How COVID-19 Has Prompted an Overhaul of Building Cleanliness

The impact of COVID-19 is being felt in nearly every industry and country around the world. With people experiencing new anxieties about being in public spaces for short or extended periods, businesses have had to adapt to ensure workers, customers, and clients are comfortable.

Below is an assessment of how the pandemic resulted in businesses in all sectors hiring contract cleaning professionals and making other changes to the way they prioritized building cleanliness.

How COVID-19 Improved Building Cleanliness

Thorough Surface Cleaning

The spread of COVID-19 can occur through surfaces, as the virus can survive on surfaces for an extended period. When the pandemic first emerged, globally, in March 2020, the growing wisdom centered around the virus spreading through contact with contaminated surfaces.

Experts told people to wash their hands, use hand sanitizer, avoid touching their mouth or nose after touching a possibly dirty surface or object, and to avoid touching shared surfaces as much as possible.

Such advice stuck with business owners, who wanted to ensure that workers and customers were comfortable being in a shared environment. That meant a great deal of surface cleaning using hydrogen peroxide, disinfectant cleaners, or soap and water mixtures.

Every company took on this challenge in different ways, with some businesses asking their employees to take on a greater load. People who were working on the floor or interacting with customers had to continuously wipe down any surface that another person could frequently touch. Such a process may seem arduous, but the goal was to keep everyone safe.

Larger companies and smaller businesses with greater budgets chose to hire professionals. One of the advantages of hiring a cleaning professional is that a business can delegate such work to the professionals.

Having a single cleaning staff member on site is often enough to ensure periodic cleaning, while a business can also choose to hire one or two cleaners to perform a deep clean once a day.

Hygiene is More Relevant Than Ever

Businesses are not only making an effort to ensure that common spaces receive thorough deep cleaning and periodic spot treatment, but they are also encouraging their employees to take care of their own hygiene.

In the past, a small business such as a local grocery store or a family restaurant may not have put too much thought into employee cleanliness. If an employee did not have the best hygiene, they may not have been told by management to clean up their act.

building cleanliness and covid-19

Now that customers are focusing on any instance where an employee may be doing something to compromise the safety of everyone at the establishment, such as not wearing a mask or sneezing in the vicinity of others, employees must be more vigilant about their actions.

Companies encourage their employees to wear clean clothes, keep their workspaces neat, tidy, and wiped down, and ask that they always wash their hands after they use the bathroom or interact with a customer.

More Client Communication

Businesses hiring cleaning crews to ensure their spaces are tidy and hygienic is not new. Major companies have always hired cleaners to ensure that the office spaces and common areas are clean, while stores, restaurants, and other such establishments also go through routine cleaning.

A significant shift since 2020 is that clients are now more eager to understand how much cleaning the professionals are doing. Clients ask about the cleaning products a cleaning professional is using, along with their technique for wiping down surfaces, vacuuming or mopping floors, and cleaning bathrooms. There is also a greater appreciation for the work that cleaners perform.

Many cleaning contractors have found that they are receiving requests from clients more regularly than before the pandemic. Increased communication also means that cleaners have a chance to discuss any of their concerns with clients, which includes appropriate compensation for their work.

The Emergence of Green Cleaning

The pandemic is not the only change that came about in 2020, with much of the Western world taking a greater assessment of humanity’s impact on the climate. With the climate change conversation more relevant than in the past, green cleaning is emerging as a significant trend in 2021 and beyond.

Businesses are aware that customers care about both cleanliness and preserving the environment, which is why showcasing a company as an “environmentally friendly” business is so appealing.

Cleaners now receive requests from clients who want them to use environmentally-friendly products whenever possible. That means cleaning services must now adapt by learning about sanitizing methods that use organic and natural cleaning supplies.

Building Ventilation Upgrades

A great deal of focus on building cleanliness revolves around sanitizing surfaces, wiping down countertops, and regular vacuuming or mopping of floors. The coronavirus, however, spreads most often through the air. That is why companies are also focusing on the improvement of their building ventilation.

In some instances, creating a cleaner environment for customers involves opening windows to allow air to come in and out. Many restaurants, grocery stores, and other such locations can open up their doors and windows, ensuring a steady breeze of air throughout the day.

Such a change not only improves the way customers may view that business but has a marked impact on the chances of someone contracting COVID-19 when they spend time at that establishment.

Another way that companies are looking to improve their commercial spaces is through improved air conditioning ventilation. Offices and many commercial buildings do not have windows that are operable, which means that ventilation must be done through the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems.

natural ventilation

Many companies are investing their money in improved HVAC systems or newer air filters, which both allow for better filtering of the harmful particles that can cause the spread of coronavirus among people who are working or visiting that establishment.

Will the New Trends Remain?

The question that many cleaning contractors and business owners will be asking is whether the present trends in building cleanliness will continue. As the pandemic eases and people return to normal life, will customers still care about cleanliness in the same way?

Some experts believe the new changes are here to stay, as 2020 meant that people became a lot more aware of how germs can spread in public spaces. Businesses may learn that investing more money in building cleanliness is a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future.

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at salman@ecomena.org or salman@bioenergyconsult.com
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