On Monday, March 23, New Zealanders listened with mounting concern as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that New Zealand would move into full lockdown in 48 hours. As many people scrambled to set themselves up to work from home, others were facing a very different situation as they moved to protect the country from the invisible but deadly threat of Covid-19.
That situation, OCS New Zealand managing director Gareth Marriott said, made thanking the country's cleaners more important than ever.
"Like our healthcare professionals, they're on the frontline of New Zealand's Covid-19 response," he said.
"Thank Your Cleaner Day™ tomorrow is a chance to thank the many Kiwis who provide this essential 'invisible' service."
OCS, which he said was New Zealand's biggest facilities management services company, had a network of 3500 frontline cleaners who provided essential services from Kaitaia to Invercargill, and there was no denying the important contribution they made to society.
"This once-invisible workforce of cleaners have become the unsung heroes of the Covid-19 pandemic, alongside supermarket warriors and the extraordinary work done by our health personnel," Marriott said, "bursting their bubbles during lockdown to keep the rest of us safe, deep-cleaning Covid-19-impacted areas and working harder than ever before as we come to terms with the virus and how best to stop the spread.
"We appreciate the work our people do every day, but in 2020 we want to make these hard-working members of our society feel more valued than ever before by the New Zealand public."
Business New Zealand chief executive Kirk Hope also admired the work done by cleaners, which he acknowledged was often challenging.
"From cleaning grubby public facilities to gruesome crime scenes, and of course, recently, deep-cleans of facilities exposed to the Covid-19 virus, I'm sure New Zealand's cleaners have seen it all, and then some," he said.
"I'm 100 per cent behind this initiative, and urge every Kiwi business to step up too – a little thanks costs nothing, but goes a long way to lift the mental wellbeing of one of New Zealand's most diligent workforces."
Thank Your Cleaner Day™ would celebrate the more than 40,000 people in New Zealand who dedicated their working hours to keeping work, recreation and learning environments hygienic, clean, safe and productive, often working unsociable hours in the early morning, late at night and on weekends.
Spearheaded by BSCNZ and Kärcher in New Zealand since 2015, Thank Your Cleaner Day™ had quickly grown into a global celebration of the invaluable contribution cleaners made to communities, BSCNZ CEO Sarah McBride saying it provided the opportunity for people to recognise the essential, hard work that the cleaners of New Zealand undertook daily.
"It is fantastic to see the day continuing to grow and gain momentum as more companies show their support of the day," she said.
For more about Thank Your Cleaner Day™, and to download resources including 'Thank You' cards, go to https://www.ocs.com/nz/responsibility/thank-your-cleaner-day/ or http://www.thankyourcleanerday.co.nz/