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Sunday, 25 February

Housekeepers Help Handle The Cost Pressures

The currently challenging economic climate has resulted in many companies reviewing their operations to see where savings can be made. It requires a commonsense approach that balances savings opportunities against critical business needs, writes Jamie Wright, as he explores how to deliver cost saving solutions whilst maintaining acceptable levels of service.

When I am asked about the best way to save money, many people assume my response will be to reduce the number of cleans. However, I believe there are a numerous ways to reduce costs that do not compromise on the standard of the service being delivered.

 

Understanding a client’s requirements

By taking the time to fully understand the way a company operates, you will be able to highlight areas where efficiency gains can be made. The first step involves taking the time to recognise where cleaners are needed the most, before developing carefully considered plans to ensure their time is used as efficiently as possible. For instance, it is becoming more popular for companies to have open plan offices with communal areas. Therefore, an obvious move would be to concentrate a higher volume of cleans within these particular spaces, rather than in locations that don’t receive as much footfall. As a result, you are reducing unnecessary cleans and therefore saving on both time and labour.

In addition, it is important to spend time planning when these spaces are going to be cleaned. Recently, there has been a big push for daytime cleaning, where staff remain onsite throughout the day, maintaining a consistent standard of cleanliness.  This model provides cost saving benefits including a reduction in utility costs, as the building doesn’t need to be lit or heated outside of business hours. Additionally, staff recruitment and retention is made easier as cleaners can earn a living wage and work sociable hours, making the job is more appealing. Consequently, less money is spent recruiting and training new staff and covering absenteeism.

 

The emergence of the housekeeper

A knock-on effect of the increase in daytime cleaning has been the emergence of the ‘housekeeper’, whose basic responsibilities include keeping the office space clean and well presented for staff and visitors. However, this role has evolved over recent years to incorporate more managerial duties and therefore playing a key part in improving efficiencies across the whole site.

Since a housekeeper is onsite every day, the supplier benefits from having a constant presence that fully understands the working practices of the building, as well as the culture of the different companies that share the facilities. As a result, they are in a better position to proactively draw up rotas that ensure cleaners are deployed to the right places at the right times depending on needs of each occupant. The role of a housekeeper has made it easier to deliver a tailored cleaning model that suits the exact requirements of the building, leading to considerable efficiency gains.

 

Technology

When looking to streamline operations, it is also important to utilise the latest available technology to help deliver high levels of cleaning. At Incentive QAS, we continue to deploy a number of solutions across our sites to help improve the overall efficiency of our cleaning model. For example, we use the LEVIY system to provide centralised data management at several sites. This platform can be customised to fit a building’s exact requirements and allows teams to analyse performance and trends, whilst delivering in-depth reports to utilise cleaning time.

Across one building in London, we have also installed a state-of-the-art fob system in the toilets. Operatives use a smart device to scan each time they leave a toilet so we can monitor productivity throughout the day. We have also deployed a similar solution to monitor the number of ‘window clean drops’.

In addition, we continue to invest in innovative cleaning equipment to improve productivity, including backpack vacuum cleaners and ride-on scrubber dryers for pavement slabs.

 

Collaboration

When working with clients, we immerse ourselves in a “one team approach” that sees our on-site and off-site management working in close collaboration to achieve the building management team’s vision and values. It allows for constant correspondence, increased trust, and ensures you can react quickly to any changes happening within the building. This also leads to a more streamlined and coherent operation.

Due to our extensive experience, we are also able to work closely in partnership with our clients’ building management teams to monitor and control a wide range of support services partners if required. This joined-up approach ensures the whole operation can run as a well-oiled machine, helping to boost efficiency.

 

Conclusion

At Incentive QAS, we work in close partnership with our clients to fully understand their evolving requirements, whilst utilising innovative technologies and operating models to come up with solutions that best fit their way of working. I believe that by working with a service provider who understands the unique challenges different building owners face, it is possible to reduce costs without compromising on the quality of the operation.

Picture: Jamie Wright, MD at Incentive QAS, the contract cleaning arm of the Incentive FM Group

 

 

Article written by Cathryn Ellis

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