COPENHAGEN, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Companies are likely to need less office space in the coming years as homeworking looks set to continue beyond the pandemic but will face pressure to spend more on cleaning, the head of Danish services group ISS said on Wednesday.
Denmark’s ISS, one of the world’s biggest private employers, has seen demand for disinfection and deep cleaning services rise during the pandemic, a change that according to Chief Executive Jacob Aarup-Andersen will be permanent.
“I can’t imagine a CEO in a year or two saying they will go back to cleaning the office twice a week. The employees simply won’t accept it,” he said in an interview.
He expects office space globally to shrink by 10%-15% over the next three years, as a result of people working more from home.
“When people return to the office, they expect a workplace that is more focused on the employee experience, because the alternative is to stay at home,” said Aarup-Andersen, who joined ISS three months ago from Danske Bank.
The company introduced so-called ‘hygiene stewards’ this year to clean and disinfect workplaces during the day and advise people returning to the office on hygiene such as how to disinfect your mobile phone.
“Many of our customers tell us they struggle with employee satisfaction, productivity and innovation when people work from home,” said Aarup-Andersen. “So it’s important to create an attractive workplace that will lure people back to the office.”
The Copenhagen-based company, which delivers services such as cleaning, catering, security and call centres to more than 200,000 clients in 63 countries, said in a strategy update on Wednesday that it will strengthen its focus on big corporate clients in fewer markets.
It will also invest more in technology such as cleaning robots and sensors that help target cleaning of desks and meeting rooms.
Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen Editing by Alexandra Hudson