Cleaning in offices, shops and other areas; staffing formulas; training programs

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Sept/Oct 2007

Hi Rose,
In cleaning for hotels or condominiums, staffing determination generally is by room or units cleaned. We are also faced with cleaning of food service areas, shops, offices, exercise rooms, cottages and cabins. Would you provide tips on how to measure for cleaning the various types of areas and/ or buildings?
Thank You,
Mary Ann

Aloha Mary Ann,
On measuring of areas and/or buildings, getting a close to accurate measurement is important. Approaches to consider include:

1) Secure whenever possible blueprints of the building to gain information on size and measurement.

2) Perform a physical measurement to compare with blueprint scale and/or to develop your own scale.

3) Always work with “gross” and/or “net cleanable” footage as a guide.

4) If a mechanical measuring device is not available, it is recommended to know your “measured pace,” so when need be, you can step off (your shoe size) the area to get estimated measurements.

5) Measuring floor and ceiling tiles can provide accurate measurements. Floor tiles come in two sizes; 1-foot squares and 9-inch squares. Ceiling tiles measure either 2-foot squares or 2 feet by 4 feet and, many times, allow for measurements to take place from a central point of the room.

6) Measuring a building from its outer perimeter is another approach by walking around the building. The measurements multiplied by the number of floors of the building will provide a close gross measurement.

7) Keep in mind that physical measuring of a building may be a slow process. If blueprints are not available, make an effort to draw your own working, simplified floor plan to serve as a guide.

8) With newly-developed condominiums or office buildings, checking with the developer for a “prospectus,” which may provide the measurements of the building, rooms and all common areas.

Diversified measuring devices may be purchased from home improvement stores. An excellent resource material for work-loading/time-to-task standards would be ISSA’s 447 Cleaning Times, found at Good luck.

Dear Rose,
In determining staffing needs what, if any, formula could you recommend to determine the ideal staff for a new housekeeping operation?

Aloha Mike,
Depending on the type of facility, some of the basic items to consider would be either by bed count, type of areas, room count, combined in all instances with square footage. To express in mathematical terms the formula for determining the number of employees needed, the equation could be as outlined below:

Let I = Ideal or adequate staff
Let F = Facility type to be serviced (hospital, hotel)
Let A = Area(s) to be serviced (rooms, common areas, offices)
Let S = Service system to be applied (zone, team, day/night cleaning)
Let T = Type of service /standard/ frequency (light, regular)
Let E = Equipment and supplies (vacuum, microfiber)
Let R = Reporting system (manual, electronic)

Therefore: F+A+S+T+E+R=I (Ideal staff)

Other factors involved further make the process of staffing complex:
Let C = Caliber of worker (experience/no experience)
Let Q = Quality of supervision (trained)
Let I = Internal management/training policy (support)
Let B = Building bugaboos (architectural problems, service elevators)

Therefore the final equation would read:
___________ = Ideal staff
C + Q + I + B

The above is applied in the work-loading of a building or area to include the processes of time to task for the work to be performed.

Supervisory span of control: The ideal would be one for every six to 10 workers per building, floor, division, unit and or management’s policies. Good luck!

Hi Rose,
I’m an EH for a one owner hotel and am working on developing a training program for our housekeeping operations. Please share recommended topics that should be included in my training manual.
Thank You,
Train the Trainer

Aloha TT,
The following are important topics to consider for a housekeeping training manual. OSHA training requirements include safety training, hazard communication, universal precaution — blood-borne pathogens.

Others may include basics to professional cleaning, cleaning procedures/processes (guest room cleaning, bathroom cleaning, bed-making, etc.), communicable diseases, health and wellness, communication and guest services, cleaning standards, green cleaning, cultural diversity, customer guest service excellence, communication, emergency procedures, personal grooming and more.

If you are interested, there is available at a small cost a manual titled “A Pail Full of Training” that will solve your housekeeping training program.

Posted in Clean Talk Columns.

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