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Should You Get an Office Roomba?


Uh oh. Looks like we’re all out of a job. The robots are here – doing tax returns, writing emails… and now, they’re even doing office cleaning?!

So, should you go out and get an office Roomba?

Well… No. You see, Roombas (those cute little things that cats like to ride) have been around for a couple of decades now – but they haven’t quite hit mass adoption. And we’ve yet to see one in any commercial spaces we’ve been to.

Why is that?

It might be because, while robot vacuum cleaners have come a long way since the early days of staircase dramas and epic fails, they still can’t do what people can do. They’re not very quick or efficient, and can’t support a large, deep clean.

Roombas and similar devices navigate through spaces, cleaning as they go. They map out the space with a sensor array, to make the next clean faster. The batteries last a long time, and the device will navigate back to a docking station to charge itself when it’s running low.

It’s all very smart stuff – but the results are nearly always lacklustre.

Roombas and other robot vacuums fare best doing little bits at a time, over a long time. That doesn’t fit well with a working environment.

And then there are the issues of power and size. Even the most powerful robot vacuum’s suction capability is less than half of what a bog-standard manual upright vacuum cleaner could achieve, and the dust capacity is significantly smaller.

This makes them better suited to household or very light cleaning work – not for commercial use.

They make sense for home use. There are fewer occupants in a home, a consistent floor plan to work to, and a much more relaxed, controllable environment. People are out most of the day at work or school, so the robot can go about cleaning with nobody to get in the way of.

Offices tend to be slightly more hectic places – with lots of foot traffic, mixed floors, and random piles of stuff accumulating here and there throughout the day. Robots can’t navigate this sort of change well – actually, they struggle at the best of times, even in household environments (pets, anyone?).

Commercial cleaning and office cleaning pose distinct challenges for robotic vacs, like fire doors needing to be shut at all times. And if you work over multiple floors? Good luck training them to use a lift!

Oh, and they still need to be emptied out…

There are other, even more obvious downsides to getting Roombas for office cleaning. Plugs and wires under desks, office furniture and partitions, limited battery life and much larger floor areas being just a few.

But above all else, it’s the lack of decision-making, experience and problem-solving that knocks office robot vacuums for six when it comes to commercial cleaning.

Professional decision-making often comes into play with office cleaning jobs – especially with spot cleaning. We’ve seen some pretty wild stuff smooshed into carpets, sofas and office chairs in our time – and we doubt that a robot could effectively get those heavy soils out, let alone differentiate between a crumbly problem and a gooey one!

So, all this leads us to ask: if it’s not robotic vacuum cleaners, then what is the future of office cleaning?

The future of office cleaning will still be human-powered

Sorry, futurists – we meatbags are still the best bet for office cleaning for the foreseeable future. While office cleaners aren’t going anywhere any time soon, we probably will see more tech being used in our line of work; and here are some upcoming developments in cleaning tech.

UVC disinfection

In a futuristic development for the cleaning world, Ultraviolet C (UVC) light has proven effective in eliminating bacteria and viruses. UVC disinfection systems could soon be used in an office cleaning job near you… But they’ll be operated by people, not robots!

Smart waste management

Imagine an Internet-connected bin for your office, equipped with sensors that could tell you how full it is – plus what bin collection day it is next. It doesn’t sound like much, but it would make waste collection and cleaning jobs more efficient overall. And it would be a real lifesaver at home, too!

Air purifiers

Advanced air purification systems have become more popular in offices since covid, but they’re a smart investment at any time. They filter out dust and allergens, and can also neutralise airborne illnesses – contributing to a healthier workforce.

Office Cleaning – By Humans, For Humans

Get professional out of hours office cleaning in Cardiff – from The Abbey Cleaning Service. Call 029 2067 9323 today, and find out how we’ll help you keep your office clean, without disrupting your workday (or any robots).

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