Office spaces, especially traditional ones that are mostly closed, can be a breeding place for germs and bacteria that cause common diseases like cold and cough. Consistent cleaning and sanitising office spaces is essential to keep sickness at bay.
Employees vulnerable to health issues can get affected easily and this might impact their work productivity and overall performance. This tells us that sanitising office spaces is necessary for a safer work experience for teams.
The COVID 19 pandemic too especially, has made it extremely important for office spaces to adopt sanitising practices. The impact of the pandemic has been well documented by different media outlets, companies, governments, and Non-Government Organizations across the world.
After almost 2 years since the first case of COVID 19 in the Wuhan province came to light, the world is finally returning to a state of normalcy. As vaccine rates are increasing gradually, and mask mandates removed, it is now time for the world to begin business as usual.
However, in the wake of such a devastating pandemic, it is quite understandable that employees across the world are feeling a bit uncomfortable returning to work. Above all that, it is our responsibility, as an employer, to make sure that our employees remain safe, now more than ever.
If you’re looking for a guide on how to completely sanitize your office space to ensure a safer work experience for your employees, look no further, as this article contains everything you need to know.
Steps To Sanitize Office Spaces
Clean and sanitised office spaces are visibly different from the ones that are not. Sanitised offices provide a safer environment for people to work in, in addition to increasing their aesthetics. Common diseases like flu can be controlled in a sanitised space and can help in stopping the spreading chain.
There is also a visible change in the quality of air that people breathe in, promoting good respiratory hygiene. There are countless other benefits to sanitised office spaces.
Let us now look at some actionable steps to follow:
- Cleaners and the people who disinfect the offices should make sure they wear proper protective equipment before embarking to sanitize the office spaces. This could include equipment like disposable gloves and masks, bibs and face shields to name a few. This prevents bacteria from going into their bodies, in addition to making the disinfecting process a lot more hygienic and cleaner. Evacuating workers from the room before starting is important as well.
Proper removal and disposal of this protective equipment once the process is done is critical.
- The first step is to thoroughly clean the office space with a detergent or a soap+water solution. Disinfectants tend to be more effective if the viral load is smaller, and cleaning the office space with soap and water reduces the viral load significantly.
- One of the best disinfectants, as recommended even by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), is a bleach+water solution. About 5 tablespoons of bleach for 3 and a half litres of water should prove extremely effective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Alternatively, you can also use disinfectant wipes that are commercially available.
- Make sure to disinfect one item at a time, and ensure that the surface stays wet for at least 4 minutes to give enough time for the disinfectants to do their magic. Make sure to practice the one-way wipe-down technique. Wiping down in one direction, and wiping back up may redeposit germs along the surface, making the entire process moot.
- Take extra care around electronics. Water and electronics don’t go well together and can cause irreparable harm. Utilize special disinfectants like device sanitisers, ultra-dry alcohol cleansers among others for electronic gadgets like laptops, computers and servers.
- Do not mix the cleaning products together. It is highly recommended to colour code your cleaning supply to ensure that your janitorial staff do not accidentally mix the different supplies.
- Prepare a list of common contact points. These common contact points or high touch areas could include things like tables, doorknobs, coffee machines, switches, flush knobs, handles, elevator buttons, taps, sinks, remotes, or any other device that you or your employees come to contact with on a regular basis. Ensure that extra attention is paid to these contact points.
These were some of the steps that you can take to ensure that your office space is sanitized to ensure a safer work experience for your employees. However, the buck does not stop here. There are other steps that you can take to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission as much as possible. Let’s look at those now.
Safety Measures In Light Of COVID
Yes, it feels like a David vs Goliath battle, trying to prevent the spread of the virus. However, it goes without saying that proper cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing routines help loads in the battle against the COVID 19 pandemic, and even otherwise in the absence of a pandemic.
Even as vaccination rates climb higher, and the number of infected gradually decreases, the measures are still extremely important, and should not be left for granted. Statistics say that 66% of employees want better cleaning practices before they return to work.
Even after the world returns to normalcy, which we do not know when will happen, it’s important to keep these measures in place to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for workers.
- Make it a point to educate employees on the necessary safety measures. Though it has been 2 whole years, a significant amount of the population continues to remain lax, and it is costing everyone dearly.
- A workplace vaccine mandate can be considered. Allowing only employees who have completed all their vaccine doses can significantly reduce the risk of transmission.
- Staggered shifts and physical distancing are other safety measures that prevent the spread of the virus. Try to minimize social events as much as possible.
- Enforce strict visitor rules. Make sure that the number of visitors is minimal (completely prohibit visitors if possible).
- Ensure availability of disinfectants, sanitisers and soaps throughout the office. Further, to ensure that hands don’t dry out as a result of using sanitisers, moisturizing lotions are recommended (this is optional).
- If you’re employing a shared workplace strategy, have dedicated housekeeping staff to disinfect the spaces before, during, and after work hours.
- Provide basic but necessary tools like facemasks, gloves, hand sanitisers, and face shields, etc., to curb the spread of the virus in case of any carriers.
The fight against this monstrous COVID 19 pandemic is nearing its end. It is up to every single one of us to take the best care of ourselves, and those surrounding us, to ensure that we put this unfortunate chapter in all our lives to bed and don’t let another wave hit us.
With that being said, disinfecting office spaces and sanitising furniture has always been overlooked since the dawn of time and it is high time that we paid some attention to the crucial things required to run rendezvous points like offices.
While it might sound like a lot of work to do it all on your own, employing housekeeping staff makes it easier. A safe environment to work from is the bare minimum that the employees should have, isn’t it?