How has job scheduling technology for janitorial services evolved in the past five years?
Davis: Technology, in general, has changed exponentially over the past five years. Today, we’re seeing an increased reliance on mobile technology by cleaners to perform work. Real-time communication for schedules and job expectations to workers are must-haves. And real-time reporting (especially in hybrid environments where cleaners aren’t as visible to customer contacts) has become more important since the beginning of the pandemic. It boils down to adaptable technology. As scheduling needs have evolved over the past five years, and continue to evolve in the future, adaptable technology can be leveraged to meet those needs proactively.
What are some key benefits of job scheduling software for building service contractors (BSCs) today?
Davis: Key benefits can be boiled down to improving productivity, efficiencies, and profitability of a BSC. Specifically, job scheduling software:
- Allocates resources effectively to deliver on contract obligations, like setting up recurring schedules, establishing labor and supply budgets, and evaluating capacity
- Automates notifications for better transparency, including exception and issue reporting or missed work and absenteeism alerts
- Integrates workflows from job approval and scheduling to timekeeping, customer sign-off, and invoicing
- Enables your workforce to deliver work to spec and collect customer sign-off with digital statements of work and/or task lists
- Digitizes recordkeeping to replace manual paperwork, reduce risk, and speed up (and expand) reporting opportunities.
Can both small and large contractors benefit from job scheduling software?
Davis: The same margin challenges apply to BSCs, regardless of business size. No matter the size of the company, contract obligations need to be managed and completed to spec. So, it’s important to gain efficiencies where you can. When selecting job scheduling software, it’s important to consider your unique business needs and factor in scalability. A larger company may require complementary solutions, like employee tracking or pre-hiring and onboarding applicant tracking systems (ATS) solutions, or more application programming interface (API) integrations. A smaller company may want custom reports, or the ability to scale a solution (without starting from scratch) as revenue and business size grows. And, whether a company employs five cleaners or 500 cleaners, job scheduling helps communicate clearly what work they need to complete.
What are some scheduling software development and/or usage trends you see today and moving forward over the next few years?
Davis: We’re living in an interesting time right now. Hiring and staffing shortages are creating gaps in schedules as employee resources are stretched thin. We expect we’ll see the need for solutions to support access for subcontractor or gig workers who are stepping in to fill those gaps. Another possibility that might help address labor shortages is robotic technology (i.e., unmanned cleaning) to fulfill contract expectations.
As an industry, we could be shifting away from interval-based cleaning, where tasks are addressed at regular intervals, to demand-based cleaning, where tasks are addressed based on space usage or traffic flow, especially with heightened health and safety protocols worldwide. This could leave the door open for more Internet of Things (IoT) opportunities, where tasks are triggered by room usage or dispenser levels, for example.