As the year comes to a close and holiday celebrations are around the corner, we look back at the main challenges the cleaning industry faced in 2023 and will continue to face in 2024. However, this article shows you how new trends in the cleaning industry can be used to overcome the challenges and ensure the success of your company for years to come. Our goal is to help your business thrive.
These trends in the cleaning industry include issues of labour shortage, rising inflation, and higher wages. We also talk about the demands for sustainability, green cleaning, higher efficiency, and the ongoing stigmatising of “unskilled” cleaning-staff and the occasional language barrier.
Labour Shortage and Inflation in the Cleaning Industry
There is a huge labour shortage in the UK. This is one of the main economic trends in the cleaning industry today. The Office for National Statistics’ reported a record high in job vacancies in 2022, with little to no improvement as of November 2023. This is no exception for the cleaning industry, and it only looks as if those numbers will remain high in the future. The other issue is the inflation. Prices on supplies are rising, and as a result, the UK government has increased the National Living Wage by 10%, from £10.42 to £11.44, as of April 2024.
The combination of these issues result in cleaning staff who demand or desperately need higher wages. They either require a higher wage for survival, or directly demand a higher wage because they seem irreplaceable. This leads to an economic strain for your cleaning company. Higher wages are inevitable, both for legal reasons and in order to keep the current staff happy, and hopefully, attract more. These issues highlight the importance of finding solutions to the economic challenges. But no fear! Here are some tips and solutions for your company to help you through.
Tech Trends in the Cleaning Industry: Fast-Track Your Way to Innovation
The technological revolution is moving fast, and is one of the trends in the cleaning industry. Here is a list of some technological advancements in the cleaning industry, some you may know and already use.
- High-tech cleaning and robotics
- Apps and software
- IoT (Internet of Things)
You may feel lost wandering through the tech-jungle, but a few implementations are better than none, and your cleaning staff will thank you for it! Data and software are great places to start, because keeping a digital track of your company can increase productivity and efficiency, and you can finally get rid of the paperwork. Many hours of administrative work can be removed, and used where it is more needed. If software innovation has sparked your interest, then discover the advantages of specialised software with CleanManager, and learn how you can enhance your cleaning business operations today.
Consider investing in robots and other advanced cleaning technologies as well. Such automations can significantly increase the efficiency of your cleaning staff, potentially doubling or even tripling their productivity. It might even reduce the necessity for additional staff. Investing in technology is about trusting the long-term benefits, because the tech-train keeps going, and the same for the economic challenges in the UK.
We Want Better Cleaning, and We Want it Now! The Rising Trend of Health and Safety in the Cleaning Industry
Have you heard this before, or perhaps in a slightly different wording? The demand for higher standards in cleaning is not new, but so are specific demands. The new health trends in the cleaning industry are ECO-friendly and non-chemical products. This newer demand is likely a reaction to our recent COVID-19 pandemic.
The UK Parliament, specifically the House of Commons, is also involved in this trend, and has suggested a bill, “the Clean Air Bill”. This is an effort to gain clean air and great air quality, both indoors and outdoors in the UK.
These trends force cleaning companies to be skilled, adaptable, use technology, and perform deep- and green cleaning. Can you feel the pressure yet? Here is our solution: Sustainability.
The Sustainability Trend as an Asset: A Gateway to Become Competitive in the Cleaning Industry
The answer to the safety and health trend is found in a similar trend, the sustainability trend. Your company is attractive to clients if you implement sustainability. It also justifies the increasing prices for your cleaning service. Clients will pay more for green, non-chemical cleaning, as quality is the most important asset nowadays.
This trend automatically creates a demand for deep cleaning to ensure the highest health standards. This is also a way for your company to increase prices because you offer a better and more thorough cleaning service. It is also in your company’s best interest to use green energy sources, both for the environment and your corporate identity. Caring for the environment is caring for your clients.
Stigmatised Cleaning Staff and the Language Barrier
There is still a negative view on cleaning staff, and how they are perceived as unskilled or uneducated. For many, cleaning is still seen as the “dirty” work. However, there has been some change, as COVID-19 made people realise the importance of cleaning industries. This is a gateway to show how cleaning staff are in fact professional and educated in their field!
Another reason for the ongoing stereotypes, is that a great number of cleaning staff speak English as their second language. This can unfortunately uphold the idea about unskilled or low-income workers. The cleaning industry can be perceived as a place only for immigrants. In reality, the cleaning industry is taking part in social responsibility. They hire and include immigrants in the workforce. Immigrants contribute to the economy, and that should be the focus, and is important to bring forth when the stereotypes appear. Lastly, the language barrier can lead to misunderstandings between cleaning staff and your clients. The solution is education.
How the Education and Re-education Trend can Retain, Attract and Improve the Cleaning Staff
The best way to tackle stereotypes is to confirm that they are incorrect. Therefore, education and re-education of your cleaning staff is essential. Another reason for education is the general shift in jobs and skill sets, as statistics from LinkedIn show that skill sets for jobs have changed 25% since 2015. This number is expected to double in 2027. These numbers call for upskilling or, in other words, advancing the skills your staff already have. It is also essential to re-skill your workers, as things may be done differently now because of technology or of general changes in the industry. Here are some of the benefits:
- Professional staff who know their field well
- Cleaning staff that are adaptable and ready for future changes
- Happier staff who feel appreciated
- Retaining staff because you offer education and re-education
- Potentially improved English skills (if language training is part of the education)
Investing in education will give you up-to-date and professional employees who know and use the latest software and technology. They are able to make their work easier and more efficient. These skills will also shift the focus away from any language barriers, and onto acknowledgment and appreciation for their skills instead. Language becomes secondary to their skills, and the investment in education can help fight the stigma about your cleaning staff.
Heading into 2024
The modern cleaning industry is full of complexity. We see a shifting industry of new trends like sustainability, technology, health, and safety. These require even more from your cleaning company. The trends are only the icing on top of the economic challenges; workforce shortage and inflation in the industry, not to forget the ongoing stereotypes.
Despite all this, you can stay ahead with foresight and courage to invest long term. Because the trends that seem to challenge the industry now can help you overcome the economic hurdles, and ensure your company in the future. See these challenges as opportunities for investment in education, sustainability, technology. Adapting to the evolving market ensures that your company remains professional, efficient, and competitive within the cleaning industry.
If you are considering apps and software for your cleaning company and want more insight, then check out this article When and How to Embrace Cleaning Business Software: Weighing the Pros and Cons.