Like most sectors across Australia, the Cleaning industry has been and will continue to be heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and resulting changes to regulations, guidelines and expectations in the workplace. At the same time, the Cleaning industry also stands out as a driving force behind local and global efforts to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19, not to mention future viruses.
Commercial cleaning companies and their individual employees therefore find themselves in a critical position at the centre of this crisis. Moreover, it is clear that the concept of “business as usual” no longer exists. Rather, a “new normal” has already started to emerge, while looking ahead SME operations – particularly for cleaning businesses – will never be the same again.
How will cleaning change with the coronavirus pandemic?
Predictably there is a certain amount of conflicting advice being disseminated on how to prevent and kill coronavirus. To combat both the virus and the potential for confusion, cleaning professionals need greater clarity, operational support and actionable guidelines. If this is not yet a pressing concern for your cleaning business, it should be.
In practice, the best ways to protect cleaners themselves – including hand hygiene, respiratory masks, eye protection and isolation when sick – may not change dramatically. On the other hand, cleaning to safeguard the health and wellbeing of building occupants will now be considered among the highest of operational priorities.
Therefore, significant change is inevitable when it comes to the post-pandemic requirements that will be placed on organisations in relation to viruses: requirements to develop superior risk assessment frameworks; requirements to implement up-to-date prevention strategies; and requirements to ensure these policies and procedures lead to actual, measurable behaviours by cleaning staff.
Subsequently cleaning companies will be held to higher standards and requirements of their own, culminating in the rise of wide ranging requirements for “pandemic planning” across the entire sector. Those failing to adapt will fall behind. For example, anyone entering a school or university to clean will need to be adequately trained and prepared to meet the latest coronavirus requirements.
How will tendering for cleaning work be affected by the COVID-19 reality?
With all this in mind, an opportunity exists for cleaning businesses and cleaning professionals to be pandemic-ready right now – and certainly in advance of the eventual post-recovery phase for COVID-19, whenever that may be. Any SME that takes this opportunity will enhance its prospects for winning government, commercial and corporate cleaning tenders. The immediate and long-term viability/success of your business might depend on it.
In future, cleaning services could be expected to provide at a minimum:
- A pandemic risk management plan
- Procedures for staff during a pandemic
- More comprehensive and scientific cleaning protocols backed by recognised and reliable sources
- SOPs for a virus decontamination clean
However, it will not be sufficient to have the right policies and procedures alone. Your cleaning business will also need quality, up-to-date systems to communicate with clients, train staff and check the effectiveness of its services. For example, a cloud-based system, such as Integrated Compliance Solutions’ own Digital IMS+, enables you to easily and remotely communicate new documentation and requirements, record inspections and other risk mitigation activities and report back to clients in real time.
The supplier best able to demonstrate a strong pandemic policy and procedure framework and contemporary service capabilities in a tender will be ahead of its competitors. For an SME to compete in an industry dominated by larger players, as is the case with commercial cleaning, meeting COVID-19 requirements will soon become a matter of urgency.
The role of ISO Compliance in cleaning tenders
The requirement for cleaning companies to demonstrate ISO Compliance is almost certainly set to increase to an even higher level. Government and large corporate customers will view outstanding documented systems and a strong risk assessment approach as a non-negotiable when selecting preferred suppliers. In the Cleaning industry, the push for more stable, rigorous and effective systems supported by cloud functionality and remote reporting has already begun. Without ISO Compliance, your post COVID-19 cleaning tender application could easily be filtered out in the first round.
How ICS Consulting can help your cleaning business adapt
At ICS Consulting, we are ideally placed to assist your cleaning business in meeting new pandemic requirements. In turn, you will be able to better position yourself as a COVID-19 ready service provider when competing for tenders.
Our COVID-19 Gap Analysis Service for coronavirus and pandemic requirements includes the provision of Australia’s only COVID-19 cleaning services guide in Australia – the BSCAA-endorsed Guide to Cleaning for COVID-19 by industry expert Bridget Gardner, Director of HPC Solutions. This comprehensive, 46-page reference guide covers the risks and strategies for preventative and decontamination cleaning during a pandemic.
For more information on this article, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the experts at ICS Consulting.