The impacts of Covid-19 have been felt in businesses across the UK and, despite an obvious need for increased cleaning practices, cleaning companies are no exception with only 75% of businesses in the sector currently trading, according to ONS data.
Perfect Clean, a Scottish cleaning company, has analysed the latest ONS data to understand how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the cleaning industry.
The administrative and support service industry, which accounts for cleaning, has been one of the worst affected industries, second only to accommodation and food services.
In the first two weeks of December alone, 5% of businesses in the sector permanently ceased trading, which is more than double the national average. Additionally, 54% of businesses in the sector saw turnover decrease compared to pre-Covid levels.
With businesses following government advice to ‘work from home if you can effectively do so’ in England, many businesses have been left empty, reducing the demand for office cleaning services. Savill’s found a dramatic 50% decrease in office space uptake in The City of London alone.
However, despite the toll that Covid-19 has taken on the sector, there are some signals that the market is beginning to recover. ONS data shows an upward trend in the number of workers returning to their usual place of employment now that lockdown restrictions have been lifted. And with more employers travelling to work at their usual workplaces, there is likely to be an increase in demand for cleaning services at workplaces, on transport and in homes.
Another positive signal is the reported increase in demand for services in the sector. 14% of businesses reported a surge in demand, which is higher than the national average at 10%. This is likely due to non-essential businesses opening up after lockdown restrictions ended.
Over 130,000 people have been vaccinated against Covid in the first week. And as more of the population are vaccinated, we are likely to see businesses reopen at an increased rate, prompting a further increase in demand for cleaning services.
As businesses attempt to reopen in line with government advice around Covid-secure workplaces, business leaders will likely call upon expert cleaning teams to ensure they are compliant.
Savill’s has also reported an uptick in office premise demand in London and the South East, signalling that some businesses are intending to return to traditional office spaces in 2021. With this return, there is likely to be an increased demand for commercial cleaning services once again.