Office Cleaning Best Practices: A practical guide to ensure high cleaning standards for your Office
If you’re an office admin or facility manager of a Grade A, B or even C office in Singapore, you have probably engaged a local cleaning agency before. Every corporate or business premises needs a strict regime of upkeep and maintenance.
The question now is do you receive the level of service you expect? And if you don’t, then is there a procedure that’s followed to ensure quality standards are met.
In fact many a time’s office managers or business owners themselves are ignorant of the standards that should be expected from their cleaning contractor. And without set guidelines and processes it’s difficult to address any of this.
So in this post, we’ll lay out Office Cleaning Best Practices for you along with an Infographic that’ll serve as a handy guide for quick reference in the Singapore context. And thus, help you improve the quality of cleaning service that your company deserves!
Benefits of having high Cleaning Standards for your Office
Well, this one’s a no brainer….who doesn’t like a neat and clean environment? But wait…
Besides the hygiene aspect, a clean workplace also equates to a happy and healthy workforce. Its boosts staff morale and their delivery potential enabling them to focus on key result areas rather than on cleaning up. This in turn improves the productivity level of the company.
A clean office also portrays a good corporate image to customers and clients. It affects the way customers perceive your business, to be a trustworthy and professional one.
As a service buyer you need to ensure that your expectations for cleanliness, productivity and service quality are first set, then met by your service provider. This can be achieved through a well-crafted contractual agreement, work process efficiency, by leveraging tools & automation; thereby raising productivity and reducing reliance on additional manpower.
A Four-pronged approach to ensure high standards for Office Cleaning
A balanced and all-encompassing approach is needed to ensure cleaning standards for office and commercial premises. Starting with –
1. Setting Cleaning Procedures, Leveraging Tools & Equipment
Prescribed cleaning sequence/procedures, following the right methods and using correct equipment help deliver a better work outcome. A sample cleaning procedure would be –
- Prepare & Inspect – Don personal protective equipment (e.g. Gloves, covered shoes, etc), check condition of tools, display signage at work area, perform colour fastness test for chemicals used, remove furniture and obstacles beginning cleaning tasks
- Tackle Spillages & Stains – Clear spillages with absorbent materials, spray tested chemicals to remove carpet or flooring stains
- Vacuuming – Vacuum the carpet floor section by section working from far end to near end, arrange furniture back. Use Vacuum Cleaners with appropriate attachments
- Empty Dustbins – Tie & remove bin liner placing them in a larger disposal bags
- Clean Horizontal Surfaces – Spray cleaning chemical onto cleaning cloth, wipe horizontal surfaces like tables, shelves, desk etc
- Clean Pantry – Repeat above steps for the pantry. Ensure food waste is not be left overnight. Sweeping and mopping (damp mop) of the floor is a must
- Re-instate & Finish – Check if work is done as per requirements, remove disposal bags to designated collection points, remove signage, return tools & equipment back to the store, and then wash hands for good personal hygiene
As a service buyer, you should specify upfront to the cleaning company on the use of effective tools and technology for better cleaning performance. If your office has its own equipment, then you are liable to maintain them in good condition. Always stress to the service provider for proper training to their cleaners on the usage of onsite machinery & tools.
2. Defining the Scope of Work
Convey as much information as possible to enable the cleaning service provider to submit an accurate proposal. This also helps the cleaning company to plan and deploy manpower for the required cleaning services. The scope of work must include – .
- Area of Coverage – provide information on the list of inspection units, total number and fixtures in the inspection units. Area of coverage should include types of floor surfaces and total floor area to be cleaned together with a layout drawing / floor plan of the premise.
- Service Hours – indicate the service hours (including the peak and off-peak periods) for the cleaning service.
- Schedule of Works – a recommended schedule of work i.e. types of cleaning and the required frequency for the area of coverage should be provided for better management of resources.
- Other Services – If other services besides cleaning services are required, (e.g. waste management, landscape maintenance, pest management, etc.) then these should be included in the contract.
- Fault Reporting Procedure – Draft the fault reporting procedures and user feedback channels to ensure that all faults reported are attended to and resolved promptly. Some examples of faults include leaking or choked water fixtures, overflowing litter bins, presence of spillage, etc.
- Pandemic Event – In the event of a pandemic outbreak, service buyers must agree on an appropriate deployment plan with the service provider to carry out and complete the works as specified in the contract.
- Deployment Proposal – to help the service provider accurately plan and submit their deployment proposal, let them know of your requirement of the number of cleaners, by what date and so on
During proposal response evaluation, you must assess the service provider’s submitted list of equipment, materials, schedule of work and deployment proposal/plan for their suitability and effectiveness.
3. Service Quality Inspection
The quality of service determines a major portion of the performance of the service provider as it measures whether the service provider is able to meet the performance standards set by the service buyer. Your inspection strategy should include –
- Inspection Checklist – can be made listing down inspection units such as entrance, lift lobby, common corridor, meeting rooms, etc depending on the scope of work for your facility. Inspections made should rate the actual cleanliness against the reference rating for the items in the inspection units.
- Performance Ratings – Determine and give ratings (say on a scale of 1 to 5) per inspection and report it to the service provider for performance review. It is a good practice for joint inspections by both parties where possible. Definition of performance ratings should be defined prior
- Inspection & Response Times – Carry out inspections immediately after the cleaning routine. Also measure the service provider’s response time to ad-hoc requests during and outside of service hours. Requests can be categorised based on work priority ranging from non-critical to very critical.
4. Performance Review
Keeping track of performance metrics and assessing service provider’s performance on a regular basis helps close the feedback loop. Implement a –
- Performance Scorecard – An evaluation scorecard with relevant performance metrics, or KPIs, can be used; which can be customized based on individual facility requirements. Regular review meetings should be arranged to discuss the results
- Incentive Scheme – Adopt some form of reward system as an incentive to cleaners when they attain a higher score than expected during the performance review. Giving out monetary incentives or non-monetary rewards can ensure that service providers regularly meet or exceed expectations
Support from Singapore Government Agencies
In tune with rising public expectations, government agencies are making the cleaning industry in Singapore a progressive one with guidelines, training programmes & regulations. See video below –
The National Environment Agency (NEA) has developed a 5 year Productivity Roadmap for the Cleaning Industry here. It features standards development (containing referenceable checklists, guides, etc); training programmes under WSQ framework; use of innovative technology and lastly regulatory measures for qualifying and licensing local businesses before they can provide cleaning services in Singapore. Service buyers thus have peace of mind when contracting a service provider.
Especially for cleaning service buyers, a sample of such a guide is available here.
Following best practices and observing set guidelines is the responsibility of facility managers and office admin staff. Working closely with the cleaning contractors on setting expectations, drafting contracts and laying out procedures leads to better understanding, stronger work ethics and ultimately higher cleaning standards.