Cleaning and hygiene in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic remains crucial moving forward

13 June 2022: Cleaning and Hygiene – The lifting of the national state of disaster and the relaxation of strict Covid-19 restrictions has inspired millions of employees to return to the office, but that does not negate the importance of maintaining strict cleaning and hygiene practises, says Servest’s Interim Managing Director – Servest Cleaning, Billy […]

Share with:


13 June 2022: Cleaning and Hygiene The lifting of the national state of disaster and the relaxation of strict Covid-19 restrictions has inspired millions of employees to return to the office, but that does not negate the importance of maintaining strict cleaning and hygiene practises, says Servest’s Interim Managing Director – Servest Cleaning, Billy Wiggill.

Maintaining cleanliness, minimising physical contact with high-traffic surfaces and disinfecting exposed places was stressed at the height of the pandemic after scientists discovered that the Covid-19 virus can survive for extended periods on exposed surfaces such as tabletops, door handles, or even on packing materials.

According to Sarah Cobey, an epidemiologist at the University of Chicago, “The Covid-19 virus is here to stay. The question is, how do we live with it safely?”, Wiggill says

People, companies and organisations are not to be lulled into a false belief that Covid-19 is behind us as the virus has proven to mutate into different variants, Wiggill cautions. He urges people and organisations to sustain the momentum of maintaining clean and hygienic environments for the sake of their employees and families.

“Effective cleaning and hygiene protocols are not negotiable. As much as the state of disaster has been lifted, Covid-19 is still a reality and remains a very serious threat, particularly to individuals who are at high risk. Businesses need to ensure that they have a structured cleaning and hygiene programme in place to mitigate the dangers. We must not underestimate the dangers and adopt a careless attitude towards Covid-19,” He warns.

To mitigate against potential infection resulting from increased traffic in workspaces, Wiggil points out that Servest has implemented increased disinfection processes and regimes in the built environment to minimise potential infections from high touchpoint areas.

“Daily routine cleaning schedules have been adjusted to ensure that high risk areas are serviced more frequently, providing peace of mind to our clients and colleagues. We have also adjusted the daily cleaning patterns for our clients, based on the occupancy levels of the workplace to ensure increased cleaning protocols as required by the occupancy levels.”

He points out that, in addition to mortality rates caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory illnesses and cardiovascular diseases render many employees who have returned to the office susceptible to Covid-19 infection; and it remains crucial for companies to continue following routine sanitation and to follow Covid-19 protocols to minimise the risk of the spread of the virus in workspaces.

The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) says non-communicable diseases contribute significantly to the disease burden in South Africa. “In the most unequal of societies in the world, poverty and socio-economic disparity are among the greatest obstacles facing South Africans, impacting heavily on health care,” the SAMRC says. The World Health Organisation (WHO) attributed an estimated 41 million deaths globally to non-communicable diseases and reported that non-communicable diseases are among the top 10 causes of mortality in South Africa.

Wiggill notes that the heightened importance of cleaning and hygienic services, which has been precipitated by the Covid-19 outbreak, has been encouraging and it will go a long way towards instilling preventative healthcare.

“Prior to the pandemic, cleaning and hygiene services were considered a ‘grudge’ purchase and were not viewed as an important life-saving function. Since the global impact of the pandemic, cleaning and hygiene services are being viewed as the primary mechanism to ensure that public spaces and the built environment are adequately cleaned and sanitised in order to provide protection and mitigate the chances of being infected with the Covid-19 virus. There is a greater awareness of the importance of having a structured cleaning and hygiene programme to combat the pandemic and provide peace of mind.” he says.

Facilities management companies such as Servest were hard hit by Covid-19 outbreak. According to South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA), office vacancy rates stood at 11% as at Q3:2019, coupled with diminishing business confidence, which has seen the office sector perform poorly in recent years.

Wiggill concedes that Servest was hit hard by the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown but points out that the company learnt valuable lessons from this experience.

“The Covid-19 pandemic taught us to not take anything for granted and that in a situation completely beyond your control, you have to have a robust and determined response. The pandemic allowed Servest to demonstrate our ability to respond to an extremely challenging event by taking a leading role in advising and guiding the appropriate responses to the pandemic,” he concludes.

Share with:


How to keep workspaces safe and hygienic

Some quick example text to build on the card title and make up the bulk of the card's content.

Read more

Five ways industrial cleaning can make a sweeping impact

Some quick example text to build on the card title and make up the bulk of the card's content.

Read more

Deep cleaning for a healthy, thriving business

Some quick example text to build on the card title and make up the bulk of the card's content.

Read more