The Importance of CleanersBy Melina Cruz | Wed, 05/19/2021 - 09:03
In Mexico, there are more than 4 million people who are dedicated to cleaning different public and private spaces every day. However, we rarely ask ourselves about the value and importance of these personnel and their activities.
Many cleaning professionals are often ignored or undermined, regardless of whether these activities are carried out in homes, offices, or businesses, even though they are performing tasks that nobody wants to do, that we all demand and from which we all benefit.
According to the International Cleaning Association in Mexico, there are more than 3,000 cleaning service companies; however, 80 percent of the industry dedicated to cleaning and hygiene is made up of informal companies, with an estimated value of more than MX$25 billion (US$1.2 billion).
According to data from INEGI, the cleaning sector in 2009 represented a value of more than MX$7.4 billion (US$368 million). Unfortunately, large cleaning services companies seek to position themselves as leaders in the industry by selling their services at reduced costs and demanding less responsibility from their clients, even at the cost of the labor rights of their employees. This results in cleaning staff who clean and maintain the offices of companies that offer their employees generous benefits while they themselves lack, for the most part, legal benefits. They also sometimes receive a salary that is even lower than the minimum daily wage determined by Mexican law (MX$141.7 (US$7.04)). These companies usually take advantage of older adults who, desperate to have a secure source of income, accept the imposed conditions.
The pandemic has also helped highlight that certain workers do not have the same luck of being able to work from home and socially distance themselves. This is the case of cleaning personnel and domestic employees who, together with health personnel, are among the workers most at risk of contracting COVID-19. And according to the World Health Organization (WHO), proper cleaning services can help reduce other contagion risks beyond those related to COVID-19.
All cleaning professionals should be considered front-line personnel in the fight against the current pandemic since they are dedicated to cleaning and disinfecting areas and surfaces that can harbor germs and viruses. Not only that, the activities of cleaning personnel involve other associated health risks, such as the use of corrosive chemicals and the handling of waste and heavy objects.
Sadly, the budget for cleaning services is usually one of the lowest for many companies, and the maintenance or quartermaster staff are usually the lowest paid. As a result, companies prefer to stay in the informal sector, without benefits or legal rights.
For this reason, at Homely, we believe that we must revalue these professionals and the activities they carry out every day, and not only through efforts to educate more people about the importance of cleaners but through real and tangible benefits for all staff who carry out cleaning activities for us: the people we call our “keepers.”
At Homely, we increase the starting income that a keeper can generate by 30% compared to the industry average nationwide. In addition to better salary opportunities, there are also more secure and personal opportunities for them to have greater professional growth and improve their quality of life and for their families.
Fortunately, within the current portfolio of our current clients, we have found that more and more decision-makers are opting for providers like Homely. Since we ensure a professional cleaning service, we are a company with a social impact and a technological base that allows all our clients to receive an efficient and flexible service without neglecting the benefits for all cleaning personnel who work in their facilities, thereby decreasing staff turnover and reaching a certain level of standardization for cleaning services. We are aware that technology plays an increasingly important role in the cleaning industry and keepers have had to learn to use these technological tools to do a more efficient job.
Cleaning services are no longer seen only as an operating expense that managers should reduce to a minimum. Cleaning in certain industries can be key to maintaining a competitive advantage. Thus, more and more members of the C-suite are involved in decision-making when hiring a company that provides services and supplies.
In the wake of the pandemic, we have seen increased interest from companies regarding the cleaning of their businesses or facilities. This creates a great opportunity to improve the game in the cleaning industry. We can increasingly generate a positive impact on the lives of the millions of cleaning personnel in Mexico, which we have dreamed about and worked to achieve at Homely for the last five years.
We are excited to know that more and more companies see cleaning as having greater importance and that products and services are taking on greater relevance. We are ready for more and more companies to choose Homely as a cleaning service provider, knowing that their staff has access to a better future