Building a Team of Cleaning Specialists and the Basics of How to Do it

Use this simplified approach to workload your labor and meet your goals.

It looks easy to maintain a clean and healthy facility but it is not. The task of assigning cleaning jobs that align with the results you want and the level of service in all areas of your building can be a very heavy task. With so many assets to clean and sanitize in a facility, from offices, kitchens, bathrooms, to numerous types of floors and upholstery, most of the time it takes a lot of people to get the job done. The question is: how can the workload be managed?

Create a team of cleaning specialists

The age-old question of workload is whether you should assign cleaning staff the work of specialists or generalists. In other words, do you set up your team to perform fewer tasks in a larger area (specialist), or do you deploy your workers to perform all necessary cleaning tasks in a smaller area (generalist)?

Assigning your cleaning crew to be cleaning specialists is a much easier and more efficient way to designate roles on the job. When you do a load of work this way, you get a highly trained team in that particular area, whether it's bathroom cleaning, carpet cleaning, or sanitizing spaces. Think about this comparison: You don't see a general practitioner if you have a respiratory condition. You go to a pulmonologist who specializes in treating lung-related problems. Cleaning companies are in the business of creating safe, healthy environments so that you can live, work and play peacefully. Cleaning specialists become experts in areas that can have life-saving consequences in cleaning for health and preventing infection. Think of specialists as cleaning pulmonologists.

Bundle your cleaning tasks

The cleaning specialist model merges, or groups, two or more small tasks into a single action group in which various issues such as value, size, and performance require a single effort applied to all tasks. The ultimate goal is to make similar and related tasks easier to handle and execute. As a general rule of thumb, grouped tasks are performed at a lower level of complexity than your total individual efforts. An employee assigned to a bundle of cleaning tasks views this package as a single project or goal to achieve it.

For example, let’s look at fixtures as one task area we can bundle for a restroom cleaning specialist. In this method, a single cleaning time can be used to calculate the total time it takes to perform all cleaning tasks in a restroom. The cleaning time can be calculated as the number of fixtures to be cleaned, multiplied by the production rate in minutes to be cleaned. The amount of time it takes to clean a restroom based on the per-fixture method is available in the newly revised Official ISSA Cleaning Times resource in the Specialist Section under restroom cleaning (RCL-7, see chart below). 


Empty trash, clean and disinfect fixtures, mirrors, and partitions, replace supplies, dust, sweep, and wet-mop floor.Restroom cart, trash liners, consumable supplies, chemical cleaning cloths, broom, duster, dustpan, mop and bucket, and squeegee and applicatorPer fixture3.00

Source: Official ISSA Cleaning Times

The cleaning specialist model bundles tasks to provide a simplified cleaning time solution based on industry-accepted and benchmarked production rates. Although generalist workloading calculates every task a cleaning job requires—specified by area, frequency, and even floor type (i.e., carpet, waxable tile)—specialist workloading utilizes a simple tool to quickly and accurately crunch the numbers. Therefore, numerous complex calculations of every individual cleaning task is unnecessary.

Simplify for flexibility and efficiency

Specialist workloading allows managers the flexibility to quickly review, reset, and change on-site cleaning tasks. Creating task cards that work for both the manager and the cleaning crew can be difficult and time-consuming on the agenda. Tasks can be listed on a page or two only, rather than a thirty-page spreadsheet that can confuse even the most experienced janitor.

So, take a moment to identify your reasons for seeking simplicity early on. This clarity of new ideas will keep you moving even when the complexity of getting to the simple feels too much. I prefer the simple workloading with cleaning specialists because I want more time for what really matters and to experience more peace of mind and less stress.

With a busy schedule, the need to be more efficient within work hours is a high priority. The Cleaning Specialist model gives you a specific insight into the cleaning time required by the task, by area, and of course, by building.

By Tim Poskin

Tim Poskin is founder and systems integrator of ISSA’s Cleaning Change Solutions™ Consulting and serves as the executive director of the ISSA Workloading and Benchmarking Council. Poskin may be reached at

Source: CMM Online, ISSA