January 2022 Newsletter: Will Cleaning Ever Go Back to Pre-Pandemic Levels?

This month's articles will look at cleaning's future, new office survey data, declining employee engagement, trends that will impact work and toxic cultures.

We hope this content is helpful as you build out and execute your return to the office plans with employees.

Cleaning changed during the pandemic, and it may not change back - Craig Bettenhausen (Chemical & Engineering News)

The pandemic has put a spotlight on how we sanitize and clean our homes, workplaces and indoor spaces as a whole. The question is if we will ever go back to less intensive efforts of cleaning?

This article shares perspectives on trends we are seeing in commercial cleaning and how cleaning for health instead of just cleaning for sight will effect our indoor environments going forward as well as how these expectations will impact facilities management. We will also need better cleaning validation metrics and tools.

Insights include:

  • “It’s not a fad where we’re expecting some significant drop-off as we look to this year and beyond,” Hockstad says. “I think the behaviors that really became part of the norm during the pandemic we’ll see continuing as we look ahead.”
  • Rebecca Watters, an analyst at the market research firm Mintel, says the polling data she sees suggest that demand for disinfectants isn’t going anywhere. “Consumers remain highly conscious of the virus and other invisible health threats,” she says. “Only 31% say they will disinfect less once the pandemic ends. What’s more, only 25% of adults who use surface cleaners say they will worry less about decontaminating items that enter the home when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.”


How Are Companies and Employees Planning for the Future of the Office? - Janet Pogue McLaurin & Stephanie Benkert (Gensler)

Gensler recently came out with their U.S. Workplace Survey Winter 2021 with some interesting findings on where U.S. organizations are with return to the office and the future of work including insights in return dates, employee expectations, health & safety and office layouts.

Here is a good overview of the survey data with some key insights:

  • Nearly 80% of our survey respondents said their company had communicated an initial return to office plan to their employees. The majority of those respondents (54%) say they will have flexible work policies — ranging from work from home because of health or family care issues, to minimum in-office days per week or month, to teams determining their own schedules. 
  • As employers plan for their return to the office, it will be beneficial to consider implementing greater safety measures to alleviate concerns for those who are hesitant to come back to the office. What was surprising is that 74% reported that access to more private spaces would make them feel comfortable returning to the office — reinforcing the importance of a re-mix of space types in future office environments.


U.S. Employee Engagement Drops for First Year in a Decade - Jim Harter (Gallup)

One of the biggest debates about the work from home model is its impact on employee engagement, experience and collaboration. Gallup has been measuring employee engagement consistently since 2000 and has seen a slip in this metric for the first time in a while.

Here are some reasons that may have caused the slip in engagement:

  • Organizations have lost sight of the basics. Among the engagement elements Gallup measures, the greatest declines were in clarity of expectations, having the right materials and equipment, and the opportunity for workers to do what they do best. These elements are foundational to employee engagement.
  • Managers and healthcare workers are less engaged. Employees who saw the most decline in engagement in 2021 included healthcare or social assistance workers (a 12-percentage-point decline) and managers (a seven-point decline).


11 Trends that Will Shape Work in 2022 and Beyond - Brian Knopp & Emily Rose McRae (Harvard Business Review)

The future of work has evolved more in the past 18 months than it had the previous 5 years and we will continue to feel it's impact in the coming years. Brian and Emily Rose share trends that are worth keeping an eye on as we look to drive experience, engagement and productivity with our teams and employees.

A few trends detailed in the article are:

  • To compete in the war for knowledge worker talent, some companies will shorten the work week rather than increase pay.
  • Employee turnover will continue to increase as hybrid and remote work become the norm for knowledge workers.
  • The complexity of managing a hybrid workforce will drive some employers to require a return to the office.


Toxic Culture Is Driving the Great Resignation - Donald Sull, Charles Sull, and Ben Zweig (MIT Sloan Management Review)

The Great Resignation is another one of these terms that we wish would go away soon but the fact is that employees are switching jobs at the highest rates we've seen. With the transfer to fully remote work during the pandemic, general increases in anxiety and increased demand for talent, we have plenty of reasons for the exodus. However, what truly drives the decision to look for a new job often starts with dissatisfaction from the current situation.

Here's what MIT found were the top reasons:

  • Toxic corporate culture. A toxic corporate culture is by far the strongest predictor of industry-adjusted attrition and is 10 times more important than compensation in predicting turnover.
  • Job insecurity and reorganization. We reported that job insecurity and reorganizations are important predictors of how employees rate a company’s overall culture. So it’s not surprising that employment instability and restructurings influence employee turnover.
  • High levels of innovation. It’s not surprising that workers leave companies with toxic cultures or frequent layoffs. But it is surprising that employees are more likely to exit from innovative companies.


Employee Engagement Return to Office Return to Workplace Workplace Trends COVID Cleaning Cleaning Pandemic Corporate Cleaning Cleaning Validation Cleaning For Health Corporate Culture Employee Workplace Experience


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