New room for housekeeping in the FM budget
With many offices still shut and employees working remotely, with reopened facilities still struggling to inspire confidence in visitors, the thrust of facility management has shifted from being distributed among a range of functions like security and dining to just one crucial function — housekeeping. Traditionally, this aspect of FM has not been the prime focus. With housekeeping now at the forefront of FM, have FM companies finally focussed on budgeting for cleaning extensively? Where have expenses reduced or increased? How will things stabilise in the future?
Having said that, what should be the approximate percentage increase in the housekeeping spend post-pandemic. Haraprasad Panda, President – Corporate Services, Kapston Facilities Management, explains, The mass adoption of remote working technology has increased to an all-time high. This will open the door for the fourth Industrial Revolution, including even more emphasis on robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data analytics and unmanned vehicles. Keeping all these points in view, there will be around 15% more fund allocation towards housekeeping, considering the additional burden of sanitisers and increased usage of toiletries. But industries will try to restrict the budget hike within 5-7% by squeezing of manpower, which will gradually come down in days to come.”
Housekeeping budgets will also need to include skilled manpower to implement and execute the housekeeping programmes. Which again is an inevitable investment. “There is a significant change in skill levels required, along with consumables/toiletries for maintaining hygiene.”
On the other end, client companies engaging FM services have largely added cleaning in the administration budget over the past two decades; A mindset that has arrested the growth of professional cleaning in the FM domain. Will the mindset of the clients change to accommodate housekeeping as a separate vertical in the budgetary plan? Would 2% allocation suffice?
Panda expects to see a marginal hike of up to 2-4% on overall housekeeping spend on hygiene to ensure employees can come back to office. “This will definitely open doors for better utilisation of man hours.”
However, there is a line of doubt where further investments on housekeeping sends are concerned owning to the lack of business over the past months. On a positive note, Panda feels that technological evolution will help ensure that the additional amount spent on hygiene is compensated for in some way. A more scientific approach in deployment of manpower, and an SLA driven approach will evolve.
“Covid 19 has opened the eyes of industries to look for more mechanised/skilled manpower. I feel uncertainty, safety of workforce and business continuity are the biggest challenges of this period. As the pandemic resets major work trends, more than 30% of organizations are now replacing full-time employees with contingent workers as a cost-saving measure, thus outsourcing and staffing solution businesses will have the upper hand in the days to come. Apart from contingent worker expansion, a few other major changes will be increase in organization complexity, transition from designing for efficiency to designing for resilience, expanded employer role as social safety net, separation of critical skills and roles and an increase in remote working,” Panda adds.