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Is COVID-19 crisis changing corporates' attitudes to cleaners and cleaning?

29 July 2020

Fear of COVID-19 and a shift in attitude regarding office health and hygiene are changing the way cleaners and cleaning are viewed and employed by business leaders.

And the need for offices not just to be clean, but deep cleaned to give employees a news sense of safety and reassurance has confirmed cleaners’ status as ‘essential workers’ according to Simon Giles, chief operating officer, Axis Cleaning & Support Services. They have also led to the use of new chemicals and cleaning techniques, and a more consultative and collaborative approach to office hygiene.
Simon says that whereas previously cleaners would be arriving at work just after their customers had left, this is beginning to change: “Businesses now want to see their cleaning teams in operation, during the day,” he says. “Far from being something in the background, some cleaners are even being asked to wear high-visibility jackets so that customers know exactly who they are.”
The reason, Simons believes, is that business owners want to give their employees and visitors the reassurance that their offices are clean and safe: “They want to be able to visibly demonstrate their investment in a more hygienically cleaner and safer working environment for a returning workforce,” he adds. 
This has led to the wider use of specialist chemicals and products such as Zoono and other anti-microbial shield sanitiser: “Such chemicals, of course, are not a panacea,” Simon continues, “but they are part of a changing regime that is seeing cleaning companies promote different ‘layers’ of cleaning with strategies and cleaning programmes that move beyond a one-off office ‘deep clean’ into something more meaningful and ongoing, and that maintains a higher level of ‘clean’ on a more consistent basis.”
Simon also says that new technology is also coming on stream to help cleaners in logging their tasks to provide an audit trail of cleaning completed and protect businesses against accidents and fraudulent insurance claims from spillages: “We can use Tracking technology based on Near Field Communications (NFC) to prove where and at what time a spillage was cleaned up versus the time and location of a claim,” he adds.
Post COVID-19, Simon says, there is a real opportunity to elevate cleaning from being a commoditised purchase into one where a professional cleaning workforce can be recognised as delivering true ‘value’: “We hope that the legacy of this current crisis is better engagement between businesses and their cleaning providers,” he concludes.