Survey: Custodians Regarded More Highly in COVID-19 Era
Custodians are being recognized for performing tasks that are critical to health and wellbeing
Cleaning professionals have taken on a critical new role since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic—with responsibilities extending far beyond cleaning to now include keeping Americans healthy and safe when they venture outside of their homes. Recent media coverage has noted that, in response, children are sending janitors handmade thank you cards, and a hospital patient even credited his housekeeper with saving his life.
A new consumer survey shows that those acts of kindness and recognition are indication of a larger, widespread change in perception and empathy for cleaning industry workers. The survey, conducted by restroom products manufacturer GP PRO, a division of Georgia-Pacific, found that 56% of respondents said they regard custodians more highly than they did before COVID-19 began impacting the U.S.
Michelle Auda, senior director of Insights, GP PRO’s internal research team, said, “Historically, janitors completed their work more or less in the shadows without much notice. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, however, these hardworking men and women are now front and center, performing tasks that are critical to our wellbeing, battling threats we cannot see, and giving us the peace of mind to resume many of our regular daily activities.
“It’s encouraging that, as evidenced by our research, more than half of consumers are taking notice, stating that their perception of janitors has increased since the pandemic began. As COVID-19 continues to lead to new behaviors, threats, and related emotions, I believe it’s more important than ever to empathize with others, especially our frontline workers, to gain new understanding and appreciation. I anticipate that as we continue to navigate this pandemic, consumer empathy for and perception of janitors, who are critical frontline workers, will grow even more.”