Amid fears of Coronavirus here's how you can keep your office space clean and hygienic
It is impossible to ignore recent global events regarding the spread of Covid-19. While we have had outbreaks of disease in the past (SARS, Zika, etc.), the effects of the Coronavirus are being felt more severely than others.
Currently, those who seem genuinely at risk appear to be the elderly and vulnerable. This includes people with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, COPD and asthma. However, the actual effects of it are unknown but what we do know is that it is easily transferable. This means a person with no symptoms, or who has the ability to fight it off quickly, could well end up passing it onto someone who will not be able to handle it as well, resulting in severe illness or even worse.
For obvious reasons, it is far better to contain the disease rather than hope for the best. It may seem dramatic to restrict social gatherings, sports events or anything involving being in contact with others, but this is a sure way to reduce its spread. Another way to stop it from spreading is by maintaining very high standards of hygiene and cleanliness. This applies to people themselves, but also to the environments in which we operate from our homes to our places of work.
Employers must feel the duty of care to ensure they do everything in their power to keep populated office spaces clear of potential infection. But the question is what's the best way to go about this? There are various things by which you can protect your staff. Read on to find our top 10 ways to keep your office space clean and hygienic in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak:
1. Deep cleaning of all communal and personal areas
The first step would be to make your office space as clean as it possibly can be. So employing a company such as Southern Cross Cleaning Services to do this for you will ensure it is conducted to an exacting standard. Highly experienced cleaning operatives who care enough to do a thorough job will put your mind at rest that the workplace is free of germs as much as is physically possible. With the ability to respond quickly to requests and all work being monitored by management, you'll get the high level of service you need in the timeframe you need it so as not to disrupt your workplace.
A deep clean should not necessarily be a one-off either. Instead, build a regular one into your office maintenance schedule. Even in less challenging times, it is good practice to have an extra level of cleanliness provided regularly.
2. Increase the frequency of cleaning services
In ordinary periods, a weekly office clean might be more than adequate to keep on top of everything. However, given these challenging times, it could be worthwhile to increase the frequency of visits from your cleaning company. Twice per week or even daily might be required just to keep the germs at bay and keep minds at rest for the time being.
3. Provide sanitizers at every door
Making sure that any virus picked up in the outside world is killed on entry will help the fight against the spread of Coronavirus. This can be done relatively quickly with the addition of hand sanitizer pumps at every doorway including the front door and on reception desks.
4. Put handwashing guides on the sinks
It may sound a little strange to tell grown adults how to wash their hands, but this is one of the effective ways to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses. Specific techniques done for a certain period will make sure that the offending particles are washed down the sink, thus preventing their spread.
5. Provide cleaning products in each area and on each bank of desks
Most of the world is acutely aware of the threat of Coronavirus, and as such, people are prepared to take extra precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones. That means that in these times, people are willing to go the extra mile to remain sanitary and hygienic. Providing small items such as anti-bacterial cleaning wipes, keyboard cleaners and other cleaning products designed to kill germs and requesting that they be used daily is likely to be upheld. Ensure they are always available for the best outcome.
6. Have the air conditioning system cleaned and serviced
The air we breathe is one of the ways diseases are transmitted from person to person, and as we know, air conditioning units circle this air all-around employees. Within the pipes of the system, water can get trapped and bacteria and other germs can breed in this. It's widely documented that Legionella breeds in stagnant water and can be contracted from air conditioning systems that are not adequately maintained and Coronavirus would likely follow the same path.
Having a full service of the system and it is thoroughly cleaned will remove any issues that are already present so you can use it with confidence. Again, maintenance service is something which should be conducted regularly so that in the event of any build it, the problem is removed before it infects workers.
7. Have all the cleaning equipment cleaned and service, e.g. new filters in
When areas are being cleaned, the equipment used will, of course, pick up the dirt and germs it is designed to remove. This is true of cleaning cloths, feather dusters and even the electrical equipment such as vacuum cleaners. If these items are not adequately cleaned, there is a danger of them actively spreading the germs around that they should be taking away. So ensure that cloths are changed regularly, that anti-bacterial agents are used to killing bacteria and that vacuums are properly cleaned with the filters washed or changed.
8. Remove communal cutlery and crockery
It may look unfair to the employees of the office space, but if you explain to them why you are removing them, they are likely to understand! Sharing bodily fluids such as saliva will transmit the disease very quickly so needs to be avoided altogether. Thoroughly washing cutlery and crockery will, of course, kill any nasties, but how confident are we that everyone will do this? The tines of the fork will trap unseen microbes and also, the handles could be havens for them too. It would be far safer for everyone to stick to their eating utensils and avoid the problems entirely.
9. Change the sickness protocol
If you have a robust team who like to battle on through their illness, that can work for you as a business. However, given the proximity in which many of us work, this now more than ever, is a vital issue that needs to be faced. Encourage anyone who has even the hint of a symptom to work from home and facilitate them by providing the right technology and support. In today's modern world, many jobs can be done from home, and they need a bit of connectivity which is relatively easy to orchestrate with a bit of planning. With online chat facilities, video calling and other types of messaging available, there is no need for anyone to feel isolated either.
10. Introduce a level of homeworking
We know many offices will not be able to have everyone working from home for the foreseeable but allowing some to do so on a rota basis may help. It will allow the ones in the office to spread out, maintaining a gap of over two metres between them and will thus limit the risk of infection. As we've just mentioned, there is so much technology available to allow this to happen that in theory, there should be no loss of productivity. In fact, you may end up getting a little more out of your staff if their long commutes are taken away.
There is surely a testing time for many of us the world over. It is at times like these that we must be sensible and not panic or else we risk compounding the knock-on effects. There are plenty of ways we can protect ourselves and each other if we just take a little bit of extra care.
Fortunately, even though little is known about Covid-19 specifically, there is still a lot of good advice and support available to all. So if we listen to it, we can limit the spread and therefore, the negative impact this will have on the world. By taking precautions now, we will come out of the problem much quicker. Let's be honest, many of the practices that are being suggested to help neutralise the spread are ones we should consider doing year-round regardless of the threat of the disease so at least we can take those forward! Working together and helping each other will be the ultimate key to success.