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Our chance to change the future of cleaning

11 October 2021

THE PANDEMIC provided the cleaning industry with an opportunity to shout about the difference we make to every single sector within the UK. COVID-19 created a cultural, societal and economic shift which centred on the importance of sanitisation and cleanliness

Instantly, cleaning services were identified as the only force able to achieve healthy and safe environments to protect everyone working within them. We became vital to the continuation of society, essential to the upkeep of the economy, and integral to the wellbeing of millions. 

But that came after years of a negative perception of the cleaning industry shrouding its successes. Many that were already going above and beyond to support the welfare of their colleagues and customers suddenly began shouting about it. However, there is still work to be done to demonstrating the value in prioritising quality and care above profits and revenue.

There’s now a new opportunity for us to work more closely – and learn from one another – to enhance what’s currently on offer. But how? 

Recognise the worth of people 

When COVID-19 hit, those who’d been working in the shadows were plunged into the spotlight and made accountable for the safeguarding of workplaces across the country. Those who’d been seen as a commodity became instantly more valuable, as the face of our industry. Though many have recognised this and have begin improving standards and pay for their teams, it shouldn’t have taken a pandemic to do so. 

Paying the Living Wage is very much a starting point in ensuring our people are happy to work for us; in August, we were promoted to Member status in the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter as recognition of our levels of workplace engagement, excellent recruitment and progression practices, outstanding people management and ability to offer a productive and healthy workplace. 

When huge sacrifices have been made to put the wellbeing of people first, we must all take a mass of learnings forward and improve employment across the board.

Invest in the next generation
Collective steps must be taken to ensure that we’re creating a new generation of skilled technical and cleaning experts so we can continue delivering the services which have become essential to keep society functioning.

To do so, we must prioritise creating opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to join our industry. Fo example, we’ve partnered with charity Pure Innovations to support young people with disabilities and from disadvantaged groups into the industry. In doing so, as well as diversifying the recruitment pool in cleaning, we’re playing a pivotal role in creating an industry that’s prepared for the future. 
The pandemic proved our ability to adapt and step up to an existential challenge with a moment’s notice. Let’s be proud of what we’ve achieved, and no longer sit back and allow others to tell us about our industry’s reputation. Let’s, instead, shake things up to craft our own, which is based solely on making a difference to people.