5 Cleaning Industry Lessons Learned From COVID-19
Contributed by Steve Ashkin
Most industries in the United States have reached the point where they can now look back on COVID and analyze what was learned from this challenging experience. According to Steve Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group and CEO of Sustainability Dashboard Tools, Inc., this time of reflection includes the professional cleaning industry.
"The professional cleaning industry did not shut down like other industries, but we certainly did have our share of potholes," says Ashkin. "Ultimately, I believe essential lessons were learned during the pandemic that will help us move beyond COVID."
Ashkin identified five lessons he learned from COVID:
1. The industry is essential.
Never has it been truer that our industry's primary job is to protect human health.
"COVID has turned the expression ‘cleaning for health’ into a reality," he says. "It's who we are and what we do."
2. Effective cleaning is vital.
While cleaning is crucial in protecting health, this can only be accomplished using scientifically-proven cleaning solutions, products, and procedures.
3. Frontline workers are critical.
Cleaning does not happen by magic. Well-trained, frontline cleaning workers are needed for any cleaning company to fulfill its mission.
4. Training is key.
COVID taught us that training must go beyond cleaning procedures and mandated training from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. We now know that the best training for cleaning workers includes understanding infection control and prevention. This way, workers know how to clean for health and protect themselves at the same time.
5. Fair pricing is necessary.
Many building owners and managers responded to COVID-19 by simply increasing cleaning frequencies. Post-COVID, many of those owners and managers are now considering scaling back.
"But to clean for health, cleaning must be performed more thoroughly than pre-COVID levels," says Ashkin. "This means owners and managers should expect to pay more for this essential service."
Ashkin goes on to say that if building owners want healthy, high-performing buildings, they need thorough cleaning based on sound science.
“Ultimately, the cleaning industry is saving lives," he says. "To clean thoroughly and effectively by trained workers, using quality tools and methods, costs money. Ultimately, we must be paid for the value we provide."