“All clean!”, or the cleaning secrets of New St. Isaac’s

When it comes to keeping business centres in Russia clean, there are generally two approaches. The first is outsource the work; in other words, to hire a service provider. The second is to do it yourself, by adding cleaners to the business centre’s own team.

New St. Isaac’s has never resorted to hiring cleaning companies; instead we have independently organised the cleaning of our building. In other words, the business centre adheres to the “do-it-yourself” approach. Our cleaners are well acquainted with our tenants, they can adapt to our tenants’ wishes, and they know the particularities of all of the offices – not only the ones they are each assigned to. That means they can replace each other when one or more is away on holiday, and they are rightly known as the “keepers of the business centre”.

“All clean!”, or the cleaning secrets of New St. Isaac’s “All clean!”, or the cleaning secrets of New St. Isaac’s

The administration of New St. Isaac’s has always understood the importance of retaining our staff and is keenly aware of the importance of developing their skills and competences.

Valeriya Semenova, Marketing Director:

“At the 3rd meeting of the St. Petersburg business centres, we initiated the discussion ’First-class service: welcoming, efficient, and safe’, during which the majority of the time was dedicated to discussing cleaning. The absolute majority of business centres turn to the services of service providers and only a few keep cleaning services in their own hands. Outsourced cleaning services don’t meet everyone’s expectations in terms of quality, but it is easier to organise and experienced managers are employed there with tried-and-tested approaches. So we got thinking: would it be possible to combine these two approaches, taking the best from each?”

In November 2012 New St. Isaac’s tasked the service provider “Akademiya Chistotiy” to monitor the quality of cleaning in the business centre. The firm produced a detailed report based on the results of the audit, including photos, descriptions and analysis of shortcomings, and possible solutions to problems.

“In November 2012, New St. Isaac’s scored 7 out of 10. The monitoring allowed us to identify some outdated approaches to the use of resources, and highlighted some hard-to-reach areas as well as some which the cleaners had not yet considered. We were satisfied with the evaluation and agreed that our common goal should be to achieve 10 out of 10,” explains Valeriya.

Following the audit, technical maps were produced, which function as a detailed cleaning plan for the premises and one that takes into account all of its unique features.

Marina Nikolaevna Panova, Director “Akademiya Chistotiy”

“We clearly set-out how many hours we would spend on the cleaning of each office, what cleaning techniques we would use for this and that surface/cover, including for the glossy white floor. All of the business centre’s cleaners underwent training in line with the cleaning plan: a three-day seminar was organised for them, consisting of theoretical and practical parts. This allowed us to increase their motivation; indeed we noted lively professional interest from their side and a desire to quickly put into practice the new cleaning techniques and materials in their respective offices.”

The next stage was to actually apply this new knowledge in a work environment. In order to support and evaluate the work of the cleaners, we set up a unique “helpline”, by means of which they could call us to pose any question regarding cleaning and the use of the new materials. Throughout 2013 we monitored the quality of the cleaning and noted down the results in a table. At first we did this twice a month and later this became once a month. All of the cleaners could then see their scores and ask questions. The “cleaning books” in each office also helped to facilitate communication between the cleaners and the tenants.

From 2014, the cleaning quality audit is carried out by the business centre’s technical director (who has received the relevant training), as well as by the service provider. This combined approach, pioneered by New St. Isaac’s, has allowed us to bring together the advantages of two different ways of organising cleaning. On the one hand we have been able to keep our own team of staff cleaners, to avoid high staff turnover, and to invest in our staff and see them develop. On the other, we’ve ensured a professional appraisal of internal processes, motivated our staff, and organised an audit and cleaning consulting for both the cleaners and the business centre administration.