The Affect of Workplace Density on Commercial Cleaning Bids

How Workplace density affects your commercial cleaning bidIn the UK in 2008, the workplace density was 1 employee per 128 square feet. In 2013, it was 110 square feet per employee. So when analyzing a 25,000 square foot office you could have 15% more employees working in the same space.

When looking at time and motion studies, it takes 30 seconds to empty and replace a garbage liner. Just calculating the garbage liners for the increased amount of workers that’s more than 71 man-hours per year just for the garbage cans.

Depending on the rate of pay and corresponding expenses, that’s another $150 per month just to empty garbage cans in an office many would consider a smaller sized office. Since 2008 where the global economy has seen major changes, it seems reasonable that budgets for cleaning have lowered instead of keeping pace with the increased density of workplaces around the world.

The Affect of Workplace Density on Your Commercial Cleaning Bid

Workplace density is a large factor in determining budgets, or at least it should be. I have seen office environments where there are 2 or 3 workers in a 110 square foot office. In this case not only were cleaning frequencies reduced but the overall budgets were reduced as well.

By doing this, you have to be aware of the trade-offs. You are reducing the cleaners to little more than garbage removers. Little to no attention can be given to proper cleaning procedures for the day to day activities and the required cleaning to insure a clean work place.

Thought must be given to the overall cost of cleaning as it relates to the workplace. The lack of cleaning is contributing to a reduction in workplace productivity due to sick days and general well-being of the work force.

Workplace density is a critical component to consider when determining budgets for cleaning, along with the type of industry.

Workplace Configuration

Workplace configuration is also critical. I have seen workplaces where the garbage disposal bin is a long distance from the main workspace. If it’s a 5 minute return trip, multiply that by how many garbage bags the cleaner has to carry and whether there are a lot of recyclables or cardboard, etc. to remove. Workplace configuration can be a big factor in the cleaning times.

Factors That Increase Cleaning Times

  • What is the industry type?Employee eating at their desk  requires extra cleaning
  • What is the workplace environment?
  • Do the employees have to work long hours?
  • Are the employees under large amounts of stress?
  • Do the employees eat at their desks?
  • Are the garbage bins full of garbage and half-full coffee cups?

These factors will increase the cleaning times by double or more than what average time and motion studies are suggesting for garbage removal, desk cleaning and other cleaning tasks.

Storage Space for Janitorial Supplies

In many cases, there is very little space for janitorial storage. Often, the cleaners have to bring everything with them that they need to clean the offices and other work areas. If the office is small to even average size, not having certain equipment on site adds significantly to the time required.

Loading and unloading could add 15 minutes per day, over the course of a year this task adds 60 or 70 hours which equates to another $100/month allocated to loading and unloading. These efforts take away from the amount of time devoted to actual cleaning.

Workplace density, workplace layout, and workplace configuration may not seem significant, but the costs do add up.


The cost of cleaning a 25,000 square foot office should be consistent from building to building. In reality, factors that seem small like density and layout increase cleaning costs in the long run and must be taken into consideration when determining your janitorial budget.

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