Visible cleaning is key to consumer confidence, research shows


Once a service that was kept behind the scenes, cleaning in public spaces is now proving to be the key factor in regaining consumer confidence. This is especially relevant as the UK looks forward to lockdown restrictions lifting next week.   

Independent research commissioned by ABM UK has explored the perception of built environments with regards to the visibility of cleaners now, compared to life pre COVID-19. It shows that the mere sight of disinfection happening in public spaces can go a long way to creating the confidence people need to feel safe and return to the site.   

Of the 1,000 research participants, 61% said that seeing cleaners in public spaces makes them feel that safety measures are being taken seriously and nearly half (48%) agreed it reminds them to stay alert. A quarter of people said that visible cleaning instilled a sense of trust in the environment and 27% agreed it made them feel safe.  

John McPherson, ABM UK Managing Director comments: “Crucially, 45% of survey respondents agreed that the visibility of cleaning in progress would encourage them to return to a built environment, whether that’s an office space, shopping centre or airport.  

“COVID-19 represents a turning point for the facilities services industry. In the past, facilities services often went unnoticed, but it now has national awareness and represents a gateway for the UK to reopen and stay that way. 

“As we continually adapt to changing restrictions and navigate the winter season, businesses which want to instil confidence in their customers need to bring their cleaning and disinfection practices out for the public to see. It’s about going beyond the hand sanitising stations and the two metre markers; the conscious consumer wants to see proof of cleaners in action.”  

 When asked about their attitudes to seeing cleaners doing their job in public spaces pre COVID-19, a fifth of people admitted that they thought cleaning was something that should happen after hours or behind the scenes. This is compared to just 2% who think the same post-COVID-19.   

In addition, nearly a quarter of respondents agreed that before lockdown they hadn’t considered what went into keeping the spaces they lived, worked and played in clean, and 12% said they had never considered whether a space was clean or not.  

The research is part of ABM UK’s ongoing efforts to ensure it can provide world-class advice and services to customers navigating the pandemic. A leading provider of facility management solutions, ABM UK also established an Expert Advisory Council, composed of external leading experts in infectious disease and industrial hygiene to advise on many aspects of ABM UK’s business, including its proprietary EnhancedClean programme.  

The three-step EnhancedClean approach delivers healthy spaces with a certified disinfection process backed by experts. It is designed to help clients return to their facilities safely and navigate change in a post COVID-19 world. It also delivers assurance to employees, customers and the public by demonstrating trustworthy cleaning and disinfection. The programme includes consistent intervals of frequent high touch point and broad disinfection, delivered by certified team members.