Cleaning during daylight hours, a.k.a., 'Daytime Cleaning' or 'Day Cleaning'- while not practical in every instance - makes sense where it can be fully or partly integrated into a facility's operations plan.
Following are 12 reasons why Day Cleaning (DC) is often physically, fiscally healthier than cleaning at night.
1. Respects the human body's natural circadian rhythms of working during the day and sleeping at night.
According to researchers from Northwestern University, in the 1700s French scientist de Mairan noted that a plant will daily continue to raise and lower its leaves even when placed inside and away from sunlight, suggesting it was governed by an internal clock rather than by outside sunlight. 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 a Drexel University Study: '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 (Roberts, 2001).' Other researchers cite sleep, cognitive, personality and other potential disorders associated with night shift work.
Drexel University says: 'Recent research indicates that lighting has become a public health issue (Pauley, 2004). 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 function best mentally and physically during the day.
3. Sunlight entering windows enables better visual acuity to detect and remove soils (including allergenic particles).
Drexel University continues: 'Studies have shown that daylighting provides the quality light necessary for maximum vision and visual acuity (Bliss, 1946) and provides the full spectrum of light needed for health and wellbeing (Roberts, 2001).'
4. Safety and security – fewer physical assaults and robberies occur during the day, making daytime programs safer for workers and businesses; cleaning challenges and accidents can be minimized; health and hygiene optimized.
According to Steve Spencer, Facilities Management, State Farm Insurance (Bloomington, IL): 'Spills, accidents and other cleaning issues can be addressed when they happen for better soil prevention, safety and hygiene.'
'Also, during the implementation of our Pandemic plan we found the offices already utilizing daytime cleaning incurred no additional cleaning costs because the increase in touch-point cleaning required for the Pandemic plan was already being done during the day.'
According to Randy Burke, CEO, DCS Global Enterprise LP (New York, NY and Calgary, AB / Canada): 'Daytime cleaning helps reduce cross-contamination. As people sneeze, touch door handles and other surfaces, we are able to break the chain of contamination by continually sanitizing those affected surfaces during working hours.'
Regarding accusations of employee theft, Spencer notes that 'one of our facilities was averaging eight theft calls per night before transitioning to daytime and haven't had a single theft reported since.'
Burke adds: '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 providing electricity.
Spencer: 'We have found lighting cost reductions of 7-8%. In a 300,000 square foot building at a rate of $0.10 kWh, that can be $75.000.00 to $150,000.00 cost savings per year depending upon the type of light fixture.'
According to Burke, since implementing day cleaning they have reduced electrical costs by 4-8%.
Drexel University states: 'Buildings consume 39% of the primary energy in the United States, out of which, on average 18% is from the lighting system (DOE, 2006). Furthermore, heat produced by the lighting system yields 24% of the total building cooling load (Leslie, 2003)…Energy savings by using daylighting can be up to 50% of the gross full yearly use of light for interior conditions (Ne'eman, 1982).'
Do you want to calculate just how much energy you can save with daytime cleaning? Jim Peduto Esq., CBSE, CEO, Matrix Integrated Facility Management (Johnson City, NY) references a free day cleaning electricity cost saving calculator at:
http://www.cleanforhealth.com/daycleaning.htm or http://www.aics.com/daycleaning.html
6. Daytime cleaning prevents social and other isolation of the workforce, promoting healthier human interactions and better communication between workers and building occupants.
Burke: 'We are getting a 90-100% sign-on rate of workers willingly transitioning from night to day. Absenteeism is way down with day cleaning. We think there are two reasons for this: 1) Loyalty to the tenant develops and relationships grow; workers want to be there, and 2) It's a healthier time to work; one that supports a better lifestyle for the workers' family.'
Spencer: 'Greater communication in the cleaning process makes for better understanding and prompt addressing of cleaning issues.'
Burke: 'Addressing complaints and communication are streamlined – it saves time.'
7. Day cleaning encourages better grooming, personal hygiene, social skills and emotional intelligence since the workforce must interact with the public.
Spencer: '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.'
8. Day cleaning can engender greater awareness and appreciation for the work performed, promoting higher self-esteem and better public relations.
Spencer: 'People know the cleaners and don't want to make their jobs harder by making a mess. They also frequently acknowledge the cleaners and thank them for their service. Compliments are given more often and in greater numbers.'
According to Charles D. Hart LEED Green Associate, Business Development, Select Commercial Services (Dallas, TX): '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: 'Tenant behavior changes. People are neater; they respect the cleaners.'
Hart: 'Cleaning during the day requires that workers have more education, training, language and people skills. The psychological benefits for them are enormous.'
Hart: 'Complaints may be reduced by more than 50% 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.
Day cleaning manager (interviewed on location): '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.
Day cleaning worker (interviewed on location): '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 on our toes, and aware.'
11. Fosters greater cooperation between occupants and cleaning crews, reducing costs when systems are collaborative.
Day cleaning worker (interviewed on location): 'On days, we tend to work closely with our customer and there's more cooperation, making things easier. 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, non-chemical interventions, lower human exposure to pollutants. (see sidebar, 'Tools to Optimize Day Cleaning')
Sidebar: Productivity Benefits in Daylight
According to Drexel University: 'Studies (Leslie, 2003 and Fay, 2002) have shown a connection between lighting levels and higher productivity and better performance from building occupants.'
Burke: 'Day cleaning is quicker. You are not ‘cleaning' clean areas but only where needed…The productivity rates go up. Working in the day, day cleaners are around people, it's social, they are energized. They move.'
Hart: 'When tenants say – ‘I watched you clean this yesterday, and it still looks good' - this allows skipping these areas and in turn saves time.'
Spencer: 'We have found a reduction in labor in using daytime cleaning. The cost reduction is around 10% due to the elimination of duplication of work (day porters and day maids are now day cleaners), less supervision and higher productivity as more organization and planning are required to provide cleaning with little interruption to business.'
Sidebar: Tools to Optimize Day Cleaning
Flexible and Fast Restroom Cleaning
Newer crossover technologies enable cleaning restrooms more quickly and flexibly, minimizing downtime and restricted restroom access in day scenarios. One combination trolley-bucket supports traditional string and microfiber mopping methods but also provides a dispensing spigot for applying solution directly to floors, holds onboard floor cleaning and scrubbing tools, and supports a drop-on mini-spray-and-vac unit (which when not nested on the trolley also doubles as a standalone wet-dry vac) that enables cleaning and drying floors and above floors very quickly, and greater slip/fall safety. It makes a compact package with a footprint no larger than a conventional mop bucket, and at a low price point for deployment in day cleaning operations.
'Hybrid cleaning systems are a Swiss-army knife for daytime facility management,' says Tom Morrison, VP of marketing for Kaivac. 'The ability to adapt to different daytime needs and return areas to service quickly and economically are key to an effective toolset.'
Activated Water Sprayers That Clean Using Only Tap Water
Burke: 'We are using chemical-free battery-powered activated water sprayers [that convert tap water to a cleaner and sanitizer using principles of physics and electrical engineering] in food courts, lobbies, anywhere there is high traffic and visibility. The devices are practical, safe around people, eye-catching and send a positive message.'
Battery-Powered Backpacks Provide Quiet Cleaning and Mobility
Battery powered backpack vacuums enable cleaning without a power cord, and have reduced sound levels for working around office staff and in 24-hour call centers. 'These units provide a quiet and highly mobile option for day cleaning scenarios,' says Jacalyn High, marketing director for ProTeam. 'Productivity is enhanced over standard uprights while enabling day cleaners to navigate quickly through cubicles and other tight areas.'
Allen Rathey is the principal of the Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI), director of the Indoor Wellness Council (IWC), and author of articles about best practices in cleaning and indoor environmental management.
*The Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI) and the Indoor Wellness Council (IWC) do not endorse products.