Shine on: the advantages and challenges of daytime cleaning
Sustainability Data Innovation

Shine on: the advantages and challenges of daytime cleaning

Tuesday, 6 February 2024

Traditionally, cleaning teams worked their magic in deserted offices after dark. But something exciting is happening!

A new trend is emerging: daytime cleaning. What if we embraced the “bright” side of cleanliness with cleaning during traditional “office” hours?

It's more than just a shift in schedule; it's a revolution in how we maintain and interact with our workspaces. It's about becoming more transparent and collaborative to embrace a cleaner, brighter way of working.

Spreading the word about the benefits of daytime cleaning

The European cleaning industry plays a vital role in maintaining clean and safe environments for various venues across the continent. The industry has been debating the case for daytime cleaning for years. And, while in some countries this way of working is being implemented, it’s not so widespread in others.

We recently sat down with Matteo Matarazzo, Director General of the EFCI (European Federation of Cleaning Industries and Facility Management), to discuss the advantages and challenges of daytime cleaning. Based in Brussels, the EFCI is the European social partner recognised by the European Commission to represent cleaning companies with members across Europe representing approximately 300,000 companies and employing around 4 million workers.

Matteo shared some valuable insights about the benefits of daytime cleaning, including:

  • improved visibility
  • sustainability
  • increased user satisfaction
  • a safer more integrated environment

He also addressed some of the challenges that arise with this new approach.

Advantage 1: Visibility takes centre stage

For Matteo, the biggest advantage to daytime cleaning is visibility. “There's been a lack of knowledge and awareness of the importance of what we achieve because we would always work late at night or early in the morning before people could see what we do,” explains Matteo.

Daytime cleaning removes the invisibility cloak from cleaning staff, showcasing their essential role in creating safe and hygienic workplaces. By operating during the day, cleaning staff are now seen by clients and the general public.

This transparency encourages appreciation and understanding of the vital services they provide, and the critical role clean and safe venues play in enabling various activities to take place. Daytime cleaners become part of the team, not shadows flitting past. They can spot spills, sanitation threats and hygiene issues in real-time, tackling messes before they become eyesores or health hazards.

Advantage 2: Sustainability shines through

Matteo highlighted how working alongside the staff occupying the venues eliminates the need for unnecessary use of resources and brings numerous sustainability benefits. “Daytime cleaning embraces shared resources and reduces environmental impact and energy costs. Lights and heating can stay on during working hours, eliminating the need for additional energy-intensive cleaning shifts,” he maintains. Due to the shift in mobility, public transportation use increases, further lowering CO2 emissions.

These sustainable practices align with the industry's commitment to promoting eco-friendly initiatives.

Advantage 3: User satisfaction: a balancing act

One significant advantage of daytime cleaning is that prompt interventions can be carried out in response to any issues reported by clients. “This immediate action enhances user satisfaction as problems are resolved without the need to wait for the next shift. If our companies are told that there is an issue in some of the venues that we're operating, we can intervene quickly and efficiently,” explains Matteo.

However, some users may find it distracting to work amidst ongoing cleaning activities, highlighting the need for a balance that addresses both the pros and cons of this approach.

Careful planning and clear communication are crucial to finding the right balance and ensuring user satisfaction.

Advantage 4: Staff training and integration: adapting to the spotlight

Implementing daytime cleaning requires specialised training for cleaning staff to adapt to new equipment and foster interpersonal skills. Staff need to learn to operate different equipment, like silent and wireless machines. The introduction of silent and wireless equipment reduces potential accidents caused by cords and ensures a safer working environment for all.

Staff also need to hone their interpersonal skills to interact with busy workplaces. However, this also accelerates integration, especially for migrant workers, by promoting language exposure and interaction with diverse colleagues – providing benefits beyond the cleaning industry.

Challenges on the horizon

Convincing all stakeholders about the merits of daytime cleaning is critical. It's not a one-size-fits-all solution, and rigid legal mandates are discouraged. Communication and adaptation are key to overcoming initial challenges and ensuring successful implementation.

“There is an adaptation phase and that's inevitable. But that can be overcome with careful preparation, explanation and communication. We say that daytime cleaning is 50% based on communication and 50% based on the actual implementation. So, communicate, communicate, communicate! We're also very firm on the idea that it shouldn't be seen as the silver bullet solution. We all have different conditions and features that require the appropriate solutions, and we would not favour the approach that sets a legal legislative obligation as an effective implementation of the system. The idea is rather to be flexible and adaptable in our approach,” says Matteo.

“Adopting daytime cleaning arrangements is at the request of the customer. As cleaning companies we raise awareness of the potential benefits of the daytime cleaning model with our clients. But then, if the customer is still unconvinced, we have to respect their preference. While we highlight the advantages, ultimately their wishes take priority. After all, mutual agreement is the cornerstone of any contract,” he emphasises.

Here are a few challenges and solutions:

  • Disruption and noise: cleaning activities like vacuuming and waste disposal can be disruptive, especially in open-plan offices. Careful planning and scheduling are crucial to minimise noise and maintain workflow.
  • Employee privacy: concerns about privacy and personal belongings need to be addressed. Clear communication and designated cleaning times can alleviate these concerns.
  • Cost considerations: depending on the needs of your space, daytime cleaning may require additional staff or adjustments to existing schedules. Careful analysis and cost-benefit calculations are essential before making the switch.
  • Safety in the spotlight: the new environment might pose an increased risk of accidents. Increased interaction between cleaning staff, office workers, and clients requires everyone to be informed and alert to avoid potential disruptions or mishaps.

The opportunities:

  • Technology to the rescue: investing in quieter equipment and using technology for scheduling and communication can mitigate disruption and noise concerns.
  • Engagement and education: involving employees in the cleaning process, through awareness campaigns and feedback mechanisms, can build understanding and promote responsible workspace behaviour.
  • Tailored solutions: one-size-fits-all doesn't apply to cleaning. Flexible schedules, targeted cleaning zones, and specialised services can cater to specific needs and budgets.
  • Improved communication: daytime cleaning fosters collaboration. Cleaners can interact with employees, identify specific cleaning needs, and even offer tips on maintaining a tidy workspace.
  • Boosted morale: stepping into a freshly cleaned office in the morning sets a positive tone for the day. Visible cleaning efforts communicate care and respect for employee well-being, leading to increased satisfaction and morale.
  • Heightened productivity: a clean environment is a productive environment. Less dust means less allergens, leading to fewer coughs and sniffles, while tidier offices reduce distractions and improve focus.
  • Transparency and trust: daytime cleaning removes the “mystery” around cleaning services. Employees see the effort firsthand, fostering trust and appreciation for the essential role cleaners play.

EFCI: leading the way forward

As a champion of the cleaning industry, the EFCI actively engages in ongoing dialogue to educate stakeholders, gather data, and raise awareness about daytime cleaning.

On 27 June 2023 the EFCI hosted an event in Brussels on daytime cleaning practices in Europe. The event was attended by several Members of the European Parliament and representatives of the EU business community and social partners to shed light on the organisational model of daytime cleaning.

These leading experts from the European cleaning industry came together to discuss one of the potential drivers for change in the cleaning sector. This event explored the feasibility and benefits of daytime cleaning as a potential catalyst for this change.

Real-world cases from public and private sectors showcased both benefits and obstacles, emphasising the importance of careful planning and implementation. The EFCI's President Lorenzo Mattioli championed policymakers' understanding of the industry's unique service to people, urging a shift from price-driven public procurement to prioritising innovative, high-quality models like daytime cleaning.

“Daytime cleaning can be a major step forward for our industry, increasing its visibility and sustainability. But it must be up to the those operating in the field to choose this solution, adapting it to their actual needs,” concluded Mattioli.

Conclusion: daytime cleaning for the win!

Daytime cleaning is about recognising the value of our workspaces and the people who inhabit them. It's about valuing cleanliness without sacrificing productivity or privacy.

Organisations like the EFCI play a crucial role in raising awareness, engaging in dialogue, and gathering data to evaluate the effectiveness of daytime cleaning. By embracing this new approach, the cleaning industry can continue to evolve and provide efficient and responsible services while contributing to a cleaner and safer environment for all.

Be sure not to miss the EFCI’s presentation at Interclean Amsterdam 2024, where you can learn more about the exciting developments in daytime cleaning solutions.

Let's embrace the potential of daytime cleaning and illuminate a brighter, healthier, and more productive future for everyone.


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