Following an announcement by the UK Government, the nation has begun preparation for the lifting of some of the restrictions that have come in response to the coronavirus pandemic. For the majority of the UK, this means returning to office buildings, schools and other places of work with higher standards of cleaning and hygiene measures in place. This ‘new normal’ will see a rise in recruitment within the cleaning sector as expectations, hours of work and job levels increase.

Preparing for the new ‘normal’

The cleaning sector has never been a 9 to 5 job role, with cleaning staff typically working in the early mornings or late evenings, outside of the typical “office hours”. However, with the demand for higher cleaning standards, these hours are expected to differ, with cleaners working throughout the day alongside office staff to ensure desks and frequently touched surfaces, such as kitchen areas, door handles and toilets, remain as clean as possible. In the short term, there is also an expected period of increased working hours, including weekends and night shifts, allowing cleaners to complete deeper cleans and sanitising.

To meet these new demands, the sector has seen a considerable boost in job vacancies and recruitment. A study by job search engine, reports adverts for domestic workers and cleaning jobs have seen a rise of 20% in the UK since the pandemic began in March 2020.

With such a surge in recruitment, cleaning agencies are turning to technology to complete the recruitment process. From the initial interview to accepting the role and beginning training, nearly all steps have been completed online via email or video calling. Agencies across the UK are praising online training as it offers the flexibility to new staff to train and learn at a time that suits them, which maybe outside of the typical office hours, helping to reduce costs and time for office staff who are needed elsewhere. This method of training also means even current staff can benefit from a refresher session, helping to improve productivity and morale.

Meeting the new levels

Throughout this pandemic, cleaners have been viewed as essential workers, praised for their skills and effort in tackling the deadly virus and minimise risks within buildings currently open to the public, such as hospitals and supermarkets.

However, some clients and their employees working within smaller, more confined spaces are already expressing concern their offices won’t be cleaned sufficiently, risking a second peak in infection rates. To combat such worries, evidence of meeting the new hygiene standards can be supplied to clients using technology, such as photographs of deep cleaning, cleaning records and feedback from staff. Using a mobile app, such as IQ:timecard MOBILE, exchanging important details in real-time is very easy, enabling office staff time to advise of additional measures the onsite cleaner can take to ensure all expectations of cleanliness are met.

The evidence showing the levels of cleaning staff complete, and the approaches taken to ensure a hygienic and safe environment has been met, is a useful resource in promotion of business reputation and productivity levels, at a time when exceptional performances are needed most.

The Future

As technology becomes more recognised throughout the industry for its multiple uses, such as air cleansing equipment reducing decontamination, steam cleaning robotics and the Internet of the Things completing stock takes, it has become clearer there has been a positive shift in the approach and use of technology within the cleaning sector.

Dedicated software has helped businesses throughout this pandemic to adapt to the new normal in a quick and effective manner. Thanks to the internet, cleaning agencies have advertised and recruited new roles and trained new staff remotely, all whilst continuing to hold a strong business connection with staff and clients. As many office staff continue to work from home, the software also helps to remotely manage and monitor staff attendance, assign tasks and scheduled appointments with ease, collating the data in real-time, making it easier to adjust and adapt to the business and client needs.

With many cleaning staff ready to ‘make a difference’ on their return to work, the arrangement and management of staff to meet the upcoming expectations of longer shifts, additional working days and generally higher demands of staff can be met confidently with digital solutions, such as Unique IQ’s IQ:timecard.