Taking on new challenges – from cooking to cleaning


When coronavirus shut down restaurants, Jari Kallioinen, who has worked in kitchens for decades, adapted to the situation and took up cleaning – finding the positive in extraordinary circumstances. 

Restaurants closed their doors one after the other. The exceptional conditions caused by the coronavirus led to the closure not only of private restaurants but also of some ISS restaurant services. Like many other restaurant workers around the world, Jari Kallioinen, who worked as a chef, was suddenly out of work.

But before the emergency could affect his livelihood, ISS called with an offer. How would he like temporary work as a cleaner in a food industry power plant? Jari was used to cleaning workspaces, but instead of countertops in the kitchen, he would clean broad surfaces and large floor areas in the power plant halls.

“ISS offered me replacement work as a cleaner. I thought right away that I'm ready to try something new. At the same time, my commute was significantly reduced, as the new job is only three kilometres from my home,” Jari says.

Cleanliness is half the battle

Jari, who has done kitchen work of various kinds since 1984, started his career at ISS in 2005, when friends recommended the company to him. He’s worked as a chef and head chef, always enjoying the cooking itself and the social element of the job.

“I have been very happy with ISS. It’s a big company and offers opportunities to move from one place to another. Not only from kitchen to kitchen, but also between positions. It offers many career opportunities.”

The transition from cooking to cleaning resulted from the exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus and was surprisingly easy.

“I’ve always appreciated cleaning, because hygiene is half the battle in cooking, and you must always clean up after yourself as a cook.”


ISS is a big company and offers opportunities to move from one place to another. Not only from kitchen to kitchen, but also between positions.

Jari Kallioinen, ISS Finland

Before starting his new job, Jari received a day-long intensive orientation on the tasks he would be doing, the safety measures required, and the customer account. The orientation was a quick introduction to the demands of the new position, and he has learned more on the job. And his new colleagues were welcoming and supportive.


Jari is likely to have a few more months of work as a cleaner before returning to the kitchen. Because he’s open to new challenges, he’s learning a lot from professional cleaners.


“Initiative is key in this job, as you work independently. Between shift changes in the coffee room, we have a chat and I can ask the cleaning professionals for further tips on how to do the work.”


Learning by doing


Despite the change of job, Jari’s working hours have remained the same. His day begins at 6 am and ends early in the afternoon. The biggest difference is in the nature of the work. Whereas kitchen work involves close collaboration, as a cleaner Jari does his job independently.


“This is a job you can learn a lot in, and the importance of cleaning has become even clearer to me. Hygiene has become even more important due to the coronavirus pandemic, and is essential for keeping the wheels turning in factories and other workplaces.” 


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