In these unprecedented times, more focus than ever has been placed on cleaning and hygiene services. As businesses start to think about a return to the workplace and embracing new ways of working, we reflect on what the future holds for the industry.
It all starts with data
An increased awareness of the role of good cleaning and hygiene practices as a result of the health crisis has meant the perception of the cleaning profession has evolved. There is a recognition that cleaning can reduce risk, which for some companies is leading to greater investment in cleaning services and technology.
However, for smaller businesses with limited budgets, there are difficult choices to be made around how this should be spent. It’s critical that cleaning is seen as an investment in their business success to enable the confident return of employees and customers.
Cleaning companies have a unique opportunity to help customers understand how their services can help solve their issues or concerns and data is key to evidencing this.
- 72% of people are concerned about germs left on surfaces shared by colleagues (GP Pro research)
- Improved cleaning and basic hand hygiene can reduce viruses on a surface by more than 85% (International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 2019)
- The total cost of absenteeism is still only 10% of what businesses pay due to employees who come to work sick (Global Challenge Virgin Pulse)
Data-Driven Cleaning Services
Using an FM data-driven approach means that the business case for investing in cleaning services is difficult to challenge. It is key to ensuring responsible levels of cleanliness at a time when confidence is at an all-time low in returning to ‘normal’, and yet is significantly lower than the potential costs of not doing so.
Over the course of the pandemic, there has been an increased understanding about how covid-related viruses are spread. It’s known that surfaces and belongings can easily become contaminated on contact and that the risk of harmful viruses spreading is significantly increased when individuals are in close proximity to each other.
Adhering to social distancing measures and ensuring good levels of ventilation are important, but there is a very real role for enhanced cleaning to help prevent the spread of unwanted germs and bacteria.
In environments where there is a high footfall or throughput of people, such as schools, gyms, offices and factories, it’s going to be essential to undertake preventative cleaning practices to limit the possibility of transmission. Not only will this deliver a safer environment but it will also help instil confidence in public spaces at a time when it is much needed.
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Redefining ‘best practice’
Expectations of cleaning services have shifted and it’s important that this is understood not just by cleaning professionals but also those who operate from within these environments. From gym managers to landlords, teachers to office workers, there needs to be a common understanding of how behaviours, attitudes and routines need to change and the role that individuals have in delivering a safe space.
Professional-centric cleaning services expertly delivered
Alongside this, many cleaning professionals will have undergone specific training as a result of the changing expectations of clients. From undertaking risk assessments and delivering enhanced cleaning regimes through to managing deep cleans in high-risk areas and how technology can help, cleaners are well-placed to support organisational objectives around health and safety.
The cleaning services of the future should be professional-centric, and expertly delivered.
The future of cleaning products
It’s not just the physical impact of cleaning that makes a difference; the processes adopted and products used are equally important. There are 4 types of cleaning agents. Biological products are much safer for the environment than chemicals and also reduce the risk of long-term illness. Likewise, eco-friendly cleaning products are now widely available offering an affordable alternative to harsher chemical solutions.
Given the importance of air quality, natural cleaning products create a more hygienic and comfortable environment for people, especially when fresh air from open windows isn’t practical. They are also safer for the cleaning staff using them on a regular basis as they don’t contain toxins, chemicals or corrosive substances that could be harmful to health.
Now more than ever, the cleaning sector has an opportunity to change the conversation and maintain better visibility of the strategic value they can add. It has long been undervalued by those outside of the cleaning profession, however, it is now gaining wider public recognition and respect. It’s now up to the industry to maximise this momentum to make long-lasting change, emphasising its critical role in safeguarding society.
A full glossary of cleaning terms can be found in RFM Group’s Industry Terms in Cleaning Glossary.
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