By Mike Armitage, Managing Director
At Clean Slate we started making detailed plans for how to deal with the spread of the current coronavirus back in early February, just as we have for previous possible pandemics over the past two decades. Although in mid March the crisis developed more quickly than we anticipated, our early work meant we were well prepared to help our customers throughout.
Our first concern always is the health and safety of our staff and customers. We exceeded government shielding recommendations and sent home all staff we identified to be higher risk. This was at a time when our customer demands were intense – some sites required additional work, others were closing and a raft of new measures were necessary at sites including the many GP surgeries and schools that we clean for. Also for a period in March, government advice changed daily.
Despite these challenges it is humbling for me to be a part of a team that pulled together heroically, working many long hours to not only keep our business afloat, but to continue to meet our unique Guarantees. Even in the most testing of circumstances, we only missed 2 cleans across our business – a success rate of 99.98% – consistent with ‘normal’ times.
Our management team have been in regular contact with all cleaning team members – through phone, email and newsletters (6 so far) making sure that that our people know they are our number one priority in feeling safe, cared for, informed and part of the solution to this global problem.
We have always sought to recruit high quality staff – and as a part of this, we pay our cleaning team at least the Real Living Wage rate of £9.30 per hour and train them thoroughly using our comprehensive 6 week STAR+ training programme. This investment in our people pays for itself in normal times with higher staff morale, loyalty and retention, however in times such as these, their dedication and professionalism has been incredible.
We have tweaked aspects of our service, but fundamentally, it remains the same as it always has been. It is testament to our working methods and staff that we are able to efficiently handle a global pandemic without major change, and still be fully compliant with all government guidelines. Our comprehensive cleaning processes and thorough regular objective audits ensures that customer premises are cleaned to standards that we believe are unrivalled in the contract cleaning industry.
In March we introduced an additional coronavirus site audit of all our customer premises that we clean at and we share our findings with them where we have recommendations to make. Our advice is free, based on best practice from various sources including the World Health Organisation and in virtually all cases, delivers a fast, significant and sustainable risk reduction for a negligible cost.
At Clean Slate, prioritising our existing customers has meant that we have not capitalised on profit opportunities from the many enquiries we have received for emergency deep cleans following an infection event – we have carried these out for existing customers only, and at our standard rates. This was a policy decision – as our priority is always to ensure that our promised service levels are maintained.
In April and May a lot of customers started to return to the workplace and again, we have in every case been able to facilitate their wishes in ensuring that our service, tweaked as required, is ready to go straight away.
The reality is, that even in a best case scenario, we have to learn to live with this risk for more than a year and now, more than ever, working with Clean Slate makes sense as part of your plan to protect your workforce from the risk of infection.
We are now able to accept new work again and to provide any new customers with Guaranteed Better Cleaning.
Mike Armitage – Managing Director