Flexible cleaning strategies for fluctuating building occupancy

Flexible cleaning strategies for fluctuating building occupancy

  • March 17, 2022
  • in Blog
  • 100

With the UK’s vaccination roll-out in full flow, and COVID-19 restrictions lifted, offices are slowly getting populated again, with the IWG expecting occupancy rates to get back to pre-pandemic levels by the middle of 2022[1]. SBFM explores what the post-pandemic office may look like and the impact on cleaning and hygiene practices.

Following prolonged periods of working from home, and hybrid operations, the nation’s corporations are expected to ramp-up the return to the workplace. But with shifting worker attitudes, and against a backdrop of shifting COVID-19 constraints, economic changes, and technological development, the traditional office is unlikely to operate the way it did before.

As a result, when businesses search for their next commercial cleaning partner, they’ll have a new set of demands.  

Varying occupancy

The global pandemic has established new ways of working. Research has found that, globally, 40% of employees want more flexible working practices, including options for working from home and part-time working[2]. Similarly the CIPD’s Embedding new ways of working post-pandemic report revealed, while 65% of employers either did not offer regular working from home at all before the pandemic – or offered it to 10% or less of their workforce – that figure is expected to fall dramatically to 37% after the crisis[3].

For most organisations, the introduction of hybrid or flexible working will result in fluctuating occupancies in their buildings. This will require a significant shift in ways of working, but also the need to establish new, more flexible cleaning practices.

SBFM will use its extensive experience of corporate cleaning to bring greater control of services in critical areas. By creating a detailed profile of office activity against cleaning needs, we can deliver a highly tailored solution for cleaning resource and activity, closely mapped to the nuances of your operational requirements at each building.

This means that cleaning practices will be shaped to your needs, and delivered based upon need and level of use, occupancy rates, and areas identified as requiring cleaning due to high usage or levels of footfall, rather than by simply following standard, routine cleaning schedules.

To better optimise staff scheduling and cleaning operations, we use leading edge footfall analytics and data insights to determine building occupancy levels at all times. With insight into your business’s foot traffic trends, our cleaning teams can be better equipped to match staff and resource supply with customer and operation demands.

Highly accurate footfall technologies count people entering or exiting your office building and track occupant behaviour while in work, providing critical insights into how to improve cleaning operations and schedules. Data collected can be used to predict traffic flow, the busiest periods, as well as high footfall hotspots to establish effective cleaning schedules at the most appropriate times.

Whether you require cleaning outside opening hours, daytime cleaning and support options, or specialised COVID-19 services, we have you covered.

Safety first

Unsurprisingly given recent events, employee safety will be a top priority for organisations moving forward. Some 74% of UK businesses said they would be placing a greater focus on health and safety in the workplace[4].

Government regulations are going some way to ensuring enterprises adopt caution when it comes to employee wellbeing, but with 75% of UK businesses having implemented their own procedures and controls beyond government guidance, it seems many organisations are going above and beyond to protect staff.

Considering office cleanliness was listed as a top concern for employees returning to the office by a Bupa Health Clinics study, effective cleaning regimes are imperative. With a range of specialist cleaning and disinfectant services available, SBFM are here to ensure your premises meet the cleanliness and hygiene standards required.

Our high-quality cleaning services are designed to mitigate risk and safeguard the welfare of building occupants. By equipping our experienced cleaning teams with the latest in specialist cleaning products and technology, we effectively protect against microbial infection and maintain a heightened level of hygiene in your buildings.

Such a high level of protection is delivered via anti-microbial disinfectant fogging to disinfect large areas and rapidly clean multiple surfaces, proven infection control techniques that provide a 30-day protective shield against COVID-19 and other pathogens, and much more.

As an added layer of protection, we also provide a full premise deep clean to BICSc standards, with an increased focus on touchpoints and areas with high volumes of footfall and interaction.

Consider collaboration

In what CBRE call the ‘hotelisation of office space’, open plan, glass-walled offices with social areas are already establishing themselves as the norm. But as workers and employers call for greater collaborative space within offices – as individuals return following prolonged periods of isolated home working – places where colleagues can interact and work closely together in teams will likely grow in prominence.

As traditional desk layouts are replaced by hot-desking, larger coworking activity-based working spaces and more relaxed breakout areas, cleaning practices must adapt too. In the new collaborative landscape organisations will need to be more diligent with respect to the cleaning of high-touch surfaces, the frequent sanitising of shared work areas and centralised waste diversion.

This may require changes in cleaning frequency including daytime shift patterns and the adoption of high-tech equipment to improve the hygiene, safety and appearance of collaborative offices.

All of this can be achieved with the support of an experienced commercial cleaning partner, such as SBFM. To reduce your costs, improve standards and offer greater transparency we grade buildings and areas within them, delivering appropriate standards and targeted cleaning for critical areas. The result is a seamless balance of quality, reliability, cost-effectiveness and transparency.

To find out how SBFM can support and guide you on your journey to reoccupying your office space, contact our expert team or visit our Corporate Cleaning page at https://sb-fm.co.uk/corporate-cleaning/


[1] https://ukinvestormagazine.co.uk/iwg-says-office-occupancy-rates-will-rebound-as-world-shifts-to-hybrid-models/

[2] https://www.kcl.ac.uk/giwl/assets/New-ways-of-working.pdf

[3] https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/flexible-working/planning-hybrid-working

[4] https://www.knightfrank.co.uk/office-space/insights/culture-and-space/6-things-uk-businesses-want-from-office-space