It used to be that cleaners, especially office cleaners, would work outside of “office hours” i.e. between 9am and 5pm. That meant that cleaners were pretty much working unsociable hours, often having to start before 6am or after 6pm.
Office workers and cleaners very rarely met – they were two ships passing in the night. It’s a safe bet that the average office worker never even saw a piece of cleaning equipment whilst at work
Recently however, there has been a shift into daytime cleaning which has meant that cleaners and office workers’ worlds have collided. Cleaners have moved out of the shadows and into the light.
Whilst it’s no doubt a positive change for the cleaners themselves, as they get to work more regular hours, how has this shift impacted office staff?
There are both positive and negative aspects to consider. Seeing the cleaners in action, and putting a face to the work, can make office staff more aware of the mess that they are making; leading to a tidier workforce. You’re less likely to leave rubbish lying around, or have an untidy desk, if you know the person that is going to have to clean up after you.
The perception of the cleaning service can improve too. It’s easy to complain about a missed bit of cleaning when the cleaner is unseen, however, actually seeing the cleaner in action places value on the work that they do. And if office workers aren’t happy with the service, they can politely speak to the cleaner in person to rectify the situation.
However, having cleaners working around you whilst you’re trying to get on with your own work can be somewhat distracting. If you have to vacate your desk for ten minutes whilst it is being cleaned, you’re losing out on valuable working time. Especially if you’re in the middle of something important and can’t control when the cleaner comes into your office.
Some workers may also feel uncomfortable with someone cleaning up after them whilst they’re present. There is a still an uneasiness about having someone clean up after you which would be magnified if you had to watch them do it.
Office workers were asked about these issues in a study conducted by the SCA into the effects that daytime cleaning is having on office workers.
The results showed that:
1. Office workers were happier to have some duties carried out in the daytime more than than others. For example, 89% were happy to have the toilet roll and hand soap replenished throughout the day, but 60% had a problem with their carpets being vacuumed whilst they were working. Furthermore, 57% of workers felt uncomfortable having their desk space cleaned whilst they were working.
2. The type of relationship office workers wanted with cleaners varied greatly. 49% of workers wanted the cleaners in their office to interact with them as co-workers and 77% routinely greeted the cleaners at work. However, 41% of workers admitted to never actually having a conversation with any of the cleaners and only 50% of workers knew any of their cleaners’ names.
3. 30% of office workers had no preference about what time the cleaning took place.
Whilst daytime cleaning is still in its infancy, it seems there’s a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to office workers’ opinions on the matter.