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Management And Training

Daytime Cleaning: Physically And Fiscally Healthier

August 25, 2011
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Cleaning during daylight hours, also known as "daytime cleaning" or "day cleaning," makes sense where it can be fully or partly integrated into a facility''s operations plan.

The following are 12 reasons why day cleaning is often physically and fiscally healthier than cleaning at night.

1. Respects the human body''s natural circadian rhythms of working during the day and sleeping at night.

Recent chronobiology research has shown that humans'' brains similarly have an internal biological clock that governs daily or circadian rhythms, including our response to the light-dark cycle.

Evidence indicates that attempting to override these natural cycles creates problems.

According to research from Drexel University, "Disturbing the circadian rhythm can lead to jetlag, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) and may [even] lead to more serious conditions such as cancer."

Other researchers cite sleep, cognitive, personality and other potential disorders associated with night shift work.

According to Drexel University, "Recent research indicates that lighting has become a public health issue. Studies have shown that people working in natural sunlight are more productive, more effective and happier than people who work under traditional artificial light."

2. Daytime cleaning raises health, productivity and mental alertness since humans, by nature, are not nocturnal.

Humans, unlike bats and some marsupials, are not nocturnal; thus, they function best mentally and physically during the day.

3. Sunlight entering windows enables better visual acuity to detect and remove soils, including allergenic particles.

Researchers from Drexel University concluded, "Daylight provides the quality light necessary for maximum vision and visual acuity and provides the full spectrum of light needed for health and wellbeing."

4. Fewer physical assaults and robberies occur during the day, making daytime programs safer for workers and businesses.

According to Randy Burke, chief executive officer (CEO) of DCS Global Enterprise LP, "Accusations of theft are down. Injury fraud is also down because the ability to fake an accident is diminished when others are watching. Workers are also more alert during the day, which enhances safety overall."

5. Lowers electricity usage, reducing reliance on fossil fuels that traditionally fuel power plants.

"We have found lighting cost reductions of seven percent to eight percent," Steve Spencer, facilities manger for State Farm Insurance, proclaims. "In a 300,000-square-foot building at a rate of $0.10 per kilowatt hour (kWh), that can be a cost savings of $75,000 to $150,000 per year depending upon the type of light fixture."

Burke says that, since implementing day cleaning, they have reduced electrical costs by four percent to eight percent.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings consume 39 percent of the primary energy in the United States, out of which, on average, 18 percent is from the lighting system."

Jim Peduto, chief executive officer (CEO) of Matrix Integrated Facility Management, references a free day cleaning electricity cost saving calculator at

6. Daytime cleaning prevents social and other isolation of the workforce, promoting healthier human interactions and better communication between workers and building occupants.

"We are getting a 90 percent to 100 percent sign-on rate of workers willingly transitioning from night to day," Burke states. "Absenteeism is way down with day cleaning. We think there are two reasons for this: Loyalty to the tenant develops and relationships grow because workers want to be there, and it''s a healthier time to work — one that supports a better lifestyle for the workers'' family."

"Greater communication in the cleaning process makes for better understanding and the prompt addressing of cleaning issues," notes Spencer.

7. Day cleaning encourages better grooming, personal hygiene, social skills and emotional intelligence since the workforce must interact with the public.

"We require uniforms and communication devices and the contractors we use hire and train their day staff to provide professional service in the presence of people," Spencer says.

8. Day cleaning can engender greater awareness and appreciation for the work performed, promoting higher self-esteem and better public relations.

"People know the cleaners and don''t want to make their jobs harder by making a mess," remarks Spencer. "They also frequently acknowledge the cleaners and thank them for their service. Compliments are given more often and in greater numbers."

According to Charles Hart, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Associate (LEED-GA) in charge of business development for Select Commercial Services, "Day cleaning tugs on the heart strings of the tenant. Customers associate a face and a person with the cleaning and understand that this is an individual with a family. They appreciate the cleaning more because they see it and are glad someone is willing to do it; it''s a symbiotic relationship."

Burke goes on to say that tenant behavior changes with day cleaning; people are neater and they respect the cleaners.

"Cleaning during the day requires that workers have more education, training, language and people skills. The psychological benefits for them are enormous," says Hart. "Complaints may be reduced by more than 50 percent because people actually see the work being done and are less likely to complain that it hasn''t been done."

9. Encourages soil prevention measures because sources can be more easily identified and addressed, reducing long-term labor costs.

An anonymous day cleaning manager insightfully noted that what you can see and source, you can remove and prevent.

10. Greater visibility of the workforce and facility conditions creates opportunities to add value, improve fiscal and physical performance.

According to the anonymous day cleaning manager, "They see us and aren''t afraid to ask about specific issues, which leads to better cleaning, customer satisfaction and profitability for our company. It keeps us aware and on our toes."

11. Fosters greater cooperation between occupants and cleaning crews, reducing costs when systems are collaborative.

"On days, we tend to work closely with our customer and there''s more cooperation, making things easier," explains a worker on a daytime shift. "Putting out trash for us to pick up without entering their office is an example."

12. Greater need for worker and occupant-friendly cleaning practices promotes selection of healthier chemistries and equipment.

Newer crossover technologies enable areas to be cleaned more quickly and flexibly, minimizing downtime and restricted access in daytime scenarios.

"Hybrid cleaning systems are a Swiss army knife for daytime facility management," says Tom Morrison, vice president of marketing for Kaivac Inc. "The ability to adapt to different daytime needs and return areas to service quickly and economically are key to an effective toolset."

Allen Rathey is president of InstructionLink/JanTrain Inc. of Boise, Idaho. He also serves as president of the Housekeeping Channel (HC), the Healthy House Institute (HHI) and the Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI). Rathey promotes healthy indoor environments, and writes and speaks on healthy cleaning and facility topics.

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