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Have you seen this cleaner?

07 March 2013

On a dark Autumn night,Principle Cleaning Services' chief executive,Douglas Cooke took to the streets of London in disguise to reinact the popular Channel 4 tv programme 'Undercover Boss'

On a dark Autumn night,Principle Cleaning Services' chief executive,Douglas Cooke took to the streets of London in disguise to reinact the popular Channel 4 tv programme 'Undercover Boss' Undercover Boss portrays executives taking extraordinary steps to ensure their companies are thriving by going undercover in their own businesses.

Douglas' undercover mission to examine the inner workings of Principle Cleaning Services involved him growing a beard and donning a baseball cap and company uniform to become a night cleaner on an eight hour shift. With the permission of two high profile clients, one a financial institution and the other a media organisation, he managed to get away with being a mature student from Sweden needing to earn money to fund his engineering course.

Throughout the shift and floor by floor,Douglas carried out normal office cleaning duties such as cleaning and wiping down over 500 desks and emptying bins working within a team of six other operatives.

Douglas had total backing from the clients involved, who were impressed that the chief executive of a cleaning company was doing something like this. The aim of the experiment was to primarily meet the staff, find out what they thought of their work and their personal view of the company and to examine what type of quality service the client was receiving.

Cleaning's got talent Overall,Douglas was impressed to see for himself what a talented and dedicated team of staff work at Principle Cleaning Services and said "The cleaning supervisors and their teams were so cheerful and motivated in their work it was a real privilege to see. I was extremely proud of them as they embrace new technology and new cleaning methods and are exceptionally proud of the job they do." After travelling an hour each way to get there by underground and throughout his shift,Douglas met and was very impressed with one very quality driven supervisor,who he felt could with further development and training become a member of the company's senior management team.After the shift finished,Douglas did not return home until 7.30am finally getting to bed at 8.30am.

Embracing change Douglas was particularly interested to witness how much the cleaning industry has changed since he started in the industry twenty years ago. A host of technological and innovative cleaning practices have since been introduced including new machinery, microfibre cloths,wipe sweep pads, and vacuum cleaners and Douglas notes these have all been embraced by clients helping to make cleaning easier. Douglas observes that a commitment to sustainability has become an integral part of how cleaning is carried out in recent years with a move towards daytime cleaning an essential part of this. In many places daytime cleaning is helping to increase productivity and reduce energy bills and chemical usage which have helped to minimise the impact of cleaning on the environment.

Following his experience Douglas is concerned that the boredom factor is still a major challenge for night time cleaners which he feels further backs up the case for making the switch to daytime cleaning.

The growing popularity of open planned office spaces has helped cleaners to be more efficient,moving around areas faster, however they are faced with the challenge that germs and bacteria are transmitted and spread more easily in such spaces.

Overall, taking into account all the improved cleaning materials and technology,Douglas is keen to emphasise that cleaning is still very hard work and physically intensive and credit should be given to operatives who continue to maintain high standards and a positive attitude in their work.