Supermarket chain Tesco has announced that it is to stop contracting out cleaning in about 1,000 of its stores in favour of in-house cleaning by store employees.
Supermarket chain Tesco has announced that it is to stop contracting out cleaning in about 1,000 of its stores. In-house cleaning by store employees is set to start on 24 August in the company’s 1,920 Convenience Metro and Express stores.
Tesco employees will take on the cleaning of floors, windows, shelves, fridges, department equipment and ‘colleague facilities’. More specialist cleaning activities, such as external high sign / window cleaning and pressure washing, will continue to be provided by third-party suppliers.
In-house means ‘better’ standards
All store employees will receive training to ensure that cleaning standards are the highest they can be, and store budgets will be increased to account for the additional time needed to complete them.
The retailing giant said that it expects to invest more hours to cleaning in stores as a result of the change. It plans to split the work between all store employees as it does with other roles in its convenience stores. That said, the company added, employees would not be forced to perform any role they don’t want to.
A Tesco spokesperson said: “For our customers and colleagues alike, the cleanliness of our stores has never been more important. Currently, we use third-party suppliers for cleaning. Following a successful trial, we have found that giving our stores more ownership and control over their cleaning results in better and more consistent standards.”
“Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of providing hygienic workplace environments”
Raj Krishnamurthy, CEO at Freespace by Workplace Fabric, told Facilitate: “Across all industry sectors, from retail to large corporate buildings, Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of providing hygienic workplace environments to ensure good health and wellbeing.”
“Simply increasing cleaning frequencies isn’t going to be enough to resolve ‘hygiene anxiety”, said Krishnamurthy. “Plus, this tactic will put too much strain on an already stretched workforce in this particular area.”
What is required, and what companies were more likely to enact, is “a more targeted and on-demand approach that’s visible to employees and customers”.
Effects of Covid-19
Facilities management consultant John Bowen commented: “I am aware generally of concerns about cleaners who may work at multiple locations, either for the same employer or as a second job. They do tend to be amongst the lower-paid people so it is not surprising if they do have more than one job, nor that a single employer may wish to use them at more than one site for efficiency.”
He added: “Equally cleaners are entitled to their days off and there are times when these will be covered by a cleaner from another location.
“We know that part of the care homes problem with Covid-19 has been people moving between sites, so I can understand if there is a concern about cleaners for the same reasons. Another point of view is that taking work in-house gives direct control, in fact you turn the arguments for outsourcing around and look at them from the opposite direction.
“Outsourcing done well is fine, but when it is not, benefits vanish quickly. The Tesco decision could be for several reasons. Covid-19 has had a massive impact and we don’t yet know the full impact as businesses fight to keep going.”