How can we reduce Cleaning Costs when National Living & National Minimum Wages increase in April 2020?

Posted by Ian Campbell on

There's never been a more critical time to review cleaning schedules, policies and costs! Do it NOW!

Love it or hate it National Living & National Minumum Wages are on the increase and prices are set to increase accross 1000's of sectors. Products and pricing will rise! So what practical steps can you take to mitigate rising costs?

The answer is simple! GET MORE EFFICIANT! and do it QUICKLY!!

With the government recently accepting the Low Pay Commissions Autumn 2019 recommendations, we are set to see an increase in the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage in April 2020. This will inevitably mean prices for soft services such as cleaning, security and catering are set to rise – in some cases up to 10%.
With this in mind there’s never been a more important time to review your cleaning schedules, how you clean and the methods used to achieve it. The government has committed to increasing and improving low pay up to £10 per hour by 2024! This means organisations must now look more carefully at how they can increase productivity to mitigate ever increasing costs.
Listed below are some practical solutions companies can implement to become more efficient when it comes improving productivity around cleaning:

  • Create Clean Desk Policies.
  • Remove unessessary bins - like under desks!
  • Promote a Clean-As-You-Go Policy for all Employees.
  • Review what 'Needs' to be cleaned daily and what can be cleaned 'Weekly'.
  • Is daily carpet vacuuming essential for your workplace?
  • Washroom Cleaning
  • Create effective Quality Audits with Corrective Actions for 'below-par' work.

  • Create a Clean Desk Policy – the days of cleaners moving endless piles of paper, stationery, blue-tack, picture frames, books and other desk clutter need to be gone forever! In a world of increased costs desk cleaning and other vertical hard surface cleaning should be done once per week and just spot checked every day. Having a clear desk policy will allow cleaners to very quickly scan and spot clean desks in a matter of 5-10 seconds instead of 30-40 seconds when it’s covered in clutter. This can instantly create a 75% saving in time and ultimately cost. 
There are a number of ways to instigate and manage a clear desk policy. Communicate with all employees explaining the policy and why it’s important. In addition to assisting the routine cleaning of desks it’s a great way for employees to review what they are / have been working on at the end of each day. It’s an opportunity for employees to de-clutter each day making for more efficient working.
Have employees put all working documents in their desk drawers or on their chairs at the end of each working day. After the cleaner has spot checked/spot cleaned the desk she/he can put the pile back on the desk.
  • Remove individual waste paper bins under desks and move to recycling stations immediately – help get your employees more motivated and get them physically moving more regularly by removing individual wastepaper bins from under desks. Instead invest in colour-coded recycling stations where paper plastic and metal can be effectively recycled and the amount of general waste dramatically reduced. In addition this will remove a large amount of cleaners time emptying individual bins and further reduce costs on bin bags.
  • Create a “clean-as-you-go” culture within your business. Encouraging all members of your team to clean up after themselves (as most would do at home). This will help keep your organisation tidier and reduce the amount of time cleaners are needed. Small steps can make a huge difference like encouraging staff to remove cups from their desks at the end of the day put them in the dishwasher themselves.
  • Question how often your carpets are being vacuumed. Do they really need to be vacuumed every single day? At Brilliant Hygiene Services Ltd we still have lots of smaller clients where we only provide weekly cleaning. Could a spot clean with a dust-pan and brush be sufficient with a decent vacuum once a week at the end of the week ready for the new week ahead?
  • Washroom Facilities – Due to the bio-hazardous nature of toilets and urinals we’d always recommend there are cleaned daily but there are some items within washrooms that could be cleaned less frequently like sinks, mirrors and wall tiles. We’d recommend daily cleaning of loos including toilet seats, bowls and floors. Again look at it objectively and ask what can be cleaned at the end of the week instead of everyday. 
Decide ‘What Good Looks Like’ for your Workplace.
For each business and organisation this is going to be different. It will depend on factors such as how busy your workplace is; your own brand values, how many clients you have come to visit you; what type of dirt and soiling you have etc. For example are you attached to a warehouse that brings in lots of dirt and dust or are you in modern city offices with relatively little soiling. It’s important to be realistic about what you are looking to achieve and how much you are willing to invest.

Use Cleaning Schedules to Achieve your Cleanliness Goals.
Once you’ve decided on how clean you want your premises to be, develop a schedule that will achieve the desired standards. Be sure to think through how long it will take to clean each area based on the volume of traffic each area receives. Cleaning Schedules should be clearly laid out with as much detail as possible for cleaners to understand and follow. It’s important The Schedule explains what is to be cleaned and the frequency for each item. They should also give a clear indication as to the standard to be achieved.
Audit Regularly
Stay on top of quality by regularly auditing cleaners work. We use a simple auditing system that is both easy to use and effective at maintaining cleaning standards:-
  • Pick 10 items either systematically or at random that have recently been cleaned.
  • Score and colour code items as follows:
1 = Below Standard
2 = OK Standard
3 = Above Standard
  • Add up all the scores and divide by potential top score (in this case 30) to give a % percentage score.
  • For us anything that scores a ‘1 Below Standard’ has a Corrective Action Raised which highlights the ‘defect’ and prescribes exactly what is required to ensure the defect doesn’t happen again. The Defect Audit Tracker requires the Cleaner to sign the Defect Audit Tracker form each time she/he cleans to confirm the standard is now being achieved.
  • Quality Audits are a great way to motivate and further train teams to achieve the desired standards. 
Whatever you do whether it’s small alterations or large fundamental changes try and engage your own employees in the process. Explain to them the reasons you are looking to save cost as it’s really important you get their buy in too. In addition, it’s critically important to get buy-in from your cleaning teams and / or cleaning contractor! Your success is their success too and they must understand this and feel part of the process. Be realistic about what you are looking to do – prioritise what needs to be A1 standard and what can be A2. Commercial Cleaning needs to change and change fast! Wage costs are increasing and processes need to become leaner!

About the Author
Ian Campbell started Brilliant Hygiene Services Ltd in Jan 2014 after working in the automotive and brewing industries where he learned about 5S and Lean Manufacturing – He decided to start a commercial cleaning business using automotive quality processes at the heart of the business. The award-winning* business has seen extraordinary growth since it’s inception and now has many blue-chip clients across the Midlands. For more information on how you can reduce cleaning and other facilities costs, visit their website or call 0800 254 5225.   
*East Staffordshire South Derbyshire Business Awards 2019 – Medium Business of The Year Category Winners.

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