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I touched on the subject a couple of times during lockdown, but what's happened since has really focused my thinking and I can see that our industry is going to need to focus on what comes next - and what it plans to do about it - too.
The UK Government (and what I'm about to say may also apply to other countries) is desperately trying to get a new nation of homeworkers back into their offices and thus also onto crowded and unreliable public transport systems deemed so unsafe we've recently been instructed to wear masks whilst travelling. We've become used to avoiding the early morning alarm call to shower & don business attire before what's often a stressful journey to our workplaces, we've embraced online business meetings and we've enjoyed a better quality of life and more time with our families since several hours a week are no longer spent commuting. Many offices are not set up for social distancing, either, so where we physically work isn't necessarily down to personal preference.
Reading the arguments in newspapers as well as reader comments on online broadcasts and social media, I've known for some time that a huge majority of those whose companies are happy to keep everyone working from home, are delighted. Apart from noisy neighbours using what sounds like heavy machinery for lengthy DIY projects, what's not to like about working from a home (or even garden) office?
A new survey by Accumulate Capital, of over 500 senior business decision-makers, has revealed that: 73% believe the pandemic will result in more UK businesses downsizing to smaller office spaces in the coming 12 months (37% are already planning to relocate to a smaller commercial space themselves over the same period)... 50% acknowledge that their preference for commercial working spaces has changed significantly... 58% believe that working from home will become the norm. These are huge changes.
But it's not all about offices, is it? Many stores, restaurants and pubs have announced closures as we, the public, have taken to shopping online & no longer feel that socialising outside of the home in the 'new normal' is the fun it used to be.
The contract cleaning industry is going to have to hugely refocus its efforts, bid for new contracts in different areas and train staff in new procedures - and fast if they're to survive and thrive. Manufacturers and suppliers will be asked for different products and equipment, too.
Are you ready? I certainly hope so...
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20th August 2020