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We have mail: The Domestic Cleaning Alliance responds to last week's Leader...
Jan, I like your article. However, if it were simply a case of removing the stigma of cleaning, we'd be home and I dry. I wish it were so simple.
The very nature of many commercial cleaning jobs is such that the hours are, in many cases, short, and the cleaning is performed either very early in the morning or late in the day. This makes the job a lot less appalling and in many cases uneconomical for the person doing it. Don't get me wrong, there have been many times in my life where I was reliant on two or more part-time jobs to make up my hours, but then I was lucky enough to be able to run a car, which made getting to work for 6am to do two hours cleaning a lot easier.
We can also talk about a "career" in cleaning as much as we like, but we all know that the typical progression for cleaners is to the role of site supervisor, but after that, to where?
Until such time where the culture in the UK returns to one where welfare benefits are seen as for emergency use only until a job can be sourced, I fear we are fighting a losing battle and that we industry experts ourselves need to re-evaluate our own beliefs so that we no longer stand there aghast at the prospect of not being able to fill a vacancy even in these general very difficult economic times. I am not saying the mentality is correct, but I am saying that we can only work with the resources we have available whilst we endeavour to make the changes to the culture.
The whole subject of staffing is one which the Domestic Cleaning Alliance is keen to offer support with, because whilst each and every sector of the cleaning industry is invaluable, domestic cleaning stands out above many others sectors as it is one of the most challenging and stimulating cleaning roles anyone can have. We are reliant on trustworthy, reliable staff, who can think for themselves and work on their own initiative, as no two homes and no two days are ever the same.
There is as much which goes into the customer care and 'social' side of the job as there is that goes into the actual cleaning. And unlike many sectors of cleaning, we really do have career progression; many domestic cleaners go on to set up their own businesses, or, like myself, people with a none-cleaning background come into domestic cleaning and find they have hit the ground running. In February 2004 I had no clients, just a handful of leaflets & a heart full of good intentions. In February 2005 I was running a full-time cleaning service and turning work away as I was so busy!
There is, however, one other aspect which I would like to mention, as it's something the DCA is working hard to promote, and that is the importance of a good attitude, towards the job and towards the people who we come into contact with as cleaners. I have met many cleaning personnel whose attitude was, shall we say, 'slightly adjacent' to what I would have hoped for. In commercial cleaning this can be tolerated to some extent, however, the intimate nature of domestic cleaning is such that anything less than a perfect attitude will not be accepted by the client. People don't want to feel intimidated in their own homes. Thus, the DCA is making everyone aware of the important job any cleaner does, and to show them their worth... and why they need to be proud of the part they play.
30th October 2014