Integrated Cleaning and Measurement - Why Communication is Critical to its Success

By Colin Butterfield

'Nobody knows what we do until we don't do it' is a slogan often seen in custodial closets and on lunch room notice boards, and to a degree is typical of the way in which cleaning services have been perceived by both service providers and their clients. Those receiving cleaning services are often totally ignorant of what is done to provide them with a clean working environment - even if it only 'looks' clean.


Integrated Cleaning and Measurement is a revolutionary approach to cleaning ensuring that a work environment is measurably clean with all of the health and productivity benefits that ensue. It is therefore really important to communicate to the client, to the building occupants and to the cleaning staff a clear and concise explanation of the following:

  • What is Integrated Cleaning and Measurement?
  • Why is it important?
  • What are the processes being followed?
  • How are the results measured?
  • What are the benefits?

Implementing a new cleaning system in any organization requires a significant investment in communication if the process is to be successful. At all levels of the client and service provider organization it is vital that everyone has a clear understanding of the system, including the reason for implementation, its benefits to all concerned, what Integrated Cleaning and Measurement is, and how the cleaning process will be improved.


Providing reasons for the change is critical as failure to do so will inevitably result in speculation among building occupants and cleaning staff as to why Integrated Cleaning and Measurement is being implemented. Much of the speculation will be negative, often to the level of raising unnecessary fears which may lead to cancellation of the program.


Publicizing the importance of Integrated Cleaning and Measurement and its benefits both to the client and the staff encourages a 'buy in' and may also contribute to expanded contracts as the client now has information and 'bragging rights' to being astute enough to embrace the new system. The client's staff also will be able to disseminate valid information about Integrated Cleaning and Measurement to their circle of contacts with possibly beneficial results.


Sharing the measured results of the cleaning process (including publishing the results in graphic form) will illustrate the achievement in an easily understood way and has the added benefits listed below.

  • The client understands and appreciates what the measured results mean and is truly involved in the process. An ongoing working relationship of this type will mean that the client is aware on a continuing basis of the quality of cleaning being delivered. Extension of normally time-limited cleaning contracts is much more likely under these conditions; this alone will justify the implementation of Integrated Cleaning and Measurement for many service providers.
  • The client staff will have access to the results on a regular basis and are assured that the cleaning that is being done is beneficial to their health and efficiency. Lower absenteeism resulting from the healthier environment resulting from Integrated Cleaning and Measurement benefits the client and his/her staff as well as engendering higher morale in the workplace.
  • The service provider staff will have an incentive to achieve and maintain high cleaning scores and also to take pride in their achievement. Pride in the work and in the workplace is no small thing; staff who have this are less likely to be absent and tend to work in a more professional manner. Meeting targets encourages workers to do their work well and results in positive feelings due to the achievement of high results.
  • The service provider's organization can refer potential clients to the Integrated Cleaning and Measurement program in place and can benefit from a positive response to the program from the client.

Fully describing the various procedures being followed, the equipment and products being used, and the technology involved in establishing the measurement results again provides clients and their staff with 'insider information' which makes them more likely to support the program. Information dealing with the following should be easily available to clients by a number of methods including tent cards on desks, posters in lunch rooms and notice boards, and possibly a clear framed mission statement at the cleaning closet:

  • What ATP measurement is and how it is important in demonstrating that surfaces in the facility are truly clean rather than simply having the appearance of cleanliness while harboring any number of biological hazards.
  • Why High Flow Fluid Extraction cleaning works better than conventional 'mop and slop'.
  • Why high filtration vacuuming benefits the work environment and employee health.
  • What 'green' cleaning products are in use in the facility and why they are better for the environment, both indoor and outdoor as well as the health of both client and service provider employees. There is a growing concern among the population as a whole about the long term health effects of chemical exposure, particularly cleaning chemicals. Providing useful valid information about the cleaning products in use will provide reassurance to the building occupants and cleaning staff and add to the reputation of the client and service provider alike.

Finally, it must be stressed that communication requires that there be a clear understanding resulting from the message sent to the client. Misunderstandings and misinformation may damage the working relationship and hinder acceptance of the Integrated Cleaning and Measurement program. By discussing the program and its results on an ongoing basis the service provider is more able to be sure that the client has a full understanding of the program and its benefits.

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