Blog | Reflecting on a remarkably different year

17 December 2020

Every year typically has a few defining moments, but I’ve lost count of the number of times the word ‘unprecedented’ has been used to describe this one! The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it, affecting us all, both personally and professionally. 

Despite immense challenges, our cleaning operatives and security officers have been putting their own concerns aside, to deliver vital services. I am so proud of the way that our team has come together and pulled out all the stops to protect others – thank you. 

Cleaning and hygiene are essential in helping to tackle this pandemic and a spotlight has been shone on our industry like never before. One of my guilty pleasures this year has been watching The Great British Bake Off with my family, and I was delighted that such a popular programme recognised the importance of cleaning. 

In the final episode, Matt Lucas gave a heartfelt speech thanking those who had helped make the programme possible during the pandemic, including the cleaning team. The industry has all too often been undervalued, despite playing a crucial role in hygiene and infection prevention. It’s great to hear celebrities like Matt Lucas showing appreciation for the work cleaning teams do, which really helps to change perceptions.

A brighter future

You can’t look back on this year without reflecting on personal heartache and loss of life. In such sad times, we have done our best to take extra care of our colleagues. As an employer that has always placed the wellbeing of our colleagues at the heart of our business, we already had many procedures in place to support people and help them feel reassured and valued. As I mentioned in a previous blog, COVID-19 has significant implications, challenges and opportunities for the way that we protect our colleagues’ happiness, both now and into the future. 

There have also been unprecedented issues for businesses across many sectors, and we’ve seen a spate of well-known high-street brands face insolvency. Whilst the cleaning and security industries have been able to adapt, overcome challenges, and endure, many others have not been so fortunate.

But as the year draws to a close, there is real hope that 2021 will be brighter. I’m optimistic that things will start to get better now that the vaccination programme is being rolled out. I am eternally grateful to the thousands of volunteers who were selected to help researchers in their race to find a breakthrough. I would have helped too if I could – in fact, I even put myself forward, to be part of the clinical trials for the vaccine.

As the world moves forward, post pandemic, we will face a remarkable number of challenges to solve, as well as an important set of opportunities to take fresh approaches and create new realities. I believe the future for cleaning is rosy too, as the industry is finally starting to get the recognition it has always deserved. I hope that the words of appreciation for our sector continue to resonate, as we start to rebuild society.