Smart Cleaning: How Data Can Revolutionise Your Cleaning Process
Technology such as smart sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT), for example, is making everyday objects smarter, while building intelligence is...
Smart Cleaning: How Data Can Revolutionise Your Cleaning Process
The world is changing—and cleaning needs to keep up
In recent years, the ways that we work, relax, and do business have changed. The way that we interact with our work environments is undergoing a profound transformation too.
Technology such as smart sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT), for example, is making everyday objects smarter, while building intelligence is bringing the benefits of efficiency and sustainability to the workplace at scale. As a result, smart buildings are greener, cleaner, easier to manage, and more cost-effective for asset managers and businesses.
Of course, it’s not just technology that’s having an impact. The upheaval of the pandemic has changed behaviours and attitudes—possibly for good. Many employees no longer come into the office full-time, but their experience when they are there matters more than ever. They now demand better hygiene, deeper cleaning, and a workplace that supports their wellbeing.
Building managers need a new approach to cleaning that delivers exactly that: smart cleaning.
It’s time to do cleaning differently
Industry trends to be aware of
Employees and other building users are demanding higher cleaning quality, more efficient processes, and reassurance that spaces have been cleaned. But conventional ways to manage cleaning haven't been able to deliver on these demands.
In a recent study, we asked UK employees about their workplace wellbeing after the pandemic. Over 50% reported that workplace cleanliness affects their physical and mental health.
The same proportion said that more efficient cleaning at work would make them feel safer.
What’s more, 60% said they want building managers to use data to make cleaning processes more effective (and some would like to see that data themselves). Generally, we found that employees trust hard data to provide certainty that their building is being managed well.
And this isn’t an attitude that’s limited to the UK. When we asked 1,000 office workers in Asia-Pacific similar questions, 84% said that cleanliness is important for them to work effectively. 60% said they would feel more at ease if they could see statistics about cleaning.
At the same time, improved cleaning processes isn’t just a matter of employee preference. As of 2021, the UK’s National Health Service now has a strict cleaning mandate in place that includes the need for a published cleanliness rating system visible to patients, staff, and the public. Crucially, Section 10 of this standard states that digital and technology audit solutions should be considered in order to comply with the mandate. We expect other institutions to adopt similar standards too.
However, when it comes to cleaning, building managers can’t just do more of the same.
In a recent survey we ran, 30% of businesses said that more frequent cleaning is their answer to demands for improved conditions. Yet employees insist that deeper cleaning shouldn’t come at a cost to the environment.
For example, 40% of employees we asked said that they would be attracted to (and would stay at) a company that has a net-zero policy. Employees are committed to sustainability, and that’s something facility managers and cleaning teams can’t afford to overlook.
What is smart cleaning?
The way the industry is heading
There’s a different way to improve cleaning results while reducing costs and limiting your environmental footprint. That’s smart cleaning, a model of cleaning based on concrete building usage data, rather than rigid schedules, preset rotas, or stubborn habits.
Powered by IoT sensor technology, smart cleaning is a way for businesses to target the spaces in their buildings that need to be cleaned the most. Informed by live data on cleanliness conditions and space usage trends, cleaning managers can predict which resources are needed—and which will be needed—in a given place at a given time.
For example, throughout the day, it’s likely that not every space will be used—particularly when building occupancy is reduced. Desks, meeting rooms, and bathrooms that often sit empty just don’t require the same cleaning attention as other areas in the building.
Conventionally, these usage patterns wouldn’t be seen by cleaning teams. Instead, time, consumables, and money would be wasted on spaces that were perfectly clean already. But with smart occupancy and usage sensors deployed across the building, you can direct resources and staff to those areas that actually need cleaning.
How does it work? Sensors are installed on desks, doors, and throughout the building, to track touch, pressure, and temperature data, as well as footfall, in real-time. These sensors capture a live picture of space usage, and, with IoT technology, feed that data to a central dashboard.
Available on any device, the dashboard allows facility managers, cleaners, and porters to track usage, cleanliness, and user sentiment wherever they are, and to react quickly to any cleaning issues. What’s more, it can identify and predict usage trends—that fewer bathrooms are used on a Friday, for example, or that 20 out of 300 desks aren’t used at all.
What are the advantages of smart cleaning?
The adoption of smart sensor technology by businesses has long been held back by misconceptions about cost and the perception that it’s complex to deploy.
However, technology is now much more mature. Typically, building sensors are now easy to install, wireless, and discreet, and can be connected to cloud services and advanced analytics completely remotely.
More importantly, they’re delivering substantial benefits to cleaning teams. In short, with smart building sensors, you’ll be making cleaning more effective, responsive, and sustainable.
More efficient cleaning teams
Smart cleaning reduces the time spent on cleaning. For example, businesses typically see an average of a 20% reduction in cleaning time, freeing up staff to spend more time on deeper cleans and finishing touches.
Lower costs of cleaning
By improving efficiency and reducing time spent on cleaning, you’ll save money on labour and consumables. Simply, fewer surfaces need to be cleaned when your cleaning process is informed by usage data.
Higher quality cleans
Smart cleaning enables cleaning operatives to respond faster to any maintenance or hygiene issues. What’s more, it enables them to spend more time on deeper cleans more regularly, ensuring a higher standard of hygiene.
Improved employee experience
With smart cleaning, you’ll give your employees and building users what they demand: reliable cleaning and improved hygiene, led by data. Businesses using smart cleaning have reported that their cleaning staff are more satisfied at work too.
Reduced environmental impact
Many cleaning products are high in VOCs and other chemicals that are bad for staff, visitors, and the environment. By making cleaning more efficient, fewer consumables and other resources are needed, driving greater efficiency.
Easier return to work
With the current trend in flexible working, occupancy levels can fluctuate dramatically—often with very little warning. So cleaning teams need to know the spaces that are actually used. Smart cleaning is the only way to do that.
Introducing the Healthy Building System
Infogrid's Building Intelligence platform
At Infogrid, we’ve designed the smartest cleaning system available, made possible by our Healthy Building System
Our wireless IoT sensors track live building usage and feed that data to a central dashboard, where building managers can monitor patterns and statistics and respond to notifications, in real-time. Here’s how it works.
By monitoring temperature, proximity, touch, and pressure, the sensors build a clear picture of which rooms and furniture are used across the site—all in real-time.
We partner with the manufacturers of the smartest sensors in the world, that track occupancy, desk usage, and other key data. What’s more, the sensors are discreet, completely wireless, and they can be installed in minutes—allowing you to reap the benefits immediately.
All of the live data collected by the sensors is fed to our proprietary data platform. From a single screen—no matter where you are—you can monitor usage across your whole site, in whichever form is most convenient for you.
Statistics and reports
Not all staff members need to access all of the data the system collects.
Night cleaning teams, for example, can receive a full report of space usage at the beginning of each shift, which can be printed or viewed on a device. Meanwhile, cleaning managers can track larger usage trends, so they can ensure the right resources are in place when and where they’re needed.
Sometimes cleaning needs to be done immediately—but it’s difficult for cleaning teams using a rota-based system to know where and when. With smart cleaning, you can set up alerts based on user sentiment or when consumables are running low.
Integration with other systems
Cleaning data may not be the only information about your building you need. With Infogrid’s Healthy Building System, you can monitor indoor air quality, energy efficiency, water safety, and site security all on the same interface.
Smart cleaning in action
How our clients have used the Healthy Building System
There are many businesses that have already benefited from smart cleaning with our Healthy Building System. Here are stories from two clients who have put the system to work.
The retail company
In a shopping centre in London, Infogrid installed door monitoring sensors in every toilet cubicle, to monitor traffic, feedback, and usage.
The system has had a massive impact. Our client reports more efficient cleaning services and savings of £15,000 a year for every ten bathrooms across the centre—as well as greater customer satisfaction and improved employee retention.
The facility managers
The French facility management company serves over 30,000 customers in over 25 countries. At one location in London, it trialled the smart cleaning system across 3 levels of toilets.
The results? Over a year, the solution saved them over £700 and reduced the amount of time staff spent cleaning the toilets by a third. That’s empowered them to produce a better cleaning experience across the rest of the building.