June 14, 2022

How Robots Solve School Staff Shortages

Floor care
Gavin Donley
Gavin Donley

Schools are faced with a rising imperative to create safe, clean and healthy learning environments for students and faculty throughout the school year. The growing expectations surrounding facility cleanliness have left many schools with short-staffed custodial teams which, in turn, impacts job satisfaction and day-to-day school operations. When schools go uncleaned, student and faculty sick-day absences increase, resulting in inconsistent teaching for students and less support for positive academic outcomes. But, with the rising staff shortage and labor costs, how can school leaders meet increased cleaning responsibilities with fewer resources?

Thankfully, there’s a sustainable solution to these problems! BrainOS®, the leading artificial intelligence (AI) software platform powering autonomous mobile robots, delivers intelligent cleaning tools, including robotic floor scrubbers and vacuums, that support custodial teams in reliably and consistently tackling facility cleaning tasks.

Below are five ways BrainOS®-powered floor care robots boost school cleaning services by solving the ongoing school staff shortages long-term.

1. Robots Offset Labor Availability

Staffing shortages and absenteeisms are an ongoing challenge for every school system. BrainOS®-powered robots provide an immediate lift, helping fill the staffing shortage by delivering enhanced availability, reliability and cleaning consistency. This allows supervisors to reallocate labor hours — meaning the time-consuming, methodical task of cleaning floors can be left to robots while employees take on more valuable work.

“This program will help us close a staffing gap that any urban school district faces, which is limited funding to meet constantly expanding facility needs.” – Rich Archuletta, Director of Facility Operations at Denver Public Schools

e-book: robotic floor care for schools

2. Robots Address Rising Labor Costs

Labor costs are always an operational concern, but to mitigate the spread of illnesses — from Covid-19 to the flu and common cold — on campuses, cleaning needs to occur more frequently throughout the school year. At the same time, rising average wages and changes to mandated benefits are augmenting labor cost concerns. BrainOS®-powered robots allow schools to rapidly increase cleaning frequency without driving up labor costs. Robots can even help reduce the cost of equipment and campus damages from operator errors that may occur during manual machine operation.

Worried about the cost of setting up your school and team to support robots? Have no fear! BrainOS®-powered robots include a user-friendly interface — allowing non-technical custodial staff to easily set up and train machines to run cleaning routes without additional infrastructure or extensive training. This means that even as schools experience turnover, robotic machines can continue to do their jobs.

touchscreen on robot

School leaders may be able to take advantage of government funding to support building a robotics program. This funding, including the CARES Act, CRRSA Act and ARP Act, gives schools the opportunity to address cleaning challenges now, while also creating a more sustainable solution for the future.

3. Robots Enhance Employee Productivity

BrainOS®-powered robots are methodical and consistent. They reliably follow routes, report performance data and don’t get distracted along the way. By offloading the time-consuming tasks of floor cleaning to robots, supervisors can assign other tasks to custodians, including sanitizing surfaces robots can’t reach, preventative maintenance and repairs, setting up for an event and more. Hence, BrainOS®-powered robots support staff by equipping teams with intelligent automation tools to be more efficient and productive. Floor cleaning transforms from a time-consuming manual task to efficient automated workflows, allowing supervisors to delegate other assignments to custodians.

“They now have the feeling that they have an extra employee working for them. They can deploy the robot and then go do other things, whether that’s setting up for a basketball game or another event.” – Andy Stefancin, Director of Building and Grounds at the School District of New Berlin

4. Robots Increase Job Satisfaction

Aside from offsetting staffing shortages and reducing costs, schools that deploy intelligent robotic tools often see improved job satisfaction from their custodians. Bottom line: human workers still play an essential role when it comes to hiring robots. By shifting repetitive, dull work to robots, custodial teams can expand their skill set to include robot training and management. This can increase employee engagement and accountability, which positively impacts turnover rates long term.

5. Robots Deliver Proof of Work

Say goodbye to questioning if school facilities are clean! BrainOS®-powered robots feature integrated data capture technology that feed data and insights into our suite of fleet management tools, accessible through your laptop, tablet and mobile device. These tools deliver easy-to-navigate performance and usage analytics for each of your floor care robots. Supervisors can quickly and easily review performance data to verify cleaning tasks have been done — and done correctly — to deliver proof of value, support compliance and ultimately drive better operational efficiencies.

BrainOS Mobile and the portal

The school system will always require custodians to take on more valuable responsibilities that create effective learning environments for students. By allocating robots to the heavy lifting of performing routine cleaning tasks that require time and precision, operations can become more efficient, labor gaps can be filled and overall worker welfare can be improved. Join the list of innovative schools building more sustainable facility cleaning operations by combining the data-driven sophistication of automated robots with human teams — a trend that ultimately works to everybody’s best interests.

Automation is key to mitigating ongoing school staff shortages long-term. Let’s connect and review our robotic floor care solutions that support staff by filling your custodial vacancy, bolstering cleaning productivity and helping to ensure educators remain healthy and students receive consistent education.

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