Commercial Cleaning, Cleaning Automation Tue, Apr 7, '20
How the Global Pandemic is Accelerating Adoption of Automation in Commercial Cleaning

A Surge in Demand for Automation 

As the global coronavirus pandemic situation continues to unfold, many industries are experiencing the need to adapt at breakneck speeds to keep pace with unprecedented levels of demand. Automation projects that were once long-term, strategic initiatives have been pushed to the forefront, driven by necessity. 

Emerging automation technologies are seeing a surge in adoption rates as businesses are forced to get creative to solve mission-critical challenges in record time despite worker shortages. Manufacturers are ramping up automation of production lines; meanwhile, hotels and restaurants are piloting service robots for “contactless” deliveries. 

Commercial Cleaning Industry is No Exception 

The commercial cleaning industry, already suffering from a tight labor market and staff shortages, is no exception. As an industry, commercial cleaning has reached the tipping point--where the demands on cleaning now require automation. Cleaning companies are seeing their available workforce shrink further amid shelter-in-place orders, self-isolation, and illness-related absences. Meanwhile, staff that do report to work must still observe social distancing best practices, which can make daily cleaning tasks a challenge as staff members limit contact with other building occupants. 

At the same time as commercial cleaning companies are scrambling for resources and working to comply with increasingly strict policies, the demand for thorough, consistent cleaning has reached an all-time high. Feeling the squeeze on all sides, commercial cleaning companies are turning into high gear to immediately adopt automated cleaning technologies that were once projects for the distant future. 

Below are 4 ways automation is making an immediate impact for commercial cleaning companies: 

Whiz Cleaning Solutions Guide

1. Automation Fills Gaps in Labor Shortages 

Robotic cleaning technologies are augmenting the human workforce and filling gaps caused by illness-related absences.  A robot can “report” to work even when their human counterparts are forced to stay home. While robots do not replace the human attention needed for detail cleaning work, robots can offload an enormous portion of the monotonous daily tasks like vacuuming so that staff that are still able to work have the time to focus on deep cleaning and disinfection tasks. 

2. Automation Increases Quality 

In the midst of a public health crisis, the need for high cleanliness standards cannot be overstated. Autonomous cleaning technologies clean consistently and effectively every time.  For example, once deployed, a robotic vacuum sweeper will consistently vacuum carpets completely and thoroughly; it won’t cut corners, miss or skip areas, or spot clean. The results are high quality, repeatable, and reliable.

3. Automation Increases Efficiency 

Autonomous cleaning technologies also enable cleaning companies to operate more efficiently by freeing up staff time to do other tasks. With automated robotic “coworkers,” cleaning crews can complete more tasks and maintain extremely high levels of quality in the same amount of time, even with limited personnel.   

4. Automation Supports Social Distancing

Each person added to a cleaning shift increases the risk of exposure; adding a robot to your crew does not. By leveraging robots, cleaning crews can limit the number of people that must be present for each shift, thereby limiting the risks of exposure and transmission. This allows cleaning companies to follow social distancing guidelines without sacrificing cleaning quality.


While the adoption is driven by necessity now, the changes we’re seeing today will forever change the game for commercial cleaning. Now is the time to make smart technology decisions to keep pace with the market and deliver industry-leading solutions to your customers.  And it doesn’t have to be an enormous upfront investment. Some autonomous cleaning solutions like Whiz, the commercial robot vacuum from Softbank Robotics developed in partnership with Brain OS and ICE Robotics, are available with a subscription model, allowing you to cost-effectively pilot the solution in your facilities. 

For more information, please join us for our upcoming webinar on April 16: How Automation Helps You Meet the Uncharted Demands of a Pandemic. In this webinar, Kass Dawson (Head of Strategy, SoftBank Robotics), Jon Hill (Co-Founder, LaserClean Systems), and Mark Warner (Education Manager, ISSA) will share how automation can help you meet the increased demands placed on you now and in a post-pandemic world. These industry leaders will answer your questions in real-time while diving into how to meet the new expectations of clean and maintain the health and safety of employees.