Blog | Giving the cleaning sector the recognition it deserves

25 August 2020

For as long as I can remember, the cleaning and hygiene industry has been poorly perceived by those outside of the industry. Considered to be low skilled and badly paid, many have snubbed its credentials as an essential service, and a rewarding career for that matter.

Having worked in this sector for over 25-years, I know that this is wrong. In fact, when I first started out in cleaning and FM, I very quickly realised that it is a vibrant, vital profession with real opportunities for progression.

It also has a major role to play in our society. And never before has this come into focus more than in the past six months. As coronavirus spread across the globe, it was the workers delivering essential services that became our nations’ heroes. From doctors and nurses, to teachers, cleaners and security offices, we celebrated our key workers like never before.

The reality is this – although professional cleaning often goes unnoticed, it keeps our people and places safe. It may have taken a pandemic, and renewed focus on cleanliness, to make people realise, but it finally feels like perceptions around contract cleaning are improving.

Today, the sector may look slightly different. We have mask-wearing operatives who are working new shift patterns to limit human contact and adhere to social distancing. But their practices and procedures remain largely the same as pre-pandemic days. Because they have always strived to beat bacteria and manage infection control.

We have, of course, bolstered our efforts, with additional COVID-secure services introduced. And there has been a large increase in demand for services like fogging and deep cleaning. But our highly skilled colleagues have been prepared and able to play a major role in fighting coronavirus on the front-line – something I am incredibly proud of.

The weekly doorstep keyworker clap may have faded months ago, but as we slowly start to find our way in this new world, I urge you not to forget what this sector has done – and will continue to do beyond the pandemic– to protect public health.

Jan Hein Hemke
Managing Director at Facilicom UK & Ireland