Smart time tracking in commercial cleaning

Smarte Zeiterfassung in der Gebäudereinigung

In most cases, commercial cleaning personnel are mobile, working in diverse locations primarily during off-peak hours. The more employees and customers a company has, the harder it is to maintain an overview—at least without the right support. Tracking work time precisely is indispensable here, but trying to do so with pen and paper is difficult when employees are on the go. Thanks to digitization in the cleaning sector, there are now various solutions with which you can conveniently manage your cleaning personnel’s time sheets online. In this article, we show you what needs to be taken into account when implementing smart time tracking in commercial cleaning.

Goodbye time sheet—hello digital time tracking

Many commercial cleaning companies track their employees’ work time using the conventional approach of time sheets.Smaller firms can often cope well on this basis. For companies of a certain size, however, managing paper time sheets can quickly lead to confusion, as the volume is simply too large. This method is also often inexact because, in most cases, the time sheets aren’t filled out until the end of the workday. Even larger inaccuracies may only become apparent at month’s end, when the time sheets are collected—and when it is too late to easily rectify any discrepancies.

The further disadvantages of this pen-and-paper system are numerous. Handwritten entries can be illegible. Time sheets may also get lost or be submitted to the employer late, making this system error-prone. In addition, employers and employees alike find the required effort to be burdensome and inconvenient. Moreover, with manual time sheets, there isn’t any reliable control as to whether they have been filled out correctly.


Although for young companies in particular, a spreadsheet may offer a viable alternative, a flexible digital solution is significantly more advantageous in the long term.

What are the advantages of digital time tracking?

Using modern apps, work hours in the commercial cleaning sector can be tracked with accuracy right down to the minute. One way of doing this is with a stopwatch function that allows time tracking to be started and ended with just a click. This reduces susceptibility to errors, as the apps can, for example, call users’ attention to overlapping time entries.

In addition, flexible work time models can be saved in the app for all personnel—a real benefit in this sector, especially, where around 4 out of 5 employees work on a part-time basis. Using this data, the app automatically calculates the respective employee’s vacation entitlement. And team leads can also view and verify employees’ recorded work hours.

In this way, work hours can be recorded for various buildings and customers—which in turn enables highly accurate calculations. The digital solution is a help in planning, too, as the precise data facilitate future pricing. Thorough planning can provide a competitive advantage and at least somewhat reduce cost pressure in the cleaning sector.

Zeiterfassung der Reinigungskraft

In the apps, all entries are available in real time, making the current status of a building and the responsible employees transparent at all times. A number of apps even incorporate GPS tracking, affording managers a remote overview of their cleaning personnel’s current locations.

In the context of mobile work at various locations, apps are ideal, as they allow work times to be recorded on-site on a tablet or smartphone —without hours being “rounded out” on the way back to the office or on the computer at home.

When does smart time tracking make sense?

There is a range of benefits of digital time tracking:

  • Overview: Every employee has their own work time account. This enables employers and staff—using a calendar view, for example—to keep a constant eye on factors such as overtime, vacation time, and absences. Targeted and actual work hours can be viewed directly.
  • Resource planning: Even the use of cleaning machines can be tracked for optimum transparency. For instance, when cleaning robots are used in a cobotics approach, their operation can be registered in the apps, allowing a view at any time of when, where, and how cleaning has been performed, as well as the current location of the machines.
  • Time savings: Digital time tracking requires significantly less administration time than does the use of individual time sheets. This is made possible primarily through the automation of recurring processes. The time saved can then be dedicated to other, more important things. For tax accountants as well, a clearly organized Excel file is more helpful than a box full of paper time sheets.
  • Customer satisfaction: As a rule, data can be exported from the app easily in the form of tabular reports. This file then serves as a well-structured performance record for the customer, too. The data gathered are always current. Should a problem arise, it can always be determined which employee was responsible for what, and when.
  • Control: Another, equally important topic is the minimum pay for commercial cleaning. German minimum wage legislation requires the precise documentation of working hours in this sector. In case of an unannounced inspection by authorities, an employer should have the documentation of all work times close at hand. These data also reveal whether, for example, legally required breaks have been adhered to.

Conclusion: everyone benefits from digital time tracking

For the future of the cleaning sector, the change to digital time tracking is a significant step toward greater efficiency —no less so than, for example, the use of smart cleaning robots or the selection of sustainable cleaning agents and methods. The real-time tracking of hours has advantages not just for the cleaning company, but also for its customers and its employees. Employees can learn to use the relevant apps simply and intuitively. Problems with time sheets, such as illegibility or lost documentation, become a thing of the past. In addition, the company gains a better overview of its employees and their work performance. Precise data gathering also facilitates future planning for employees and cleaning machines. Customers in turn receive exact, current performance records on demand. Modern time tracking clearly makes for a win-win-win situation in the commercial cleaning sector.