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Posted by Glenn Cleaning, July 02, 2021
The Coronavirus is not going anywhere any time soon, even as vaccines are being rolled out and lockdown restrictions eased. We all still need to remain vigilant in order to keep everyone safe as COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for up to five days. This pandemic will also very likely have many long-lasting effects on how we view viruses and the precautions we take against them, as we’ve already discussed on this blog.
Today, we’ll talk you through some of the precautions we can all take in our workplaces to keep them more hygienic. This will help protect people against the spread of not only COVID-19 but also any number of other viruses from the common cold to norovirus, with many of these precautions being suitable for adoption in the long term.
The simplest way to limit the spread of viruses is reducing the number of people at the workplace at any given time. You can also stagger arrival and exit times and establish separate entrances and exits so people don’t come into contact with each other as much. You can also stagger lunch breaks and ask people to stay at their workstations as much as possible.
Even after everyone can return to the workplace, this doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone should in the first instance – at least not full-time.
Offering those who can work from home the ability to continue doing so at least some of the time will help limit the number of people in the office at any given time and hopefully help those feeling nervous about returning to the workplace be more comfortable when they do so. Increased remote work is most likely here to stay as people have experienced the benefits of working from home over the past year.
Hands are the number one spreader of germs, but many people don’t wash their hands for long enough to make them safe. That’s why it’s important to reduce touching items as much as possible and properly disinfecting things that get touched often, such as light switches and railings, several times a day. Propping doors open will help avoid people touching door handles. You might also want to consider installing screens and barriers, especially if your staff comes into contact with the general public.
Like we mentioned above, frequently-touched items should be disinfected multiple times a day, which is why you need to provide your employees with items to help them disinfect their environment even if you have contract cleaners coming in most days of the week.
Providing disinfectant wipes, microfibre cloths and isopropyl alcohol and encouraging everyone to use them throughout the day can really cut down on the bugs in your work environment between visits from your cleaners. You could set up a cleaning station where your employees can bring items in order to disinfect them throughout the day. Make sure you also provide a bottle of hand sanitiser next to all frequently-touched items like the printer as well as by the entrance and exit.
Like we already mentioned, it’s important to disinfect frequently-touched items, and this includes your workstation – especially if your workplace practices hotdesking (though we’d recommend this be reduced as much as possible right now). Your contract cleaning crew will clean desks when they come in, but you still need to make sure to disinfect items on your desk, especially those that you touch frequently, as well as keeping your desk as clear as possible so your cleaners can easily clean it.
For cleaning any electronics, make sure that you unplug them first. Before disinfecting, make sure items are clear of dust, as this will make the disinfection more effective. Don’t spray anything directly onto electronics, but rather, onto a soft microfibre cloth. 70% isopropyl alcohol and chlorine-based disinfectants are the best for killing viruses. Make sure to always follow the manufacturer’s guidance and dry cleaned items and surfaces thoroughly after cleaning.
These are stressful times, and people need to know their employers have their back. Make sure you communicate to your team the rules and expectations of returning to work. Send regular updates via email and post reminders around the office to make sure people are washing their hands, practising social distancing and staying home if they feel ill.
Asking that people don’t eat at their desks and reducing the number of shared equipment will also help keep the workplace cleaner and safer: you can ask people to bring in their own devices, mugs and stationery.
The importance of a good commercial cleaning service has never been greater, and it’s definitely not the right time to cut down on your cleaning services. Ask your cleaning company what steps they’re taking to thoroughly clean and disinfect your business premises with every visit. They should be able to provide you with a thorough cleaning specification, and their disinfectants should meet the EN Standard 14476 for virucidal activity.
If you feel like you’re not getting a good enough service, consider changing your cleaning providers. You can read more about cleaning company red flags in this blog article.
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