A Clean Home and a Clean Conscience

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June 4, 2021

Photo by Andrea Davis

How one local cleaning company is taking on the black market by making it easy for consumers to protect workers.

There’s nothing quite like it. That moment when you first push open your door at the end of a long day and you’re greeted by the breezy scent of clean. You consider making your children sleep on the balcony; wonder how you can eat without touching anything in the kitchen; and preemptively curse the first person to take a shower and carelessly leave water stains on the now glistening faucets.

Yes, today the cleaning service came. And for one brief moment, your life is lavender and citrus scented.

Getting support at home - the right way

Maybe it’s our age or perhaps it’s the pandemic talking, but one of life’s most delightful pleasures is coming home to a pristine apartment that we had no part in cleaning. And as we prepare to return to the office or back to the regular patterns of life, familiar anxieties creep in – how will we find the time to do all the laundry, deep clean the bathrooms, and still have a moment to catch our breaths each evening before the rush starts all over again?

We’re aware of how privileged this sounds, but hiring someone to help us stay on top of this aspect of our lives has always been worth the investment for us. Essentially, we’re paying for time, hours that we can use caring for our children, our spouses, and our friends. Instead of cleaning windows.

But of course, behind the outsourcing of domestic labor resides some serious social issues that cannot be ignored. Hiring domestic help usually means freeing up one person’s time in exchange for another’s. I think we can all agree that we have a responsibility to ensure that everyone in our community is protected from precarity in the job market. This is fundamental to an ethical social contract.

So how can we enjoy the luxury of a clean home with an equally clean conscious? The first step is making sure that anyone we hire is on a contract and has social protections in place.

We were so surprised and impressed when local cleaning Batmaid reached out to us to share their thoughts on the matter. When the company was founded six years ago, its founders put worker protection and customer convenience at the center of their operations, offering an alternative to the black-market solutions that most of us were using up to that point. Customers could be confident that cleaners had social protections without having to deal with drawing up their own individual contracts.

A new model for the post-COVID economy

But when the economy stopped last spring, even this model failed them. After being rejected for reduced working hour requests for their cleaning professionals, Batmaid realized that if they were serious about caring for their employees, they would need to drastically shift their business model.

That’s why starting in January this year, each cleaning professional working for Batmaid has the option of working on a permanent work contract with the company. Essentially, they decided to stop operating only as an intermediary between customers and cleaners and instead to bring the cleaners officially onto their payroll. As CEO Andreas Schollin-Borg explained to us, “by hiring our cleaning professionals, we’re providing them with a reinforced legal framework that offers greater protection and security.”

Black-market work has always been risky, but now that we’ve seen how a crisis like COVID impacts the people working in our homes, we can’t unsee it. We’re really proud to be working with this local company as it pushes further into the idea of combatting the black market and creating a more just and secure community here in Lausanne.

Batmaid is offering TLG readers 20 CHF off their first cleaning. Use TLG20 to take advantage of the offer.

If you’re looking for another way to simplify your life, be sure to check out Batmaid Club. It’s a subscription for biodegradable cleaning products that can be delivered right to your mailbox each month. The packaging is recyclable; all products are made in Europe; and for each product sold, Batmaid has partnered with One Tree Planted to plant a tree.

They’ve also just launched Batmaid Dry, a laundry and dry cleaning service with pick-up and delivery options for customers who have booked a weekly cleaning.

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