COVID-19 and Cleaning: How the Industry Has Changed Since

COVID-19 had a huge impact in the cleaning industry COVID-19 had a huge impact in the cleaning industry

Cleaning—and the proper way to do it—has been a hot topic recently. With the emergence of COVID-19 last December 2019 and the subsequent declaration of the disease as a global pandemic, many people have become borderline obsessive about cleanliness. This has been observed both in the domestic and commercial fronts of the industry, but even more so for the latter.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Cleaning Habits

Indeed, commercial establishments are more difficult to keep properly sanitised due to several reasons. For one, significantly more people come and go to such establishments. Size is also an issue; the bigger the space is, the longer and more difficult it is to clean. There’s also the issue of equipment and furnishings that need to be properly and carefully disinfected. Finally, there are commercial establishments that simply demand a higher level of cleanliness. These include places such as hospitals and clinics, hotels, and food-related businesses.

All of these factors and more have affected the cleaning industry, for better or for worse. Some of the biggest changes include the following:

1. An Increased Demand

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, spreads quickly through viral droplets. One person with the disease can further infect more than two others; this makes COVID-19 more than twice as infectious as the common flu. The good news, however, is that the virus is easily inactivated. Through proper and thorough cleaning, the protective layer around SARS-CoV-2 disintegrates and the virus is rendered unable to reproduce and infect. This reason, in particular, has led to the increased demand for commercial cleaning services. While many businesses have the capability of cleaning their premises on a daily basis, commercial cleaners are better equipped to deliver a more meticulous service.

2. Higher Quality and Standards

The rise of COVID-19 brought to light a long-standing fact: humans have still much to uncover about the world of viruses. Indeed, scientists are still discovering an average of two to four new species each year. As such, businesses have come to expect higher quality and standards from commercial cleaners. This not only applies to the work itself but also to the workers who perform the service. Cleaning personnel are expected to wear personal protective equipment or PPE. This has long been a practice, obviously, as commercial cleaning companies have to adhere to worker safety standards. However, gloves, goggles, and masks are now only the bare minimum. Depending on the risk level of the place being cleaned, personnel are now expected to wear not just cleaning uniforms but PPEs akin to haz-mat suits. These not only protect the wearer against pathogens and cleaning chemicals, but also reduce the risk of further contamination. Proper washing, storage, and/or disposal of these PPEs are also expected.

3. Cleaning at an Extra Cost

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, commercial cleaners have come up with corresponding deep-cleaning services. These optional services come at additional costs, but also with the same or even higher expectations for quality. Standard services may also experience a price surge, due to the rise in demand.

4. New Cleaning Technologies

Innovation is essential for any industry and COVID-19 has pushed the cleaning industry to accelerate in this regard. In particular, commercial cleaners are now looking for more new tools and methods to further improve the quality of their services. In addition, technologies such as janitorial software are also becoming increasingly common. This type of software helps cleaning companies to streamline their processes, from quoting and bidding for contracts to conducting quality control. Janitorial software also makes personnel management easier.

5. Customer Communication

It’s safe to say that everyone is now more concerned about how clean truly is clean. Is merely scrubbing a surface with soap and water enough? How much disinfectant is too much? How often do you need to deep clean your business premises? This level of concern also extends to a deeper sense of involvement in the cleaning process. Customers are no longer satisfied just leaving the professionals to their jobs. They also want to be looped in about the specifics. How, exactly, are the personnel conducting their jobs? Are they following health and safety standards? Are they using the right tools? These details contribute to the customers’ peace of mind.

Balancing Revenue, Diversification, and Employee Welfare

With the significant increase in demand for cleaning services also comes the increase in manpower needs. This presents a quandary to cleaning companies, since accepting more contracts can put a strain on their employees. This, in turn, can result in the decline of work quality. Hiring more people is a viable solution, although training and additional expenses (including the acquisition of more PPEs) should also be taken into account.

COVID-19 has spurred cleaning companies toward diversification as well, such as the earlier mentioned specialised services. For these, commercial cleaners should consider not just manpower, training, and budget. They should also think about investing in proper equipment in order to deliver the best results.

The bottom line is that COVID-19 has pushed every industry to develop a “new normal.” After the crisis has passed, you can safely expect that many aspects of this “new normal” will remain. Be prepared to adapt.