By shadowing hospital cleaning staff in Germany I discovered that this is a high pressure job. Poorly paid staff are required to clean a large amount of square meters per hour, despite interruptions due to emergencies. Such an unpredictable and time pressured work environment, coupled with poor training about hygiene, leads to cut corners and poor performance by cleaning staff.
A holistic solution
The multi-faceted nature of the problems required a holistic solution. I collaboratively developed new educational, digital tools and training methods for cleaning staff. This included meetings with other staff members to discuss issues and an app that would allow cleaners to give feedback about their experience. Improved documentation and communication allows constant improvement to the cleaning service and the cleaning experience in the long term.
How can digital tools help?
The app could be accessed anywhere in the hospital, allowing staff to access a schedule, cleaning checklist and receive updates about which rooms might suddenly be in use due to emergencies. This new application required retraining and new roles for other members of staff to improve cooperation and coordination of services.
How do you feel?
It was clear from research that the stressful experience of cleaning staff was not being considered. They were given a cramped staff room and trained in poorly lit corridors. Staff were often immigrants who could not always understand German well enough to complete the training. Therefore I felt a feedback system embedded in the app to keep track of issues and find new solutions was very important.