Three trends changing the contract cleaning market in 2021
09 August 2021
Coming from a year where health and safety has been at the top of the world’s agenda, the importance of cleaning has never been more paramount. Jean-Henri Beukes warns that these high standards of cleanliness need to be continued as we move into 2021, as the prevention of COVID-19 transmission remains of the utmost importance in societies across the globe.
SHARING OFFICE space increases the risk of the common cold, and this has been found to be one of the main causes of the spread of coronavirus throughout 2020, emphasising the necessity for efficient cleaning measures. The rapid spread of illness from virus particles over the course of hours is remarkable and outlines the essential role of office infection control that contract cleaning plays. In addition, the frequency of cleaning is likely to increase due to the importance placed upon more regular cleaning in the midst of the global pandemic.
Businesses transferring to remote working, adds a conflicting component to the changing landscape of contract cleaning and work-based hygiene. Having no clear structure of when employees will be in-office or home-based could potentially make it difficult to plan cleaning schedules. A further factor would outline the importance contract cleaning has on the corporate agenda. Spending and the requirement for industrial cleaning has rapidly increased due to coronavirus, opening up the industry to further opportunities.
Sustainability has also been an increasingly important topic of recent discussion through 2020, with ‘green cleaning’ and sustainable practices being in high demand from contract cleaning companies. Setting clear targets for staff and providing training on environmental initiatives where necessary is also a key element in becoming a successful green business.
There has already been a rise in the implementation of technology and AI within contract cleaning which drives improved performance and efficiency. The use of robotic floor cleaners introduced in 2020 rapidly rose in popularity in both contract and consumer cleaning, with further advancements expected in the coming year.
Demand for contract cleaning services has grown significantly over the past year, meaning commercial cleaning businesses need to keep up to date with these rapidly changing developments. Let’s take a closer look at the trends that are set to drive the commercial cleaning market in 2021.
Trend one: Technology
The use of technology continuously brings more benefits to the commercial cleaning market. The use of floor-cleaning robotics, which is powered by AI, is expected to take over some of the basic cleaning services. These new technologies will fill the gap in job vacancies, as well as reducing labour costs across the industry. Not only is this estimated to improve the productivity of cleaning professionals, but they will be able to use their time more efficiently and focus on other more urgent tasks such as hygiene preparations. Intelligent cleaning conducted by technology will be the result of further reliable and consistent service and can even help reduce work-related injuries. Cleaning robots can teach themselves the basic training needs over time, building patterns of behaviour over time. These technologies also can understand its location and record its run time, which will be useful when saving battery charge levels.
After COVID-19, we can expect to see a shift in hygiene behaviours. Technology can improve hand hygiene and overall cleanliness in healthcare facilities. For example, the solution can alert the most relevant person when to refill dispensers to avoid complaints and the risk of contamination. It can also clean based on demand rather than a human-operated schedule. Using knowledge powered by technology will allow cleaners to monitor the environment which will then assist them on when and where they need to apply the best practices.
With that being said, these technologies will still need to be maintained and programmed. Therefore, professionals can expect their role to shift to meet the needs of the new cleaning equipment. Let's also not forget that human cleaners will still need to cover spaces that are unreachable to robots and take over when a crowded environment needs to be cleaned.
Trend two: Return to offices
Due to the pandemic, office spaces and how they are used has changed forever. As we have been removed from socialising with our work colleagues for over a year, employees still want the option of having a space to interact with others safely. In previous years, infections between workers have always been a problem, but the pandemic has opened the eyes of many businesses. Now, it's time to step back and evaluate the implemented cleaning schedules. As adults spend most of their time in the workplace during the week, it was highly common that the reason workers took ill days off work was because of the people around them in the office.
With the 'return to normal' on the horizon, companies must reassess how often they clean their environment, especially the businesses who are adjusting their policies to a hybrid working model. Coming out of a handful of lockdowns and a global pandemic that has lasted over a year and a half, the need to control the transmission of COVID-19 and other viruses will continue to be a high priority in 2021. Frequently touched objects such as elevator buttons, sink handles, microwave doors and machine buttons will need to be sanitised more frequently to reduce the spread and limit contamination. Commercial cleaning companies can provide the correct procedures and knowledgeable advice around touch point cleaning. By cleaning and disinfecting office amenities, the spread of viruses is highly reduced. Organisations should also look to provide hand sanitiser and disinfection wipes for employees to reduce the spread.
Before returning to the office workplace, employers should offer employees basic cleaning skills and teach them how to operate in order to keep everyone safe. Visibility of cleaning will be a top priority for those who are returning to work. COVID-19 has increased the demand for visibility of more cleaning staff, which plays a huge part in restoring their confidence in returning to the office. This is because employees will want to see the evidence that their health is at the forefront of the business. Due to this shift in expectations, we can expect to see a significant boom in daytime cleaning, whereas people have been used to cleaners visiting once they have left the building. This will play a vital role in reassuring colleagues throughout the day and create an immediate response to cleaning incidents and more personalised services to clients.
Trend three: Sustainability
Green cleaning is set to be one of the largest focuses for the cleaning market in 2021. The aim is to protect the health of people without harming the environment, by using cleaning tools and chemicals that have a positive impact. Using products that are eco-friendly will be required in order to help promote sustainability in a company. Contract cleaning services should start by utilising natural and renewable resources, and it should also be noted how it is packaged. Sustainability in packaging is just as important, as well as how the product has been transported.
Many organisations are now using an effective green cleaning strategy to not only meet the needs of customers, but to also see improvements to its bottom line. By concentrating on a green service, decision-makers within the cleaning company will be able to put profit, people and the planet at the centre of its business model. Some may assume that being environmentally friendly has a cost attached, when in fact, it’s possible to make huge savings when operating sustainably.
A good place to start is looking at the technologies, products and services that the commercial cleaning company provides. Having new technologies that are eco-friendly and using sustainable products will allow green cleaning services to present a safe practice. Many innovations are affordable and can be a gradual change that is implemented, allowing cleaners to transition at their own pace. Other methods include improving how waste is disposed of. Cleaners that consistently recycle where appropriate and avoid using plastic products will demonstrate an extra sustainable service. Additionally, conserving water can also make a tremendous difference. Cleaning uses a lot of water and a large amount can participate in a negative environmental impact. By investing in low moisture systems and adopting methods that use less water can reduce the difficulties. This will only need a subtle change in business culture and everyday habits.
The key trends set to influence the commercial contract cleaning market in 2021 are centered around the implementation of technology and the increasing role sustainability plays within the industry as we move further down the line. The shift in the corporate agenda for industrial cleaning practices has been affected by the impact of COVID-19 meaning that subsequent changes will begin to take place, followed by the adaptations to the cleaning regime due to remote or hybridworking.
Jean-Henri Beukes is CEO of Ecocleen
For more information visit https://ecocleen.co.uk/