Supermarket chain Tesco has said it will stop contracting out cleaning in about 1,000 of its stores by taking the service in-house.
In-house cleaning by store employees will start on 24 August in its 1,920 Convenience Metro and Express stores.
Colleagues will take on the cleaning of floors and windows, shelves and fridges, department equipment and colleague facilities. More specialist tasks, such as external high sign/window cleaning and pressure washing, will continue to be provided by third-party suppliers.
All colleagues 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 it expects to invest more hours to cleaning in stores as a result of the change.
It plans to split the work between all colleagues, as it does all other roles in its convenience stores, it said. Colleagues will not be forced to perform any role they don’t want to, it added.
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.”
Raj Krishnamurthy, CEO at Freespace, told Facilitate that "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".
He said: "Simply increasing cleaning frequencies isn't going to be enough to resolve ‘hygiene anxiety’, plus this tactic will put too much strain on an already stretched workforce in this particular area."
He added that companies were likely to enact "a more targeted and on-demand approach that’s visible to employees and customers" which is what is required.
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