Despite the low prestige that is often given to the janitor in our society, he is actually considered a very well respected workman by most business managers. Janitors are given keys and access to offices after hours that most employees are not given. They have a good reputation for trust worthiness and it is usually well deserved. However, besides the honesty required for the job, there are three other qualities of a great janitor that I have found from my observations in my 30 years as a building service contractor.
1) The Ability to See Dirt
Some janitors can walk into a room and see at a glance what is dirty and what is not and efficiently clean everything needing cleaning in short order. Other cleaners take twice as long to clean the same room and still leave dirt behind. This ability to see and clean dirt can be trained, but it comes down to observing the obvious, then being able to clean efficiently to a high standard. The best janitors have this ability.
2) Taking the Client’s Viewpoint
Part of this is finding out exactly what is important to the boss of that office or building. Sometimes it is detail dusting on desk tops. Other times it is the way the trash bags are placed in the cans or the scent of the cleaner in the restroom. Every office and boss is a little different. A good janitor knows this and responds accordingly to keep everyone happy. Another part of taking the client’s viewpoint is by actually sitting in the chair of the boss or receptionist occasionally and looking. Sometimes from these points of view a cobweb or door smudge can be seen easier than by walking through the room cleaning. The janitor can thus respond and avoid potential complaints.
3) Personal IntegrityThis, of course, includes being perfectly honest and respecting the client’s property. It also extends to include taking no liberties with the office’s snack food, appliances, etc. Any accidental damage caused while cleaning should be handled with a note left, and then followed up with an offer to fix or replace. Even beyond this, a janitor with good integrity heeds and replies to any note left for him.
A janitor with integrity would always arrive to clean at the agreed upon time and day and call ahead if there was a need to reschedule. Finally, a janitor with integrity takes pride in his work. He knows what needs to be done and does it. As an example, if the janitor knows that the blinds are to be dust wiped weekly, then he does it weekly and does not try to leave it to 2 weeks or a month. Likewise, restroom fixtures need to be treated to remove mineral scale periodically and not ignored or forgotten as happens all too frequently.
The building manager trusts this type of janitor and has confidence in his ability to do his job competently.
Ralph C. Temps
President of Ability Maintenance Service