Strategic scheduling can minimize the need to cancel appointments if a cleaner is out sick.

Cold and flu season is upon us. Every kid is bound to pick up the sniffles at school or daycare—and pass it to their parents. Workers in every industry are calling out sick, and hand sanitizer sales are booming once again.

This can be challenging for cleaning company owners. After all, your business relies on your employees being physically present to do their jobs. If someone calls off with the flu, it can be a major disruption.

Thankfully, many experienced cleaning company owners have found ways to manage the cold and flu season. Most of them rely on creative solutions for ensuring that backup cleaners are always at the ready.

We asked a few Launch27 users how they handle the cold and flu season. Here’s what they recommend:

Schedule an extra cleaner every day as backup.

This strategy is fairly simple. Just add one or two—or more, depending on the size of your business—extra workers to the schedule every day. Don’t assign them to a particular cleaning job when you make the schedule. Just make sure they know they may have to work that day.

If no one calls in sick that morning or the day before, then those “extra” workers get the day off.

Schedule an “on-call” cleaner every day.

This idea of having someone on call is not a new one—it actually originated in the medical field. 

Each cleaner is scheduled to be “on call” for a half day or a full day each week. This strategy is similar to the first: It ensures that you always have a backup person to cover for a sick employee. But there’s a key difference: On-call cleaners remain on call, even if no one calls off in the morning. That way, if you unexpectedly need someone halfway through the day, they’re still available.

One Launch27 user recommends paying cleaners half of their hourly rate for on-call time. That’s because these workers need to plan their days around the possibility of coming into work unexpectedly. This may limit the activities and errands available to them, since they need to stay close to home. The promise of a few extra bucks can make this slight obstacle much more palatable.

Have your cleaners work in pairs.

Many cleaning companies send two cleaners to work every job. But you might consider creating permanent teams of two people who always work together. One Launch27 found that two-person teams led to fewer sick days. In her words:

“I am finding that teams that work in pairs don’t have as many sick days as those who work alone. They are held accountable by the other person, who often becomes their good friend, so they don’t want to let them down. If I have to reschedule the same client twice due to unavailability, they lose that client to another team.”

Keep important supplies stocked.

People can catch a cold almost anywhere: The grocery store, the gym, a family member. But you can help minimize the likelihood of your cleaners getting sick on the job. Make sure they have everything they need to protect themselves at work. This might include:

  • Hand sanitizer.
  • Gloves.
  • Masks, if they want them.
  • Disinfectant wipes for their equipment and their cars.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, if you’re hearing about lots of folks catching a bug. For example, you migh encourage customers to reschedule their appointments if they are sick. This not only communicates concern for your customer’s wellbeing, it just makes good business sense.

Having an employee out sick with the flu is a much bigger disruption than a missed appointment. 

Do you have an alternative strategy for handling sick days?

Tell us in the comments—or join the Launch27 Domination Facebook group.