How the Pandemic Has Impacted the Jan/San Industry

Pollock Orora is aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread effects across industries worldwide. While the majority of those effects can be considered negative, a silver lining is emerging along several fronts. One of the sectors positively impacted by COVID-19 is the janitorial and sanitation industry.


Prior to the pandemic, cleaning services were already on the uprise. While trends in occupations nationwide were expected to grow by 5%, the growth rate for cleaning and janitorial services was anticipated to have a 7% growth rate from the 2018 total of 2.15 million co-workers.

During the pandemic

During the pandemic, the general public became rightfully fixated on the virus’s spread. Surfaces once thought to be benign, such as cardboard and stainless steel, were found to harbor the COVID-19 virus for 24-72 hours, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Keeping in mind that a significantly depleted workforce was available as frontline workers, it is no wonder they could not find ample time to wipe down surfaces after every customer interaction.

Many organizations, from retail to motel to healthcare, turned to commercial janitorial businesses to meet the growing need for virus-free surfaces, with many industries demanding hospital grade antiseptics and disinfectants.

Cleaning services noted a tremendous upswing in services – ZipRecruiter noted a 75% increase in the sheer number of ads for sanitation technicians – and custodial technicians became one of the world’s most important members of the workforce.

While most of the world’s population was quarantined, custodial and sanitation workers worked tirelessly, cleaning not only surfaces that may or may not have been contaminated, but within hospitals and clinics where positive cases of COVID-19 were rampant.

Short on supplies

Like most other businesses across the globe, the supply chain affected sanitation and custodial businesses. With demand geared toward higher-grade antimicrobial cleaning, the sheer amount of cleaning products was stretched, and prices are still hovering from 10% to 600% above pre-pandemic levels.

Cleaner buildings

While the rate of COVID-19 cases is finally decelerating, the thoroughness of cleaning is predicted to be a permanent fixture. Many scientists believe the coronavirus will be categorized much like measles or chickenpox, where the illness is still present and can cause extreme illness if the greater part of the world’s population is not vaccinated. Thorough disinfecting is a crucial part of lowering cases of COVID-19.

In retrospect, many jan/san companies realize the importance of cross-training their co-workers, thinking outside the box, communicating with both internal and external customers, and using technology advantageously.

An example of the role of technology in the jan/san industry is no-touch paper towel and hand soap dispensers. These dispensers are now electronically monitored so a remote co-worker is notified if supply runs low without having to be on site to check levels.

Supply chain issues

The pandemic also proved weaknesses in the supply chain. To mitigate supply chain breaks, sanitation industries are creating new products with varied – and often non toxic – chemical components sourced from more reliable companies. Also, rather than relying on 1-2 sources for supplies, many companies are spreading the resources to a wider swath of manufacturers. Even with reliable sources, raw materials will continue to be the largest supply chain breaker in the future.

Sustainability moves

Climate change was highlighted during the COVID-19 lockdown since scientists noted a tremendous uptick on the health of the Earth when humans no longer traversed the world in carbon-spewing vehicles. This trend continues as Earth-friendly products are mass marketed. Companies hiring external jan/san co-workers anticipate sustainable and/or green products will be used to clean and sanitize.

Pollock Orora is here to help your business thrive in a safe, sanitary environment. Give our professional co-workers a call today, and we’ll help you make SOLVED happen.