The pandemic has brought with it a strange dichotomy; the intensity and thoroughness of cleaning has been increased across the board, but the area that needs to be cleaned has shrunk. Many if not most employees still work from home, and offices are catering to a skeletal staff which occupies only a small area. Apart from hospitals and hotels, footfall in non-office facilities has been slow to pick up; consequently, the demand for commercial cleaning has dropped.
In the present scenario, one major component that needs to be relooked in the FM space is housekeeping/maintaining cleanliness & hygiene. Please explain.
From ‘Good to Have’, it has become a ‘Very essential’ service. We have moved to a service that impacts businesses, and therefore the criticality of the service provided has become paramount. As a service partner, we are expected to understand the criticality and pivot around to deliver for this new expectation.
“The spends on soft services are different for different industry types, from IT/ITes to pharma and healthcare. We can expect a spend between INR 3.5 to INR 8 per sq ft, depending upon the industry type.”
Managing Director, DTSS
When it comes to budget allocation for FM services (soft), is there a percentage in place? In the new normal, what should be the ideal spend for maintaining cleanliness & hygiene? Why?
The spends on soft services are different for different industry types, from IT/ITes to pharma and healthcare. We can expect a spend between INR 3.5 to INR 8 per sq ft, depending upon the industry type. The spends will not change much, but the delivery efficiency is undergoing a vast change.
In which segments do you see a drastic change in cleaning services and why?
All segments are seeing this shift, whether they are shop floors, hospital beds or IT work desks. All high-touch points with end users of the space are very critical. Any slippage on our part can put a halt to business on the shop floor.
What new technologies have you adopted to provide cost-effective, safe and quality services?
Digitising the workplace by using QR codes, beacons and sensors, we have made a large part of our operation transparent, self-supervising and efficient. We are able to predict the requirement of services and provide these on-demand with these tools.
In which areas of FM do you see the need for digitisation? And a corresponding spend?
The spend is at an enterprise level and the cost to the end customer is fairly on a Service as a Software (SaaS) model. It is ‘Pay as you Use’ and there is no requirement for heavy capex spends on the platforms.
If we were to put a percentage to the allocation for cleaning in a corporate budget, how much would it be?
This is fairly a variable cost, depending on the space we are maintaining.