How to Master Your Cleaning Plan in Your Company

Build a standardized workloading strategy with these six steps

Disinfecting took center stage during the global pandemic. You may now find yourself behind on other important cleaning tasks assigned a lower priority. How do you determine and defend staffing levels to ensure these cleaning tasks are completed too? Standardization, workloading, and scheduling are the keys to your successful cleaning plan.

Cleaning organizations typically don’t standardize their methods for determining cleaning practices and priorities, even with a limited staff. Many are reactionary in their custodial operations and lack a dedicated investment in workloading. 

Organizations that create tightly integrated and standardized workloading solutions are better able to stay on course for success, even when there are less people available to do the work. They are prepared when an opportunity or crisis arises that requires a quick decision.

Efficient workloading creates a calendar for necessary tasks and documents their frequency. It enables staff assignments based on a building’s cleaning needs, the risks associated with doing (or not doing) these tasks, and the available budget.

Proper workloading that is specific to the tools and equipment chosen allows organizations to align resources with the people who do the work. 

Set up your standards 

The way forward is easier than you think. Adopting an existing standard that has already been vetted by the JanSan industry will make the process much simpler. The new Official ISSA Cleaning Times resource details hundreds of tasks and tools, including a reference time for each. For additional help, implement the following suggestions to create an integrated approach to the entire cleaning program:

1. Set aside the right amount of time. Dedicate the appropriate amount of time to plan, execute, and follow through to ensure your success.

2. Define your cleaning objectives. Give some thought to defining and setting your cleaning goals. Make sure these goals are in line with the organization's expectations, regulatory requirements, and desired healthy cleaning results. This will help as a guide later when you are prioritizing, assigning, and scheduling cleaning work. Make sure tasks and workload are aligned with these goals, and review them frequently to make sure they stay aligned, especially if you've recently given your full attention to disinfection.

Defining your cleaning goal will also allow you to more easily clear your cleaning schedule from tasks that are not getting you close to achieving your goals.

3. Calculate the workload. Once you've defined your cleaning goals, you'll need to figure out what needs to be done to achieve them. In other words, you must calculate the actual workload of the cleaning crew. This step will vary in complexity based on the type, size, and number of areas that can be cleaned, the types of space, and the tasks involved, so it helps to break it down.
First, make a list of all the cleaning projects and processes that the cleaning team needs to complete. Using the official ISSA Cleanup Times, estimate the time and commitment that each of these cleanup projects and processes will require of your team.
Divide projects/processes into smaller tasks/phases to establish daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly workload. Identify which tasks are most urgent and organize them by priority.

4. Establish your team’s capacity. Now that you know how much cleaning work needs to be done, you need to understand how much work your cleaning crew can do. Make sure to take into account real-life events such as vacations, hiring issues, or other commitments/responsibilities.

5. Distribute the cleaning work. Assign the cleaning job according to the workloaded tasks. Avoid overcharging those who outperform and undermining those at the other end of the spectrum. Giving work to those who will take it up with enthusiasm and complete it quickly will be tempting, but you risk burning them out.

6. Be flexible. Don't expect to complete the workload once and be done with it. You should also be prepared to reorganize your workload if necessary. Take a flexible approach and understand that you may need to change, as being rigid about your workload strategy can create long-term cleaning problems. Priorities can change and workloads can become uneven. As long as everything balances out over the course of a year, it is normal to have ups and downs while achieving the desired cleaning results.

Building a better cleaning plan 

A workload strategy gives JanSan organizations the opportunity to create an efficient and innovative cleaning plan with a balanced workload that leads to high performance. The standardized workload benefits not only front-line janitors, but also the employees tasked with creating and advocating for custodial staffing levels. The result provides a mathematical and factual basis for custodial staffing levels to meet customer and management expectations for cleanliness.

By: Tim Poskin

Tim Poskin is the 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