How the Public’s Opinion of “Clean” Has Changed In the Wake of the Pandemic

In the pandemic, the public's perception of "clean" has changed. Additionally, COVID-19 has changed the cleaning industry. Check out our blog to learn more.

The Pandemic Has Changed Public Opinion of ‘Clean’

Retail Cleaning

Since the emergence of COVID-19, the world as we know it has changed. The pandemic has changed the way we interact with others, both in indoor and outdoor settings, how we work and study, how we purchase and even how we perceive the word “clean”. Today’s consumers and patrons have far higher expectations for cleanliness in public areas and are more vigilant about how their surroundings are being cleaned and if they are cleaned well.

In the current climate, people have become ultra-aware of what businesses and retail stores are doing to ensure cleanliness. In an international study from Tork, it was revealed that nearly eight out of ten (or nearly 80%) of people feel more uneasy going to facilities with unhygienic public restrooms now than before the pandemic .1  Even after we’ve successfully gotten through the pandemic, this trend is likely to continue, which means that hiring regular commercial cleaning services should be at the forefront of every business’s strategy meetings for the next financial year.

Cleanliness is no longer assumed

Previously, some businesses might try to get by with wiping up spills when they occur, cleaning carpets when they look visibly dirty or wiping down common areas with a wet cloth at the end of the day. The general perception was, as long as it looks clean, it is clean.

Today however,  customers and employees alike do not feel at ease unless they see a visual representation of regular touchpoint cleaning of common surfaces, frequent bathroom cleaning, floors and carpets looking spotless and a dedicated cleaner walking around the premises. Customers and employees also expect to see sanitiser stations, wipes, signage and even verification systems that prove an area has been properly cleaned.

This perception is reflected across all spheres of social life

A study conducted in the USA by the Cleaning Coalition of America (CCA) and reported by CNBC, showed that over 66% of employees want their offices to focus more on their cleaning practices before they’d feel safe to return to work.2 38.3% of respondents even went so far as to say that they’d consider switching jobs if they realised maintaining proper cleaning standards was not a priority for their employers in the wake of the pandemic. Most employees believe that employers who pay attention to the general cleanliness of the workplace care more about their employees’ health and wellness than employers who don’t.

When it comes to the retail setting, a survey conducted before the pandemic by ISSA – The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association revealed that over 95% of shoppers consider that unclean restrooms and unpleasant odours, along with dirty floors, shopping cars and spills and stains would influence their shopping decisions and make them consider shopping at a competitors’. After the pandemic, this mindset has only strengthened and a vast majority of consumers are likely to leave the premises and never return at the sight of unhygienic practices at their favourite stores.

Personal hygiene

Before the pandemic, only the obsessively clean person would carry around a sanitiser everywhere they go. Now, a portable sanitiser is a must-have and hand sanitiser stations are an omnipresent feature of almost all buildings. Even hand hygiene practices have changed, with people paying more attention to frequently washing their hands and washing them the right way. A study showed that 82.32% of female respondents and 73.37% of male respondents were washing their hands at least 8 times a day during the COVID-19 pandemic.3 Moreover, more people are also considering the perceived hand hygiene practices of friends and family, something which almost never crossed people’s minds before the pandemic. All of these changes have played a part in not only preventing the spread of Covid but also other infectious diseases.

How the pandemic has changed the cleaning industry

With an increased focus on the hygiene practices used in the workplace, now’s the time to hire a commercial cleaning company. A reputable commercial cleaning company will deliver a tailored preventative and high-touchpoint cleaning regime to prevent the spread of disease, and will also be equipped to deliver deep cleaning to decontaminate all areas in your facility. These comprehensive measures will ensure your employees and patrons are kept safe and your business will be at a lower risk of any downtime.

Due to the pandemic, cleaning companies have also reconsidered the way cleaning is delivered. In addition to new products, methods and cleaning regimes to combat COVID, they are also embracing technologies . For example, commercial cleaning companies are putting in place technologies that can provide additional cleaning through the use of robotics , or more responsive cleaning through the use of smart sensors. There are other new technologies such as COVID-eradicating air purification systems  or UV light systems that break down COVID on surfaces, which top commercial cleaning companies, like GJK,  can offer their customers. The pandemic has changed customer needs and the way commercial cleaning businesses are responding with technological solutions.

The pandemic also has given new respect for the industry. Never before have people understood the importance of cleaning workers as the backbone of facilities, and how much they sacrifice their own health and wellbeing to ensure the occupants of a building are kept safe. During the pandemic, people discovered a newfound respect for the people on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response: the paramedics and the nurses, the COVID-19 screening staff and the truck drivers, and finally, the cleaners ensuring your premises are kept clean and pathogen-free at all times.

References:

1 https://tork-images.essity.com/images-c5/650/298650/original/hygiene-concerns-regarding-sars-cov-2.pdf

2 https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/09/66percent-of-employees-want-better-office-cleaning-practices.html

3 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2021.621800/full