Cleaning and disinfecting – for some, this is everyday work and yet they are not appreciated.
‘Clean and disinfect your environment more often’, goes the good advice. It’s easy to accomplish this in our 50-m2 flat but have you given a thought of how big an endeavour it is in a 2000-m2 office building or a hospital? At areas of this size, professional cleaners are required, and yet their work is not appreciated enough. The Hungarian Central Statistical Office examined 173 occupations in terms of social prestige according to 5 different aspects: for example how much power or influence they entail, how much one has to learn for them, how useful they are for society, how trendy or appealing they are nowadays. According to the subjective judgement of the respondents, cleaning is among the ten lowest-prestige jobs. It is ranked 163rd coming ahead of only road sweepers, leaflet distributors and unskilled workers.
‘Since last year we have been planning to launch a social sensitivity campaign to make the public aware of the socially indispensable, yet almost invisible, work of cleaners’, said Ferenc Kis-Szölgyémi, CEO of B+N Referencia Zrt.
‘The groundwork had been laid for long months but by the time we were ready, COVID-19 had reached the country. The 45 thousand cleaners in the country have always deserved our heartfelt appreciation, but in these times they deserve it a 100 times more. We employ 4100 cleaners who are doing a great job cleaning transportation vehicles, hospitals and office buildings. The majority of our society take cleanliness for granted but do not appreciate the people who make it happen. With our campaign “Look round and see” we want to show an alternative approach.
There are not enough cleaners
While the situation caused by the pandemic quickly revealed which work requires personal presence, gratitude towards cleaners is still meagre. In a survey conducted by B+N Referencia Zrt., cleaners reported being looked through or not even being said hello to. The lack of social appreciation and prestige contributes to the soaring labor shortage cleaning companies have to cope with.
‘We believe cleaners deserve a lot more than that. Imagine what our world would be like without them. What would we say if nobody emptied the dustbin or disinfect the hospital rooms?’, asks Erika Kókai, Marketing Director of B+N. ‘We have got so used to the order and cleanliness around us that we simply take it for granted and fail to even notice the people who created it. We believe people are indifferent because nobody has shown a good example by appreciating the work cleaners do for us. It is our responsibility to do something about the prestige of this work and to stand up for our cleaners and every cleaner in the country because if everything stays the same, soon nobody is going to be left to clean the country’.