Prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, custodians primarily performed their duties with little notice, often at night or after regular business hours. The pandemic, though, which led to enhanced cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting practices, put custodians in the spotlight, and for the past year, they have been ardent protectors of consumer health and safety.
Early in the pandemic, GP PRO recognized that custodians were, in fact, front line workers in the fight against COVID-19. Wondering if the sentiment was widespread outside of the facility management industry, GP PRO conducted a consumer survey in June 2020. In that survey, 56% of respondents said their perception of custodians had increased since the start of the pandemic.
Image source: Georgia-Pacific
At the time, Michelle Auda, senior director of insights with GP PRO, applauded the survey findings, noting that custodians are “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.”
Now one year into the coronavirus’ global outbreak, COVID caution fatigue has gained momentum amid the ebb and flow of virus-related restrictions and closings. At the same time, media reports share touching stories of parents and students organizing gift bags for school custodians, business owners thanking their office custodians on social media, and car parades celebrating custodian retirements and birthdays.
This juxtaposition led GP PRO to wonder if consumer sentiment toward custodians was still elevated or if vigilance burn-out was potentially causing it to drop. According to a February 2021 GP PRO survey, 55% of respondents still perceive custodians more highly than they did at the pandemic’s start.
“Hurray for custodians and all those incredibly hardworking men and women who are maintaining schools, hospitals, office buildings, and all facilities during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” said Auda. “These individuals are among the most deserving of our recognition and gratitude as they continue to put themselves on the frontlines to help ensure our safety. This pandemic at times seems never-ending, so it’s incredibly uplifting that many consumers still value those who are helping us all make it through.”