What is a good checklist?
It’s pretty simple really. Commercial cleaning checklists are just a list of the required tasks that your cleaning employees must complete to meet the expectations of the customer. Obviously the checklist should be based on the requirements of the contract. Your objective is to get the front line cleaners to consistently and thoroughly complete all the necessary tasks. The checklist should be detailed enough so that no jobs are missed, but not so detailed that employees get bogged down in the list.
The idea of a checklist is nothing new. People have been making To-Do Lists for millennia. Even Moses had a checklist. Today, with so many distractions and so much to do, employees can often benefit from a reference to help them succeed.
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Why are cleaning checklists valuable?
A well-crafted checklist can be a powerful tool for your cleaning team. You already know how important it is to provide the highest quality service possible by the most effective and efficient means. Cleaning checklists may be the missing piece in your operation.
A well-designed checklist can also become the basis for your training, at least as it pertains to a specific facility. Providing the same checklist the cleaners will use to the trainer during the orientation session can actually improve the quality of the training. The list can help the trainer stay on track and avoid leaving anything out while focusing on both the unique features of the facility and your organizational processes, procedures, techniques, and standards. This also serves to familiarize the employee with the required tasks and the schedule for their completion.
Help employees stay on track
Cleaning the same space over and over is usually straightforward, but not always. Often the cleaning tasks vary by day, usage type or event. Sometimes doing the same thing over and over can become mundane and employees might be tempted to take short cuts. A checklist can keep employees from getting distracted or off-track. Checklists can also help provide for uniform and consistent service across shifts, days of the week, or fill-in staff.
Ensure that steps are not missed
It’s true that simply possessing a cleaning checklist is far from sufficient to ensure that all steps are completed correctly. It’s easy enough for an employee to simply check off each item and claim they completed them while sitting on the couch in the lobby. Such behavior, however, does two things. First, it removes all excuses that they “didn’t know” what they were supposed to do. It was right there in front of them and they claimed to have done it. Second, it can help weed out the bad apples. If it’s checked off and not complete or done poorly, it’s time for some training or maybe a staff change!
Create and maintain an efficient workflow
I once had an excellent employee who always did a great job. The only problem I had with her was that she took way, way too much time. It wasn’t until I dropped in one night to check on her, that I found it was a process issue. She was highly effective but horribly inefficient. An ordered checklist could have benefited her.
A well-designed checklist is not simply a randomized list of everything that needs to be done. It is well ordered and designed to move an employee through the facility in the most efficient manner. Take the time to understand the flow of the facility and build the cleaning checklist to maximize the personnel and resources available.
List down all tasks and arrange them by frequency. Breaking down tasks can help cleaning staff determine which cleaning procedures to prioritize. Distribute your tasks into a daily, weekly, or monthly basis and build them in conjunction with your cleaning calendar/schedule
Provide a basis for performance evaluation
Create your checklists in conjunction with quality inspection templates. First, you create a scope of work when you quote the job. From the scope, you create checklists and inspection templates. Everything matches and works together to achieve the desired end: a satisfied customer. Front line employees go to work and complete the checklist. Then the QA inspectors come behind and verify that the work the employees have recorded is complete.
Sales and customer service
A well-designed and implemented cleaning checklist can even bolster the sales process. Having solid systems and procedures in place helps differentiate you from the competition. Example checklists can be included as part of the sales packet. A checklist ensures that the client’s needs are clearly documented, communicated to staff, and provide management with a tool to verify that work has been done to standard.
Are there downsides to using cleaning checklists?
Overreliance on checklists can potentially be a problem. Employees can become so focused on the list that they fail to notice issues not specified therein. A checklist can become a set of cleaning blinders keeping the employee so narrowly focused that they miss obvious issues not on the list.
I always taught my employees to address issues as they saw them, even if they weren’t part of their regular duties. Dealing with it right away is important because waiting and trying to remember to do it later will inevitably leave it undone. Paying attention to details can make a huge deal to a customer who will eventually notice.
If you decide to implement a checklist system, make sure to also employ the necessary checks and balances to ensure that the system is not abused and that quality doesn’t suffer. Make certain that quality assurance personnel are working off the same lists and that low scoring inspection reports are addressed promptly so that corrective action can be taken before the account suffers, or even worse, is lost to a competitor.
Automate your cleaning checklist
If you are using or planning to utilize cleaning checklists, how are you going to build, maintain, and distribute them? Sure you can build them on Excel, print them out, and distribute them to your cleaners, but that is so last century and terribly inefficient.
Why not create your checklists in a centralized location accessible in real-time by all your front line cleaners? Software that provides the structure and support for checklists allows managers to create recurring static checklists as well as on the fly one-off checklists. Employees can access these checklists onsite via their smartphone and check the tasks off as they complete them.
Janitorial Manager provides this checklist functionality to front line cleaners via a mobile device. This, in addition to so many other critical functions available in JM, makes it vital for any growing service provider. Contact the sales staff today to schedule a live demonstration.
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