What does the end-game look like for everyone, and we’re talking the happily-ever-after end-game, not the doom-and-gloom variety.
We’re tackling that, and adding to it, specifically, what that will mean for the janitorial industry. We (people who work in and around the commercial cleaning industry) have a unique position in the goings-on in the world today. Though doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and many others are out there saving lives every day, that is what they have always done, and will continue to do. The cleaning industry, however, has and will be, changed by these events for the foreseeable future. The way we think about, and even do our jobs will be forever altered, and in many ways for the better! Quality will now hold its ground against quantity, and clients won’t necessarily hire the cheapest bidder. In short, when things start to go back to normal, the janitorial industry will have a lot of adapting to do, but the results will be good for everyone.
So let’s discuss what the final days of this pandemic will look like before life returns to a degree of what we expect from it.
Sure we’ve got a lot of confusion abound as to what will happen before life goes back to business-as-usual, or even if life WILL go back to business-as-usual.
We’ve been talking to experts throughout the janitorial industry, cataloging trends, pain-points, and hypothesis. We were considering the best method of delivering our findings, when we came across a wonderful article from trusted (and one of our favorites) publication Maclean’s. They covered the 5 steps of what we might see when this pandemic ends, and how to get there.
We thought the only thing missing, was how this directly related to one group out in the front lines right now, fighting the good fight and risking a lot to keep our environments clean and safe. You guessed it, the cleaning industry. So inspired by Maclean’s wonderful article, here is our take on the 5 final steps to freedom, and the impact it will have on the janitorial industry every step of the way.
“Social distancing is the only endgame we have. There simply is no alternative. Anyone doubting it should watch this excellent animation from the Washington Post. The question then becomes how best to do it, and later, how best to ease back into normal life, in a way that saves lives and does the least harm to society and the economy.”
The First Step: Lock- Down
I think we are all aware of this one by now. In order to make an impact on this pandemic, at least until a vaccine is developed (which may be a while folks) We have to remain socially distanced long enough—and much more diligently than we currently are—to choke off spread in our communities. People will need to stay at home. Non-essential workplaces must shutter. We’ll be required to lock down almost everyone until transmission declines to virtually nil. Only then will we have re-gained control of this pandemic, at which point we can move on to…
The Second Step: Baby Steps
When we see transmission numbers reach a virtual zero, we will start to see some(only the least vulnerable)people back into the community.
This is the time when a lot of janitorial companies will start getting back to business. Why? Because they’ll be the first wave out the door. The ones giving every nook and cranny of public areas the deepest clean possible, and pave the way for the slow emergence of the rest of society into public places.
Obviously this will be the most frightening step of the process, with a lot of precautions (rightfully so) and careful consideration of contact with other people.
The Third Step: It’s Ok to Stumble a Little
It is likely that even with precautions, Some people may still become infected and sick, but that is not unexpected. Hospitals and medical care will be anticipating this possibility, and they’ll be able to tend to cases with ample space, supplies, and safety precautions. At the same time medical facilities will use their improved testing capacity on anyone showing symptoms, and more rapidly quarantine those who test positives, trace their social interactions, monitor/test those who came in contact, and quarantine them too (if necessary).
As Macleans’ puts it in their article:
“That epidemiological game of whack-a-mole (or “contact tracing” in the jargon) keeps up until the last positive contacts are found, and community transmission again drops to virtually nil”
For janitorial companies, this time will be extremely important. Society will need to rely heavily on cleaning companies, because for whatever positive cases do exist, these cleaners will need to follow behind, methodically sanitizing any area that has possible contaminants, like that adorable robot in Wall-E:
Step 4: The Second Stride
After the first wave of people have been reintegrated, our economy has started to look somewhat healthy again, our healthcare system has started to get us closer to “herd immunity”—the risk of a second wave of infections will hopefully become less.
The second group to be released from isolation will consist of somewhat vulnerable persons. Middle-aged people for example. Step 3 will be repeated for this group and once again, as this happens, the commercial cleaning sector will see yet another massive jump in contracts. It is imperative to be prepared every step of the way. We can’t think of anything worse than a wave of paying cleaning contracts and not enough prepared companies to commit to them.
The Fifth Step: The Final Step Outside
If you haven’t guessed yet, this is the step when life starts to look the way we remember it in the outside world. The rest of society will have freedom from isolation, this means even those who are vulnerable, pregnant, immunosuppressed, or elderly (to name a few) can all re-integrate with the rest of us.
At this point, we hope there is little to no risk thanks to healthcare having perfected care for those with illness, or better yet, an antivirus, vaccine, or other drugs to help combat any potential remaining illness. This is where again, the third step is repeated as the last of us are returned to a somewhat looking world.
And yet again, with a laser focus on quality, and attention to detail, the commercial cleaning sector will be called on to ensure that public places are safe for the most vulnerable of society
“While Steps 1-5 are playing out, no doubt scientists and hospitals will acquire an accurate, easy serological test, which determines whether a person has been infected in the past and mounted antibodies that can protect against future infection. That knowledge can be useful, for example by placing likely immune people in the riskiest jobs.”
“We also will need to perform routine serosurveys to determine how many people in Canada are likely immune. If our population-level immunity remains low, then extra vigilance is needed because any reintroduction of the virus, possibly by travellers, would spread like wildfire.
“But if in a year or so, the number of seropositive people reaches around 40 to 70 percent, then we will have reached the threshold of herd immunity and the virus no longer presents a major threat. There will be sporadic outbreaks, but none that contact tracing cannot extinguish. Gradually life will become more or less exactly as before. “
“At this point, we have won.” – Maclean’s
So as you may have noticed while reading this, not only can the commercial cleaning sector expect an increase in demand for quality, WHO approved supplies and medical-grade cleaning standards moving forward… but they should also anticipate not one, but three waves of increased demand before this pandemic reaches its conclusion. Thankfully for those in a delicate financial balance, the janitorial industry will be the first returning to the kind of hours and number of clients they had before…if not more.
We hope this outlook helped alleviate some of your worries and give you a bit of hope for the future. Remember though, none of this can happen if we don’t all do our part to keep this contained. And the way to do that is to check your facts, listen to your government, the CDC (Center for Disease Control), and the WHO (World Health Organization)
It is a time where it may be difficult to separate fact from fiction, but we all need to be dedicated, diligent, and believe that things will be changing in a positive direction soon.
In reaction to the global issue, the expected levels of sanitation have been raised across the board for years to come. The best move is to put long-term plans into place to make these practices your “new normal”. Again, the Swept team will be here throughout this journey to support you. We have your back!
Swept is dedicated to highlighting stories that keep everyone in the janitorial industry as up to date on world events and in-the-know as possible. Having started as a commercial cleaning company ourselves, our hearts go well beyond the janitorial software we offer. Learn more about Swept’s cleaning company software here. And to keep up on all the trends in the janitorial services industry, subscribe to our blog!