Vision Linens offer expert advice on some of the housekeeping challenges during the Christmas and…
3. Facing up to a crisis in cleaning
We have a lot on our plates right now, but planning for possible future emergencies is essential to achieve resilience and confidence.
As we quickly move through 2023 it seems almost no time has passed since the busy days when we were preparing for the holiday season… and yet here we are heading for Spring.
As I reflect over the last year and look forward it has to be recognised that all parts of industry, including hospitality, will be facing very challenging circumstances this year, and beyond. We have just begun to emerge from a stressful pandemic and the impact that continues to have on us all. We were expecting an impact from Brexit and immigration legislation, but all have combined to have a massive effect on every part of the hospitality and cleaning industry.
Also, we need to consider how prepared would we be if we are put in the same position again. It’s a ‘What If’ we can’t afford to blank or put off for another day. Would we be able to access the equipment, materials, PPE, and cleaning products we’d need? As you have moved back into a ‘normal’ existence in your establishments is this something that is being considered or even discussed? In an ideal world we would hope that lessons have been learned. But what plans have we made?
At the moment, through the work of the APPG – All-Party Parliamentary Group – led by the British Cleaning Council, a ‘Crisis Plan’ is being established focused on embedding effective hygiene for a resilient United Kingdom. The aim of the APPG is to promote the importance of cleaning and hygiene for the wellbeing of people, health and safety, and the protection of the environment.
The pandemic has demonstrated the critical importance of cleaning and hygiene products and services, and the essential work carried out by cleaning operatives. We are lobbying hard on this matter and need your support. Unity is strength and we must stand together as one. It is also important that we consider the lasting impact on our housekeeping staff, many losing their jobs and not returning to the industry. This is a problem across the cleaning profession, we are experiencing an acute labour shortage.
Managers are currently looking at recruitment in whole new ways. Innovative opportunities are needed to attract staff to enter the hospitality industry, especially when there are other roles with less responsibility that offer a better salary and conditions of service. We need to have a clearly identified career path where our housekeepers can achieve accredited qualifications to evidence the competencies we require. The British Cleaning Council has a number of objectives in their proposals, including supporting the Skilled Worker Visa. This has been applied to other professions and would help address the shortage of staff that we are currently experiencing. We’re pushing for better utilisation of the levy funds, as £2bn is returned to the Treasury nationally every year, and recognition that our workforce is a skilled sector.
More and more of our customers are returning but the expectation is much higher than previously, and we need occupationally competent staff to meet these expectations and provide the reassurances being demanded. Should we find ourselves in similar circumstances in the future, we would hope that communication and actions from government would be timely, consistent, and ensure that we can continue to provide safer spaces.
To this end, please support the Cleaning and Hygiene APPG, stand together as one and remember unity is strength. For further information visit: https://britishcleaningcouncil.org
It is clear that we do have challenges now and in the future, however on a positive note we are moving towards the Spring and everything seems better when the sun shines!