COVID-19 has created the biggest shift in how we think and look at the cleaning industry. Pre-pandemic, for most businesses, their cleaning routine has always been a back-office service and as unobtrusive as possible – with the basics becoming an everyday mundane task.
Previously, the public never blinked an eye when going into public spaces or travelling because businesses were taking a ‘functional approach’ to sanitisation. However, during the past six months, this sector has seen a monumental shift: Hygiene and sanitisation is now an essential front-line commodity.
This approach focused mainly on recommended health and safety procedures, correct cleaning equipment and products, and maintaining a strict routine.
Emma Corder, Managing Director of industrial cleaning products, manufacturer, Industroclean attributes this to not only the global pandemic but to society and businesses’ heightened awareness and demand for hygiene.
“These demands and new cleaning trends will play a major role in our ability to return to full-time business activities with confidence,” Corder explains. “This is being seen in one of the most interesting changes within this sector with big corporations including new sanitisation protocols into their communication strategies and incorporating these into their brand messaging. These changes are part of a new approach to doing business strategy and growing in a post-COVID-19 era.”
The psychological aspect of cleaning and a focus on what it means must also be considered.
“In this approach, cleaning is viewed as a way of improving safety in order to build and maintain trust with customers. Showing that your business takes the responsibility to keep customers safe and always being transparent in all cleaning procedures will be the new way of doing business,” added Corder.
American hospitality giants Marriott International are a good example. Their Executive Chairman Bill Marriott released a statement and video detailing the group’s cleaning protocols in early May which specifically focused on the psychological aspect of safety.
Another example is international airline Cathay Pacific who developed a program called Cathay Care. It was created as part of their marketing campaign to enhance in-flight safety measures and explaining their cleaning protocols to ensure their customers fly with confidence.
To succeed, businesses must understand the inter-connectedness between the functional and psychological perceptions that people have about hygiene and a sanitised environment. If they can integrate this into day to day routine, they have an opportunity to gain a competitive edge.
“If this pandemic has taught us one thing it is that we can’t predict exactly which changes will remain permanent and which will pass. One thing I do believe is that all businesses that want to survive will have to make a significant change to the prominence of cleaning and hygiene as a business imperative and how it’s implemented within their corporation, ” says Corder.