Companies employing professional cleaners are struggling with labour shortage. The reason for this, among others, is the low social prestige and the general lack of appreciation. In order to make a difference, Hungary’s biggest cleaning and facility management company, B+N Referencia Zrt. has launched a social sensitivity campaign.
‘Since last year we have been planning to launch a social sensitivity campaign to make the public aware of the socially indispensable, yet almost invisible, work of cleaners’, said Ferenc Kis-Szölgyémi, CEO of B+N Referencia Zrt., Hungary’s biggest cleaning and facility management company. The groundwork had been laid for long months but by the time we were ready, COVID-19 had reached the country. ‘The 45 thousand cleaners in the county have always deserved our heartfelt appreciation, but in these times they deserve it a 100 times more. We employ 4100 cleaners who are doing a great job cleaning transportation vehicles, hospitals and office buildings. The majority of our society take cleanliness for granted but do not appreciate the people who make it happen. With our campaign “Look round and see” we want to show an alternative approach.
Do we only notice the mistakes?
Cleanliness can easily be seen as a default setting, therefore we tend to notice even the slightest mistakes cleaners make and pass quick judgements accordingly. However, based on professional cleaners’ accounts we know that wherever they are, whether in an office building, a hospital or on a train carriage, how we leave a premise makes a huge difference. If we don’t take our stuff from the table, if we don’t throw the litter into the bin, if we spill something but don’t report it, it takes way longer for them to clean up after us. Beside general cleaning, disinfection is now part of the daily routine: in addition to the compulsory surfaces they sanitize everything we might get in contact with, even the smallest things, like door handles and knobs.
‘It is cleaners who make our everyday life comfortable. What would we say if what we left in the evening would still be there when we get back to work next morning?’, asks B+N Head of Marketing Erika Kókai. ‘We have got used to the order and cleanliness around us so much that we simply take it for granted but fail to notice the people who make that happen. It is our responsibility to increase the public appreciation of this profession because if everything stays the same, soon nobody is going to be left to clean the country.’
Who wants to be a cleaner?
In most people’s head those who failed to pursue their education, which is far from the truth. The majority of cleaners do this work out of passion, whatsmore, there are many who commute from the countryside to the city every day for making a stable living. They are not ashamed of their work, but what hurts them is when they are looked down on or when people look through them as if they were invisible. They deserve better. Professional cleaning requires more than a bucket of water and a mop: a cleaner needs to have sufficient knowledge about the chemicals they use, have good physical condition, be reliable, (as cleaning is often a matter of trust) and have the expertise to handle the machinery.