Cleaning Takes Teamwork

When the concept of Team Cleaning entered the commercial cleaning scene over 20 years ago, it created a shake up in the status quo, and inspired some tough questions on the purpose and payoffs of cleaning.

After all, cleaning has been a mainstay in human existence since the creation of the first indoor space, but the methods and effectiveness of the practice have rarely been examined. Tradition has often trumped the improvements that technology and technique might usher in.

Team Cleaning, however, created an unmistakable contrast with status quo cleaning that was hard to ignore. And when the cost savings and efficiency data started rolling in, it became impossible to dismiss.

So what''s the big difference between Team and zone cleaning? And how can you introduce a successful Team Cleaning program into your workplace? Here are five tips to get you started.

1. Compare and Contrast

Team Cleaning rethinks long-held traditions and standards to create a process that focuses on cleaning for health with maximum productivity. In the process, it saves on a maintenance crew''s cash and work flow.

Cleaning work can be assigned either by space or by task. In zone cleaning, a worker is given a certain area to clean, and performs all the tasks required in that space. He requires all the equipment necessary to do each job, and must switch gears frequently.

In Team Cleaning, a worker is given one of four specialties. A light-duty specialist empties trash, captures dust, cleans boards and spot cleans. A vacuum specialist vacuums, repositions furniture, checks the quality of the starter''s work, and turns off lights. A restroom specialist cleans restrooms and fills dispensers. A utility specialist vacuums stairwells, cleans brass, glass, blinds and carpets, and does periodic specialty services as needed. Each team member needs only the equipment necessary to complete the specific job assigned to him or her, and can perform the job in a streamlined, efficient manner. Job cards map out daily work paths and time frames, and help keep both specialists and supervisors on track. Workers are motivated because they know what to do, where to go and how long the work will take. They also have the right tools for the job on hand at all times.

2. Cover Ground Faster to Save Time and Money

The backpack vacuum is the cornerstone of the Team Cleaning concept, allowing the entire maintenance team to move at a more rapid clip. The ergonomic, high-filtration backpack vacuum from ProTeam® covers 10,000 sq. ft. an hour, compared to the 2,857 sq. ft. a typical upright averages. So productivity goes up, and labor costs go down. With the time Team Cleaning saves, workers can be reallocated to cover less pressing detail work. And because each worker in a team has a specialized assignment with corresponding equipment, maintenance crews also save on tool, cleaning supply and equipment costs.

3. Establish Health Standards

In 2006, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill conducted a groundbreaking cleaning research study that evaluated the measurable, microscopic differences between zone and Team Cleaning. The results were unmistakably conclusive. Along with vacuum exhaust tests, fungal spore, bacterial and dust counts showed Team Cleaning dramatically improved indoor environmental quality. So what causes the improvement? In Team Cleaning, standards and consistency are key. Workers know exactly what they need to do in a room, and this includes Cleaning for Health steps, like disinfecting doorknobs and other frequently-touched surfaces. The ProTeam backpack vacuum also features Four Level® Filtration to eliminate dust, allergens and other microscopic pollutants down to 1 micron in size. ProTeam backpacks have been shown to extract and remove up to 43 percent more than uprights.

4. Change Management Means Everything

Team Cleaning brings new concepts to a long-entrenched practice, and implementing the new system takes a dedicated, educated management and well-informed staff. The biggest hurdle to incorporating Team Cleaning often stems from change management, and the difficulty caused by restricted time, insufficient training resources and a lack of experience in leading change. Team Cleaning works for cleaning crews of all sizes, and can be easily adapted to fit the needs of a maintenance crew. Job cards create an automatic feedback loop for both workers and supervisors, so they can create greater efficiency by modifying the systems to work better for a specific environment.

5. Take a High Performance Team Cleaning Seminar in 2010

Concepts4, in partnership with ProTeam, will offer several two-day High Performance Team Cleaning® seminars in 2010. The comprehensive courses cover the need-to-know details to make a Team Cleaning program run smoothly, with hands-on training exercises with floor plans and a complete facility set-up. These seminars will be held on April 22-23 in Las Vegas, on May 19-20 in Chicago, and on Oct. 12-13 in Las Vegas. Learn from the pros, and get expert, personalized advice on how to make a Team Cleaning program work for the unique demands of your environment. To register, or for more information, call (888) 494-3687 or visit and click on 2010 Executive Seminar Dates Announced.

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Posted On September 19, 2010
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