How to keep your university clean when cleaning staffing is low?

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The UK’s cleaning industry is facing severe shortages and Universities are feeling the pinch.

It is no secret that staffing levels for cleaning crews on university campuses are often quite low. This can lead to issues with cleanliness, as there simply aren’t enough people to keep things tidy. A new UNISON survey shows how bad the staff shortages are in the further education sector. 82% of facilities/cleaning staff reported shortages, with over two-thirds (68%) of them saying essential services are not running.

The British Cleaning Council (BCC) is sounding the alarm. In the past six months, two of the 11 businesses surveyed had hiring difficulties increase by more than 250 per cent. The predominant factor for such shortages was an exodus of foreign nationals. The cleaning sector in the United Kingdom, above all others, is highly dependent on foreign talent.

This is a serious problem, as a clean and well-maintained campus is essential for both students and staff. A dirty environment can lead to an increase in illness, and it can also make it difficult to concentrate on studies or work. If you are concerned about the level of cleanliness on your university campus, it is important to have a plan in place. This is particularly relevant when there is a shortage of cleaning staff.

Large Campus

Universities are large, complex, and often require a great deal of cleaning. Some have multiple campuses; some include halls on campus. Each campus is filled with various departments and buildings including lecture halls, science labs, performance spaces and art studios. Your cleaning team needs to have regular training that empowers them and helps them handle such a massive task.

Everything will need cleaning and regular maintenance throughout the year. If cleaning staffing is short, the job will no doubt take up more time. Cleaning a university is a big task and breaking it down into smaller steps will help you succeed.

Unclean University

A shortage in cleaning staff can lead to jobs left unfinished or not having enough time to complete the work. This leaves your university dirty, and as a result, your students and teachers will not want to come to learn/work. If your university is left cluttered and dirty, it can be distracting and eventually no one will sign up for courses. People might even leave their jobs. Recognising the efforts of your cleaning staff will help motivate them to be more productive. Showing your gratitude and offering rewards can also inspire them to work harder. This will help ensure that they cover for the shortage in staff.

Incentives lead to more engaged staff and a cleaner and healthier facility. They can also help retain more members of the cleaning team, ensuring that you face no more loss of staff.


You need to prioritize what needs cleaning and when. You also need to think about which areas are used most by students and staff. These are the areas that should be given priority.

For example, lecture halls and seminar rooms will need to be cleaned every day during term time. But art studios or science labs may only need a deep clean once a week.

If you are short on staff, it is also worth considering hiring temporary workers or students to help with the cleaning. This extra manpower can be vital in ensuring that your university is kept clean.

Communicate With Students and Staff

It is important to communicate with both students and staff about the cleaning situation. If there are going to be changed to the cleaning schedule, make sure everyone is aware of them. It is also worth asking for help from students and staff.

For example, you could ask students to wipe down their desks after using them. Or you could set up a rota for staff to help clean common areas at the end of each day.

By involving students and staff in the cleaning process, you can help to keep your university clean even when staffing is short.

Organize Your Cleaning Team

When you are short on staff, it is more important than ever to have a well-organized cleaning team. This means having a clear hierarchy and everyone knowing their roles and responsibilities.

It is also worth creating a cleaning schedule that outlines when each area should be cleaned. This will help to ensure that everything is kept clean and tidy. And it will also make it easier to spot when areas are not being cleaned properly.

If you have a well-organized cleaning team, you can keep your university clean even when staffing levels are low.

There are a few things that you can do to help keep your university clean, even when staffing is low:

  • Encourage students and staff to pick up litter and put it in the bin. This will help to keep walkways and common areas clean.
  • Make sure that all bins are emptied regularly. Overflowing bins are one of the main complaints that people have about cleanliness on campus.
  • Encourage everyone to use recycling bins. This will help to reduce the amount of rubbish that needs to be disposed of.
  • Set up a cleaning rota for existing cleaning staff. This can help to ensure that kitchens and bathrooms are continually kept clean.
  • Make sure that all classrooms and common areas are cleaned regularly. This can be done by hiring external cleaning staff or by using existing staff during evenings and weekends.

It is also important to raise any concerns that you have about cleanliness with the university authorities. They need to be aware of the problem so that they can take steps to address it.

Short-Term Cleaners

Another way in which you can keep your university clean despite a shortage of staff is to hire short-term cleaners. They can do one-off jobs and help you catch up with cleaning. For big campuses, a one-off cleaning service can make sure that every task is covered. Furthermore, it can save you time and money, allowing you to focus on your other important jobs. They can come at a time that is suitable for you, and be flexible with their work schedule.

professional cleaning service will guarantee that the right equipment and chemicals are used for your facility. They will supply their cleaners with industry-standard training and the correct protective gear. Professional cleaners will also be able to work throughout the off-season when students and teachers may not be on campus. This will help maintain a clean environment in preparation for the new academic year.


Keeping your university clean when staffing is short can be a challenge. But it is possible to succeed if you prioritize and communicate with students and staff. You also need to have a well-organized cleaning team.

Implementing a few of these suggestions will help you to maintain a clean university even when facing staff shortages. Planning what you need, providing staff incentives, and investing in a one-off cleaning service keep your campuses clean.

If you are thinking about changing your cleaning provider please get in touch. We operate nationwide and have cleaners available at short notice. We also offer a range of services, from one-off cleans to regular cleaning contracts. Our team is highly trained and our prices are competitive. Contact us today for a free quote.

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