Go Back

How Cleanslate Did Not Relax in a Pandemic

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Cleanslate team had no time to relax. Immediately, we sprung into action to determine how to keep our workers safe, while continuing to provide the essential services our neighborhoods counted on.

Back in early March, Cleanslate, our flagship social enterprise, was making plans to broaden our reach into new regional communities while gearing up for a busy Chicago festival season anticipating our crews servicing three dozen events. Just days later, festivals started cancelling and our regular operations were put on pause as a Stay at Home Order was enacted for the state of Illinois and Cleanslate’s operations were suspended.

Immediately, we sprang into action to come up with measures that would keep our Cleanslate crews and staff safe. From ensuring proper sanitation and installing plexiglass in our trucks to reducing crew sizes and putting a hazard pay system in place, we were preparing to re-open safely. We also created an alternate framework to train new crew members in two hours virtually instead of our traditional multi-day in-person training.

After 17 days, Cleanslate was defined as an essential business by the city, and we were back to work. Fortunately, some of our biggest customers committed to pay their full monthly invoice even while we were briefly closed during that short time. Our partners saw Cleanslate as essential to our community.

We were back in action with great hustle and even exceeded our expectations: signing new contracts; expanding our reach to Gary, Indiana; and creating employment opportunities comparable to our pre-pandemic numbers, trending towards 400 jobs for the year.

Two of our Cleanslaters providing essential landscaping services this past spring

“What am I most proud of this year? Obviously the team at Cleanslate,” says Brady Gott, Cleanslate Managing Director. “Since March, our team has made the tough decision to come in every day, follow all of the safety guidelines they helped put in place, and coach and develop our crew members, while also running profitable contracts.”

Cleanslate set high standards that helped our entire enterprise set safety policies and procedures for our other campuses. Without Cleanslate’s quick thinking and immediate action, hundreds of people would be unemployed and the communities we serve wouldn’t get essential landscaping and exterior maintenance care. 

To learn more about how Cleanslate is transforming the physical and social landscapes of Chicago and beyond, visit our website. You can also read more stories about how our participants and the Cara enterprise live out our Transformations every single day.