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Is Workforce Technology the Key to Flexibility for Cleaning Contractors?

Is Workforce Technology the Key to Flexibility for Cleaning Contractors?
29 July 2020

As offices, retail establishments and leisure facilities begin to reopen post-lockdown, how can cleaning contractors use technology to adapt? 

Christian Berenger, Managing Director of Ezitracker Workforce Management, looks at how flexibility powered by technology and people will be critical cleaning service providers.


Cleaning Providers Will Become More Accountable


With the recent announcements on easing of lockdown, facilities that are set to reopen are going to require more frequent, deeper cleans and stricter new cleaning procedures. Cleaning providers will have to become more accountable and this is going to involve effective management of technology and people.

In real terms, we are expecting a significant shift in the way that people work in conventional white-collar office spaces. We are predicting a change in contracting terms because of social distancing measures that are likely to be in force for some time; and a broader awareness of hygiene standards and cleaning regimes. With more people working from home, there will be a knock-on effect with the number of people, cleaners required, but also opportunities to increase the frequency of cleans across multiple clients’ sites. 


Embracing Digital


A shift to more flexible working will involve cleaners working across more sites than ever before. Time and Attendance technology and integrated workforce management technology will facilitate this change. Employers will need to prove to employees that extra measures are in place to keep them safe as they return to work and cleaning contractors employing remote workforces will have a greater need to provide detailed evidence of contract compliance and service provision.

Most cleaning contractors are involved with all stages of the employee lifecycle: recruitment, onboarding, development, retention, and exit. Multiply this by the number of employees processed, and the day-to-day people management process is a complex task. An integrated workforce management system goes beyond just time and attendance monitoring. It will take care of the data and analytics, allowing managers to measure employee experiences at every stage of the employee lifecycle and establish benchmarks to measure future performance.

It will also enable Cleaning Contractors to adapt their service provision and procedures in these unprecedented times. There is no doubt that hygiene in facilities is becoming a critical element in the combat and spread of the coronavirus. The FM sector will have to adapt. Those small and medium sized contractors that haven’t already embraced digital will need to move quickly to maximise the potential. 


Uber-Style Economy Within the FM Space


As well as changing the hours, or staggering shifts for employees, there will also have to be huge changes applied around cleaning of premises. Most notably, increasing the frequency of general cleaning will be paramount, as well as the introduction of PPE for all employees who require it. Deep cleaning will be required to be increased as standard, with regular disinfecting of shared areas.

High traffic contact zones, such as handles, bathrooms, desks and chairs will need wiping down with an antibacterial cleaner frequently throughout the day. If you never saw your office cleaners prior to the pandemic, you will definitely see them as the UK reopens, they will be in high demand at all hours of the day and night.

I think we’ll see a shift towards an Uber-style economy within the FM space.  We’ve recently added a flexible talent pool to our workforce management hub. EziTalent is an app-based temporary “Labour as a service” staffing solution which allows workers to find flexible temporary work opportunities with large corporates operating in traditional, regulated industries. 

The solution uses data and automation to solve complex tasks that large traditional labour providers handle on a day-to-day basis. Key tasks such as payroll management, background checking and license checking, company-worker matching and performance management are automated for both companies and employees seeking permanent and temporary contracts. FM providers can tap into the App if they have a requirement for additional cleans or special cleans, or a new contract win. 


Time and Attendance Technology


The core solution is the time and attendance functionality and the attendance and departure of cleaners at site. Data is captured electronically in real-time and then compared to the budgeted hours for analysis. This data is used in one system to streamline payroll and even provide critical payment advances. Externally it’s used for invoice generation or KPI analysis. Paper-based timesheets should become a thing of the past just like cash, as no-one wants to touch anything at the post-pandemic workplace. 

Those cleaning contractors that have already embraced this time and attendance technology and have integrated it across the employee life cycle are going to find it a lot easier to pick back up and manage this new way of working. 

Picture: A photograph of the buttons in a lift being disinfected by a person wearing protective gloves

Article written by Christian Berenger, Managing Director, Ezitracker | Published 29 July 2020


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