides accurate data about your cleaning so that you can make adjustments where needed and ensure your resources are being utilised properly.

All of these steps guarantee a clean and safe environment, preventing the spread of infection and reducing absences. It also presents a positive image, providing a better experience for visitors who are more likely to return.

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10 Ways to Create Effective Cleaning Routines for Facilities