Home' Inclean NZ : INCLEAN NZ Feb 2018 Contents 18 INCLEANNZ February 2018
connection. When problems like these occur, cleaners lose faith very
quickly if the product doesn’t work.
“Some cleaners also feel uncomfortable by the fact that they’re being
watched; that every element of their day is essentially being monitored
and tracked. To overcome this we’ve started working with unions and
the cleaning teams and reassured them it’s an empowerment tool and
not a monitoring tool – and they’ve embraced that quite well.”
Patel also notes a reluctance from some Australian and NZ business
owners to provide hardware to staff.
“Some can be a bit gun-shy about giving a mobile device to staff.
There’s also an inertia of ‘we’ve always done it this way, why would
we change it?’
From an international perspective, Patel, who is US-based, says
while NZ is receptive to new technologies, the sector is still behind
industry leaders like the US, who he says focus on the positives the
technology brings, including staff empowerment, better labour
efficiency, saving on costs and time, and being able to repurpose
cleaning staff to engage in value-added tasks.
“Our Kiwi clients are a lot more embracing of technology than
Australians. They are definitely more innovative and see the value in
what we offer.”
Implementing mobile technologies in a cost-economic way is also a
major challenge for many cleaning firms, with many in management
reluctant to change, according to O’Brien.
“Cleaning is not a high-margin business and some businesses may
not be able to afford to give phones to their employees. Therefore we
have to find cost-economic ways to overcome this, whether that means
purchasing cheaper handsets or to ask cleaners to BYOD (Bring Your
Brown believes it is commonly the business owner who is more
resistant to implementing new technology.
“A lot of businesses out there are run by an older generation who
are not comfortable using technology, whereas their cleaning staff are
constantly using apps and are on social media. I’ve spoken to people
who are actually scared of losing control of their business because
people on the frontline are more proficient at using technology.
“Supervisors have also expressed concerns about the use of
technology. They ask ‘are they going to be replaced?’ Middle
management can view technology as a threat.”
More to come
Looking ahead, O’Brien anticipates features such as facial recognition
and biometrics to come into play “to help make the use of all these
devices faster and easier”. ISS is also set to introduce Bluetooth
“We’re seeing the use of Bluetooth more and more and we’re
deploying that too. Bluetooth beacons are being used to help with
locational proof and areas where there isn’t a Wi-Fi connection.”
Patel says the use of mobile applications is moving beyond client
management into areas such as infection control.
“An example would be if there was an outbreak in a hospital. The
technology could be used as evidence to track back to where the outbreak
took place and if it was due to a cleaning issue or something else.”
Brown predicts mobile technology to soon become the industry
norm, but advises there is no one size fits all approach.
“We’re still pinpointing what works and what doesn’t, but technology
is resonating more. In the next couple of years, I think you’re going
to see companies discovering better ways to solve challenges through
technology and technology becoming a standard that you must use.
“But, there’s no silver bullet. Technology is an investment
throughout the entire team and a lot of people miss that. They buy it
to solve one issue and move on and forget about it. Businesses need to
assess what their challenges are – is it time sheet fraud? Staff training?
Staff accountability? Knowing that will drive the right IT outcome. I
wouldn’t suggest they choose technology just for technology’s sake.”
Despite the influx of mobile technology, Brown says there will
always be a need for traditional cleaning methods and high quality
“The traditional methods of cleaning from the basics of mopping
a floor to washing windows are still very much there. Cleaning will
always be needed; the rise of technology is ultimately enhancing how
this cleaning is being carried out. Technology simply allows people to
provide a better service.”
“Cleaners are expected to be mobile
phone savvy and for some that
can be quite challenging. We have
to merge new technology with old
school employees. There is a bit of a
generational change taking place as
our cleaners adapt and we find the right
way to ease them into that space.”
Links Archive INCLEAN NZ Nov 2017 INCLEAN NZ May 2018 Navigation Previous Page Next Page