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HOW CLEANING SERVICES BECAME A MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR ENTERPRISE

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HOW CLEANING SERVICES BECAME A MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR ENTERPRISE 3

Just a few decades ago, stay-at-home mothers worked as maids while teenaged boys mowed lawns and raked leaves. Over time, these part-time money makers transformed into lucrative, full-time careers for men and women. Consider how cleaning services have become a multi-million dollar enterprise over the past fifty years.

The Need for Insurance

It was easy to hire the lady around the corner to clean your house before the holidays. She would be there in a few minutes and accepted cash to get the job done. Soon offices started to hire local people to clean up. The workload increased and locals would bring a helper to get the job done. This was the beginning of cleaning businesses as we know them today.

With more jobs and workers on board, there were greater risks. Items could get lost, broken or stolen during the cleaning process. A worker could trip over a faulty floorboard and get hurt. The need for insurance became evident. Now most people want to hire a cleaning company with a license, insurance and reliable transportation to the job. The days of walking around the corner to go to work are over.

The Popularity of Franchising

Typically, the start-up costs to start small cleaning businesses are minimal. The business needs to have a few cleaning supplies and transportation. Some cleaning companies request the client provide the supplies to ensure the job is done the way they want it. As clients request additional services such as steam cleaning, the cleaning crew might need to make additional investments. It is can also be costly to get a license and insurance as well as market the business.

Franchising takes the mystery out of starting and registering a cleaning business. People who want to pursue this career already get in on the ground floor of a well-established business people have heard of. The need to market their business is minimal. They can get to work right away rather than canvassing for clients. Today there are many lucrative cleaning franchises as well as large cleaning companies that choose to work independently.

Saving Money on Renovations

Hiring a cleaning service is a way to revamp your home or office space without investing in costly renovations. Businesses want a clean, professional environment where workers and clients feel comfortable. Residences need to be healthy and well-organized to keep people happy and well. Having a professional cleaning service maintaining the place on a schedule keeps it ready for occupants and visitors.

A clean space also looks more valuable. Even if the premises are old, they can be properly organized and tidy. This gives them a refreshed appearance without spending thousands of dollars on new furniture or updates. Many people hire a cleaning service to ensure their premises are always in the best possible shape.

Expanding Work Hours

Once upon a time, one parent stayed at home while the other went out to work. This meant there was someone at home to take care of the children, cooking and cleaning. This scenario has changed radically since most households require two incomes to survive. With both people working, it becomes impossible to handle all the little details such as cleaning the house.

Small businesses used to have a few people clean the facilities periodically. Now most workers are on the fast-track to success. They have no time left after a long day to start cleaning the workplace. As a result, cleaning services are needed to maintain offices and homes while their occupants are earning a living.

Going Green

Years ago, few households were recycling or building a compost pile. Now businesses and residences are concerned about going green. People are aware of the environment and how trash can have a negative impact on natural resources. Certain areas also have regulations pertaining to recycling and how trash is disposed of.

Cleaning services know the proper cleansers to use and how to get rid of all kinds of trash. When people want to go green, they can consult with a reputable cleaning company to find out how to do it. A professional cleaning crew shows people the green way to clean and dispose of trash. This makes the premises and the world around us a cleaner and greener place.

HOW CLEANING SERVICES BECAME A MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR ENTERPRISE 4

Image Source: http://cdn.morguefile.com/imageData/public/files/p/pedrojperez/06/l/13720025797l1h0.jpg

The Growth of Niche Cleaning Services

When the largest office in town was a converted colonial home, there was no real need for niche cleaning services. Now there are skyscrapers with huge windows that can’t be reached by a regular person. They require special equipment and a person with experience washing corporate office windows. These types of structural changes lead to the growth of niche cleaning services.

Other niches have also developed over the years. For example, plush carpeting in office reception areas requires deep cleaning and steam cleaning. Hardwood floors need to be properly maintained and refinished when they show signs of wear and tear. There are also hoarding cleaning services to help people get rid of junk and establish a more organized environment. Niche cleaning services have further expanded cleaning enterprises.

The Expansion of Outdoor Living Areas

People want more room to unwind and entertain but might not be able to spend money to build an extension on their homes. It has become increasingly popular to establish luxurious outdoor living areas on decks, patios and balconies. These living spaces include outdoor kitchens, dining areas and living spaces. They also require specialized maintenance that is not typically done by a landscaper.

Additional niche cleaning opportunities have opened up to keep outdoor living spaces pristine. Outdoor furniture must be cleaned as well as barbecue grills, outdoor kitchen spaces and indoor/outdoor rooms. The ground needs to be swept and outdoor décor must be wiped down. All these items must be stored or covered during the coldest months of the year. Specialty cleaning services help homeowners keep these spaces clean and organized.

It is crucial for our health and overall well-being to maintain a clean workplace and residence. As more people hire cleaning services to handle their expanding responsibilities, the cleaning industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds. People from all educational backgrounds can enter this lucrative field, gain experience on-the-job and earn a good living doing it.

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Two thirds of people believe their work travel patterns have changed permanently

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Two thirds of people believe their work travel patterns have changed permanently 5

Alphabet research shows accelerating demand for mobility and EVs after lockdown

  • Only 35% of people expect to return to normal travel habits
  • A quarter of consumers said their next vehicle would be electric
  • 55% of consumers think all delivery vans should be electric, and one in three would pay extra to guarantee it

Farnborough, UK – 29 September 2020: Alphabet (GB) today published a new report examining how the pandemic has accelerated changes to travel and transport, altering consumer and business travel habits in UK cities.

Changing travel patterns

With mass migration to working from home, in March, road traffic travel dropped to levels not seen since 1955[1] and journeys on the London Underground fell by 95%[2]. Today, only 6% of those travelling to work by train feel comfortable, dropping to just 4% for tube users.

Use of more active modes of transport like cycling and walking have more than doubled to 20% and 10% respectively. A quarter of 18-44-year olds expect to retain the new modes of travel they used during lockdown, and only one in three expects a return to normal travel patterns.

Private vehicle preference

As such, the company car may also see a surge in popularity. Alphabet’s research showed 37% of consumers would now consider using a company car following the pandemic, to enable them to travel safely, whereas prior to lockdown many employees favoured a cash benefit. These changes are likely to remain for some time due to ongoing safety concerns and fleet managers will need to have a flexible fleet offering to handle these changing preferences when building their future mobility plans.

Electric Drive

The improvements in city air quality during lockdown appear to have had an impact on public perception and sales of electric vehicles (EV). Adoption of EVs continued to accelerate during the pandemic, taking a record market share of new vehicle registrations in August. Nearly a quarter (24%) of consumers said an EV or plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) would be their next choice and 40% would strongly consider one. This is a substantial increase from the 19% of people considering EVs at the end of 2019[3].

People also want to see businesses supporting the shift to EVs and are prepared to pay for it. Over half (55%) of respondents felt delivery vans should be electric, while one in three said they would be happy to pay extra for an electric delivery vehicle. Fleets that make the shift early have the opportunity to benefit significantly in terms of brand perception and preference.

Simon Swan, Director Future Mobility, Arcadis said: “Due to the impact of COVID-19, all sales of vehicles took a major hit; however, electric vehicles were affected less than other vehicle types. As the UK emerges from lockdown, electric vehicle registrations continue to rise in absolute numbers with August new car registrations figures showing a record market share for pure electric cars. Analysts were expecting EV sales to hit 10% of new car registrations in 2022, not 2020. Hitting 9.7% in August is a big deal for the UK market.”

Alan McCleave, UK General Manager, NewMotion said: “As adoption spreads and we embrace electric vehicles – especially in the commercial sector – we need a much more robust smart charging infrastructure. Fleet managers need to feel confident that powering their plug-in vehicles will be as simple and reliable as it is for traditional vehicles. Introducing interoperability, so a single payment solution works across all charging networks, is a large and necessary change. With a focus on electrification, and the infrastructure to support it, fleets will be a central part of the national recovery from COVID-19 and our path to a greener economy.”

Nick Brownrigg, Chief Executive Officer, Alphabet (GB) said: “The pandemic has had a huge impact on people and businesses, fundamentally changing how we move around and use our cities. While we can’t be sure of the long-term impact, it’s clear a lot of these changes are here to stay, and for fleet managers flexibility becomes ever more important. At Alphabet, we are working closely with all our customers to help them navigate the new world. People are adopting new habits and behaviours so it’s key that digitalisation and sustainability are central to any fleet strategy. Now is the time for all of us to invest and meet the changing needs of employees and customers, so we can ensure everyone feels safe and confident when travelling to work.”

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Death of the workplace friendship: study shows how remote working is eroding our meaningful connections with colleagues

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Death of the workplace friendship: study shows how remote working is eroding our meaningful connections with colleagues 6
  • Employee experience platform Perkbox’s research on 1,296 employees and 300 business leaders reveal 65% think the ‘new way of working’ will take its toll on workplace friendships
  • 45% of employees say that maintaining emotional wellbeing still remains one of the biggest remote working challenges; yet only 20% of bosses agree

  • Meanwhile 35% of business leaders confess they are struggling to cope with the pressures of keeping employees happy at the risk of their own personal wellbeing

Friendships at work have long been a debated topic pre-COVID: arguments either side profess these to be both conducive or a hindrance to productivity and creativity. Yet, according to new research into the national state of employee wellbeing conducted by employee experience platform Perkbox, 45% of 1,296 respondents say that maintaining emotional wellbeing still remains one of the biggest remote working challenges facing businesses, with 65% believing that workplace friendships – now even more critical in the ‘new working world’ – are suffering because of remote working.

Colleague camaraderie in the age of COVID

The benchmarking study saw that 54% of employees now believe that maintaining ‘social wellbeing’ (how connected we feel with our colleagues and the wider world) presents one of the biggest wellbeing challenges in light of remote working – an increase of 18% from Perkbox’s study of the same sample set the previous month.

Yet there is a clear disconnect between what employees feel and what their employers believe: only 12% of business leaders recognise their employees’ social wellbeing as a significant challenge in the age of remote working, and only 20% of bosses (compared with 45% of employees) believe that maintaining ‘emotional wellbeing’ (how we feel about stress, anxiety and our overall mental health) is a significant challenge that mustbe addressed.

Some employers, however, confess that they are struggling with the pressures of keeping their employees happy, safe and productive during this ‘new normal’, with 35% saying that this has been at the cost of looking after their own personal wellbeing.

Mona Akiki, VP of People, Perkbox, commented: “Many organisations pre-COVID either didn’t pay much attention to friendships at work or focused on it as a way to ensure that it didn’t create any conflicts within the organisation. Today, we’re realising that strong colleague interactions seem to matter to an employee’s social and emotional wellbeing.

Remote working appears to have created nervousness around our sense of connectivity and camaraderie with our colleagues. Forward thinking organisations are quickly realising that this should matter to them as well.

Although organisations didn’t necessarily cause the current climate, the increased sense of anxiety and burnout amongst their employees who are now living and working in silo at home will not only impact the individual’s health but also the wellbeing of the team and the business. Both employees and employers must work together to combat this challenge and achieve wellbeing before it becomes an even bigger issue.”

Sedentary and sad

The third instalment of Perkbox’s benchmarking study also showed, for the first time, how physical health due to less movement has risen to be one of the top three wellbeing challenges for employees (after social and emotional wellbeing). With the removal of the daily commute and longer hours spent at the computer in order to appear more productive and thus more indispensable, 37% of employees believe that their physical wellbeing has suffered – with lack of exercise fuelling the emotional crutch of unhealthy comforts such as takeaways, binge watching and excessive drinking. The government’s recent guidance to “work from home, if you can” could exacerbate the problem further.

Tackling the problem 

Before and during the earlier months of COVID-19, workspace wellbeing (how the safety of our work environment and / or ability to work well from home is affecting us) was the most implemented initiative by 79% of businesses, with initiatives around social wellbeing coming a close second (75%). Yet – perhaps because of the economic uncertainty brought about by COVID compounded by the lack of acknowledgement by bosses that emotional and social wellbeing is a problem felt by employees – 16% of small business say they have no plans to implement initiatives to tackle these challenges; a figure which has doubled from the previous Perkbox study.

Furthermore, 30% of smaller business have no plans to implement financial wellbeing support during this critical period (compared to 9% in the last study); 23% have no plans to implement physical wellbeing initiatives (an increase from 9% previously), and 13% have no plans to implement emotional wellbeing initiatives to support employees’ mental health (compared to 5% previously).

“There is a concerning trend – especially among smaller businesses – about disinvesting in overall employee wellbeing initiatives at a time where support is needed the most,” commented Mona Akiki, Perkbox.

“There seems to be a lack of understanding that these initiatives need not be expensive but considered, human-centric and empathetic to the emotional, social, physical and financial challenges that beset us every day, hindering us from our ability to perform optimally. A team whose wellbeing has been adequately attended to has the resilience, energy and creativity to weather business challenges more effectively than a team whose members are emotionally, physically and socially run ragged. Our research acts as a barometer for how pressing these concerns are to both employees and employers. These challenges, at least for the medium term, are here to stay. It’s time that businesses invest in employee wellbeing as part of a wider essential strategy to ‘keep the lights on’ where others are floundering.”

As part of Perkbox’s New Working World series, a number of surveys and reports are being produced to track employee sentiment towards wellbeing as we exit a post-Covid world. This is being run alongside a survey of UK employers to see the business perspective on wellbeing impact in light of 2020’s events. For more information and full report on the studies findings, visit: https://www.perkbox.com/uk/resources/library/new-working-world

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Half of UK’s finance sector confirms diversity should be more of a priority in the workplace, with calls for action across the industry

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Half of UK’s finance sector confirms diversity should be more of a priority in the workplace, with calls for action across the industry 7

Almost half (45%) of Britain’s banking/financial services workforce think their employer could do more when it comes to diversity, according to a report from UK-based tech-for-good developer, Culture Shift.

Despite 74% of employees in the sector confirming that working somewhere with a diverse workforce is an important factor for their happiness at work, almost half (46%) think diversity seems like less of a priority in the workplace currently, with 52% stating it should be more of a priority. The same report also uncovered that 53% of employees in banking and financial services said their employer makes token gestures that feel surface level when it comes to diversity and inclusion.

Diversity and inclusion have long been key factors for ensuring a positive and happy work environment, however the events of recent months, such as the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, have resulted in these climbing up the agenda of many employers.

“The insights on diversity and inclusion uncovered in Culture Shift’s report really do resonate with me, as they shine a light on the lack of true representation across the UK’s positions of power. Employees are calling for their employers to focus on recruiting people from more diverse backgrounds, while providing training to the workforce on diversity and inclusion, confirming action really does need to be taken.

“If organisations want to create a happy work environment then they should take heed, as most employees confirmed working somewhere with a diverse workforce was an important factor to their happiness at work,” comments Olive Strachan MBE, founder of Olive Strachan Resources Ltd, global business woman and diversity and inclusion specialist.

The research found that fostering a diverse workforce representative of reality is a key factor for creating a positive culture and a key component for most employees’ happiness at work. With many calling for more to be done when it comes to ensuring that not only do under-represented groups have a presence in businesses, but also a seat at the table and a voice, there are various factors organisations should be keeping front on mind whilst planning for the future.

On fostering a diverse workforce, representative of reality, the research revealed that:

  • 80% of employees in banking/financial services said working at a company with a strong ethical background was important to them, with 84% stating that working at a company with a good reputation for treating employees fairly was integral to their happiness at work
  • Almost one-fifth (18%) said their employer could improve workplace culture by recruiting more people from BAME backgrounds, while one-quarter (25%) said by providing training to the workforce on diversity and inclusion
  • 15% said their employer could improve its culture and be more inclusive by recruiting more people from LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) backgrounds
  • More than one-quarter (26%) said their employer could improve its culture by recruiting more people of varying abilities; while 21% said by recruiting a better gender balance
  • One-quarter (25%) said their employer could improve its culture by recruiting more people of different religions/faiths
  • 15% said their employer should prioritise the promotion of people from minority and marginalised backgrounds to improve its workplace culture

“To create an empowering culture for all employees, it’s absolutely essential for organisations to be diverse, inclusive and showcase true representation across all levels of the business. Not only do recruitment processes need to be inclusive, but promotion opportunities too, and employees from marginalised backgrounds need to be supported through their career, as well as other employees.

“We firmly believe this is an incredibly important conversation to have and the insights uncovered in our research solidify that we’re not alone in believing more action needs to be taken by those at the top. It’s a shift that won’t happen overnight, but there needs to be clear intent from employers to keep diversity and inclusion at the top of their agenda,” adds Gemma McCall, CEO, Culture Shift.

Culture Shift exists to lead positive change in organisational culture, through building products that empower them to tackle harassment and bullying.

“We hope the insights uncovered in our report, combined with the fact that diverse workforces are consistently proven to be more successful, result in employers making some tangible changes across the board to ensure their teams are truly representative of reality,” concludes Gemma.

To see more insights uncovered by the research or to download the full ‘Maintaining workplace culture in a rapidly changing environment’ report, visit info.culture-shift.co.uk/maintaining-workplace-culture.

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