Lack of enthusiasm for daytime cleaning

19th of December 2022
Lack of enthusiasm for daytime cleaning

Christian Bouzols in France explains that some commercial clients are not a fan of daytime cleaning.

Marie-Laure Léau runs a cleaning company, Segid, in Hérouville-Saint-Clair, a town situated near Caen in Normandy. Its more than 300 industrial cleaners of both sexes would ideally like to work during normal daytime hours and not to have to work at the crack of dawn or late at night. They see this as a priority, but not all their clients are in agreement. Indeed, some of them are quite reluctant. Marie-Laure Léau explains how she is facing this challenge and her approach in trying to convince reticent clients.

Ten years ago, you were already championing daytime scheduling for cleaning professionals. What is the situation today?

“We’ve made progress but it’s not easy everywhere. We have clients who are not willing to change. Sometimes they accept daytime scheduling but only partially. That could be the case of a shopping centre where a shift is at work daytime but where we’ve also been asked to deploy a team early in the morning. When a new client comes on board or when we take over a contract, we always request that work begins at 07.00 and not 06.00, or that lunch break is scrapped in exchange for doing away with very early starts.

What are your clients’ objections?

“Some think the work won’t be done well if there are people around although this can be handled perfectly well. Others tell us that our employees’ working conditions are our problem, not theirs.”
The 300 to 350 women and men who work for you, what kind of scheduling do they want?

“None of them want to work according to traditional schedules. Those workers with sufficient seniority have organised their lives on the basis of deferred work schedules and have asked for these. Some women prefer to work early so as to be back home in time to accompany their children to school. Others are also happy to work early because they have several jobs. As a matter of policy, we’re not allowing anyone to start work before 06.00, the only exception being a bakery, and all our cleaners can be back home for supper. Our decisions are based on both commercial and human factors.”

Cleaning trades are under stress these days. Would daytime schedules help you to recruit people?

“We’re having problems finding candidates. Work schedules are still being prepared for the coming week, and we’ve got dozens of workplaces to fill for January. Daytime scheduling is indeed one of the factors that improve working conditions. Most of our cleaners work part time, 20 hours on average. We also try to give our cleaners full time opportunities, but this is not ideal for a lot of them because it might conflict with the daily life structuring that suits them or because full time working might compromise some the social benefits to which they are entitled.

“We give great importance to training, which is carried out at our own centre and supports our recruitment efforts. We want all the people who work for us to be professional cleaners.”


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