Planet Earth with face mask protect. World medical concept. Elements of this image furnished by NASA.

Contributed By The Ashkin Group

Now that we are inching our way out of the pandemic, Steve Ashkin, long known as "the father of Green Cleaning" conducted a LinkedIn poll, asking his connections what they felt the professional cleaning industry learned from COVID-19.

Respondents were given four answer options to select from:

1. The value of worker training

2. The value of our industry

3. The value of protective gear

4. To test for effective cleaning

More than 60 people participated in the poll, which was conducted in mid-May 2021. The majority of the respondents (72 percent) indicated the most important lesson learned from COVID was the value of the professional cleaning industry.

"We suspected this would be the case," says Ashkin, CEO of The Ashkin Group and Sustainability Dashboard Tools. "The value of the professional cleaning industry and what we do has never been so clear."

Ashkin adds that when the pandemic first began, other than social distancing and washing or sanitizing hands, cleaning was our only real defense.

While it certainly did not receive as many votes, the next most voted on lesson learned was "the value of worker training." Nearly 15 percent of the respondents believed this was the big takeaway.

"This belief is very strong among jan/san distributors," says Ashkin. "Distributors started working with cleaning workers as soon as the pandemic began. More than likely, they realized firsthand the value of proper and effective cleaning in fighting the virus."

Rounding out the voting was "testing for cleaning effectiveness," which received 15 percent of the vote, and "the value of wearing protective gear,” five percent.

Ashkin believes that as we look back on our industry's response to the pandemic, the industry is likely to see that it did many things right but may have done some unnecessary things.

“I suspect the indiscriminate use of disinfectants will fall into this latter category," says Ashkin. "But overall, our industry came out stronger, smarter, and much more respected because of COVID-19."