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Contributed by the Cleaning Coalition of America (CCA)

With COVID-19 cases surging and the fear of contracting the next highly transmissible contagion widespread, American workers are placing a renewed emphasis on cleaning, according to a new survey by the Cleaning Coalition of America (CCA).

The survey finds that U.S. workers increasingly value enhanced cleaning of the workplace and feel safer seeing professional cleaners onsite – a sentiment shared by both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans. An overwhelming 93.4 percent of vaccinated respondents and 82.2 percent of unvaccinated respondents cited workplace cleaning protocols as important as employees return to the office, with 77.2 percent of workers wanting the workplace cleaned daily.

"American workers experienced a turbulent year that has forever changed their expectations around workplace safety," says Josh Feinberg, Cleaning Coalition of America president. "As employees return to the workplace, it is more critical than ever that businesses rethink their cleaning best practices and adopt a more holistic view of safety that prioritizes worker well-being. Both current and prospective employees need to know that their employer will not sacrifice worker health for an improved bottom line."

Fielded in late October 2021, the survey examined the perceptions of 1,800 U.S. workers — 1099 vaccinated and 501 unvaccinated – to understand expectations surrounding return-to-work as businesses look to reopen in the coming weeks and months.

Almost two years into the pandemic, nearly half of Americans — 43 percent — still have lingering concerns about returning to the workplace. In fact, 38.3 percent of respondents would consider changing their jobs if the workplace was not cleaned properly. However, a clean workplace is not the only concern, with respondents citing COVID-19 infection rates as a primary impediment to returning to in-person work.

"With employees worried about contracting COVID-19 or other illnesses, businesses are facing an uphill battle in attracting workers back to the workplace and must go the extra mile to build confidence," says Kenneth J. Collins, president of Collins Building Services, Inc. "While many businesses previously put an emphasis on cleaning for appearance, cleaning for health must be the new standard for any shared space."

Key findings include:

As businesses reopen, Americans have lingering concerns about the safety of the workplace.

·  43.0 percent of respondents believe that returning to the workplace could pose a risk to their health and safety

·  38.3 percent of respondents would consider changing their jobs if the workplace was not cleaned frequently

Americans are putting increased emphasis on the cleanliness of the workplace, a trend that will likely continue far beyond the pandemic.

·  89.9 percent of respondents believe workplace cleaning protocols are very or somewhat important ­

·  77.2 percent of respondents believe the workplace should be cleaned at least once a day

With the pandemic increasing worker anxiety, both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans find comfort in knowing their office is being cleaned regularly.

·  62.1 percent of respondents believe that seeing professional cleaners at the workplace would make them feel safer and more protected from contracting COVID-19

·  47.1 percent of respondents cite regular disinfecting of shared spaces as the most important step employers can take to make workers feel safe

·  47.5 percent of respondents have asked their employer about their company's cleaning protocols

Still, cleaning is not the only impediment to returning to the office.

·  35.2 percent of respondents say COVID-19 infection rates are the greatest impediment to returning to the office

·  17.4 percent of respondents say vaccination rates are the greatest impediment to returning to the office

The complete survey can be accessed here