Work smarter, not harder
18 May 2023
With demand for cleaning services at its peak since the Covid-19 pandemic, our industry faces the new threat of a significant labour shortage. However, as Andrea Seed observes, with cleaning technology at its most advanced autonomous machines provide the perfect solution.
CLEANERS HAVE never been more appreciated. They were one of numerous essential staff working tirelessly through the crisis to keep everyone else safe, often putting their own lives at risk as a result. Cleaning and hygiene services became critical as everyone did all they could to sanitise public spaces and keep virus transmission as low as possible.
But Covid-19 created a double-edged sword as it fundamentally changed the jobs people want and where they work. Across almost every industry, employers cannot find the skills they need to fill roles.
Recent market figures in the UK show that there are now more job vacancies in the country than employed people since records began following a four-fold surge in vacancies since mid-2020.
Though the labour market is expected to recover, statistics indicate that there are 1.1million fewer people in the workforce than there would have been had pre-pandemic trends continued. In fact, research by management consulting firm Korn Ferry suggests that more than 85m jobs globally could go unfilled by 2030 due to the skills shortage.
In the UK, the problem has been exacerbated by Brexit, with lots of industries already impacted significantly by changes to trade and immigration laws and many more uncertain about how future policy and economic trends will affect their ability to operate and recruit.
Demand for cleaning services is sky-high, but service providers are struggling to find the staffing resource to meet it. In 2021, a British Cleaning Council (BCC) report found that firms were experiencing record increases in vacancies at a time when UK cleaning labour makes up 5% of the national workforce.
Autonomous cleaning machines
The introduction of smarter cleaning and adding autonomous cleaning machines to cleaning teams is now more essential than ever as they are designed to supplement or support your existing labour.
A cleaning cobot is ideal for time-consuming, repetitive, large-scale tasks. Historically, these have been limited to hoovering carpets and sweeping floors.
A cobot vacuum such as Whiz can clean floors quickly and produce high-quality results while leaving people to get on with trickier or high-value tasks, including disinfecting, sanitising, deep cleaning and dealing with reactive issues.
However, with demand for cobots increasing, so has the level of technology and the capabilities of the autonomous machines.
Offering the next generation of autonomous cleaning, Hako’s Scrubmaster B75i is a scrubber drier that has been developed by our expert designers in conjunction with scientists, who have worked together to combine their practical experience to create this extremely efficient and effective solution.
Available as a disc brush or cylindrical brush variant, the Scrubmaster B75i cleans learned routes autonomously, reliably and safely. The 3D camera system and certified LiDAR sensors ensure efficient navigation and compliance with safety standards. User friendly, the operations panel is simple and intuitive, providing yet another advantage for a busy cleaning team.
For quick cleaning jobs in between, the Scrubmaster B75i can also be operated manually as a conventional walk-behind scrubber-drier and ensures ergonomic use thanks to the extendable handle.
As the future will increasingly see autonomous cleaning, Hako is already developing complementary systems such as a home base for battery charging, automated recovery tank emptying and solution tank filling systems.
Automated, data-driven cleaning technology can help cleaning providers plug the labour shortage by empowering teams to measure and prove the value of cleaning, create a more transparent process, and deliver a more efficient and effective service.
Andrea Seed is marketing consultant at Hako.
For more information visit www.hako.co.uk