Now that COVID-19 restrictions have come to an end in the UK, we look at the impact that the pandemic has had on the overall cleaning and hygiene practices of businesses across the UK.
In a recent survey conducted by Monthind Clean, just under 70% of respondents agreed that the COVID-19 outbreak has led to an increase in their business’ cleaning and hygiene practices, with each business owner clarifying that this consists largely of increased day-to-day cleaning of their premises, particularly all of the frequent touch points scattered across the offices. These increased cleaning practices have been adopted for a variety of different reasons, however, and not purely because of the desire to maintain compliance. Many business owners also highlighted the importance of increasing staff and customer confidence in attending the business’ premises, thus suggesting that an improvement on cleaning practices helps a business to build greater levels of trust amongst its clients and workforce.
Despite these changes in cleaning routine, less than half of the respondents have a response plan in place in the case of a COVID-19 outbreak on their premises. This is likely to be the result of a lack of experience with previous outbreaks, with more than 90% of the same respondents finding themselves in the lucky position of having never experienced any direct run-ins with the virus in their workplace. Whilst this is incredibly fortunate, it is important that complacency doesn’t play a role in business cleaning operations over the coming months, as the economic impact of an internal COVID-19 outbreak could prove to be crippling.
Rising demands for cleanliness from customers are becoming an increasingly important factor in shaping a customer’s experience with a business. In order to meet these demands, many businesses have been taking extra measures to communicate their COVID-19 hygiene measures with their customers, with the most popular channels of communication being social media and company websites. As a result of these increased communications, all respondents who remained in close contact with their customers during the peak of the pandemic experienced an increase in custom, suggesting that maintaining good hygiene and cleaning practices will be beneficial for business growth over the coming year. Furthermore, it appears as though the practice of meeting these new demands has contributed significantly to the public’s opinions of other organisations, with over 60% of respondents admitting that their personal feelings towards businesses have changed as a result of their COVID-19 hygiene practices. It is clear that this mindset is unlikely to change despite the easing of restrictions, however, with eight out of ten people agreeing that customers will continue to expect a higher level of cleanliness beyond the pandemic.
This newly heightened expectation of what is ‘clean’ is largely due to the evolution that the term has experienced during the pandemic, with 60% of business owners indicating that their own customers’ perceptions have done just that. Businesses must therefore encourage their hygiene and cleaning practices to undergo the same evolution; customers and other stakeholders will continue to expect the highest standards of cleaning in order to maintain their trust in the business, with the pandemic having made the public more wary than ever about safe hygiene practices.