Commercial cleaning your workplace for employees to return post-lockdown
Commercial cleaning of offices and other workplaces is going to be very important as the UK moves closer to a full lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions.
Every employer has a responsibility to protect employees returning to the workplace, and provide them with an assurance that their workplaces have been fully prepared by deep cleaning so that they are safe and COVID-free.
For many organisations, the safest, most effective and easiest approach to deep cleaning your workplace ahead of your workforce returning is to use a professional, experienced commercial cleaning company to do the job for you.
In this article, we discuss a recommended approach to cleaning your workplace ahead of employees returning once the lockdown is fully lifted.
Risk assess the workplace
To develop a full picture of where COVID risks to employees might lie when returning to work, it may be necessary to carry out a risk assessment. This will help you establish what areas might present the greatest risk, so that before anyone returns, or any cleaning takes place, you can adapt certain areas or clear away any unwanted and potentially harmful materials.
Identify the problem areas
Obvious areas to be cleaned include surfaces, doors and equipment. Special attention must be given to shared workspaces and facilities such as canteens, toilets and any food preparation areas.
Whether your workplace is an office, shop, school or showroom, you will need to clean all areas in depth.
Deep clean the workplace
Advice to business owners and directors planning for a return to the workplace is to use a professional commercial cleaning company to carry out a deep cleaning operation prior to employees’ return.
Here are a few suggested approaches.
Whole workplace disinfectant fogging
Some commercial cleaning companies (including Wixted Cleaning) offer a “professional disinfectant fogging” service, using a powerful surface cleaning agent to disinfectant hard or soft surfaces which might otherwise be difficult to get to.
Fogging is ideal for disinfecting large areas in order to remove traces of viruses and bacteria which could otherwise potentially transfer from surface to human.
Is also has the added benefit of killing airborne viruses.
Deep cleaning and disinfection of all areas
Deep cleaning is recommended across the whole workplace environment, particularly surface areas and ‘multi-touch’ items.
Ideally, your workplaces should be ‘decluttered’ to remove unwanted or non-essential items which may hamper cleaning operations.
Working surfaces should ideally be cleared – or at least tidied – in order to make surface cleaning easier.
Canteen area cleaning
Canteens and refreshment areas where staff may have congregated before the lockdown are key targets for deep cleaning, so it is important that extra cleaning care is paid here.
Once employees do return to work, employers should post signs around these common areas to remind employees about hand washing and the importance of maintaining hygiene by cleaning surfaces both prior to and after use. Ideally, cleaning wipes should be supplied for this purpose.
As with canteen areas, toilet and washroom facilities should be deep cleaned to a greater level than normal.
Clearly handwashing is essential to controlling COVID-19, so before employees return to work, all washroom areas should be hygienically prepared.
The frequently touched surfaces and hand washing facilities should be deep cleaned, and all hygiene consumables such as soap and paper towels should be stocked to guarantee a plentiful supply.
Other ‘high touch’ surfaces – a deep cleaning checklist
The most frequently touched surfaces in any workplace are likely to be those where employees either congregate or where traffic is most concentrated.
A checklist of the most common areas of potential virus transmission where particular cleaning attention is needed includes:
- Reception areas where visitors may be seated for a period
- Worksurfaces such as tables and desktops
- Office equipment such a keyboards, telephones and mice
- Workshop machinery
- Warehouse vehicles such as forklifts
- Chair arms and seats
- Door handles and push plates
- Light switches
- Heating/cooling control panels
- Security entry control panels
- Washroom areas, particularly cubicle doors and toilet furniture
- Taps in washrooms, kitchens and utility areas
- Food preparation areas including kitchen surfaces, microwaves, fridges etc
- Storage, particular handles on filing cabinets and cupboards.
Once the deep clean has happened
After your workplace has been deep cleaned ready for employees to return, it is vital to prevent access to areas that have been cleaned to prevent any contamination.
Once employees do return, they will benefit from peace of mind in knowing that their employer has undertaken a deep clean in order to make the workplace a safe, secure and hygienic place to work.
A new approach to commercial cleaning
Once employees return to work, organisations may need to take a fresh look at what they need from their commercial cleaners. New methods and approaches to cleaning should include:
- Increase the frequency cleaning: depending on the kind of work you do, your cleaning service may need to increase in regularity, for example to a minimum of once per day – possibly at the end of the working day
- Ask employees to share responsibility: your staff may need to be encouraged to take responsibility for their own workstation cleaning, again at the end of the day or at key times during the day
- Use only professional, experienced commercial cleaners: as commercial cleaning is an unregulated industry, it is too easy for some cleaning contractors to do a less than thorough job. For your workplace to be fully prepared, safe, clean and hygienic for staff to return, you need to use experienced professional cleaners to do the job.
Wixted Cleaning is a highly skilled, professional and experienced commercial cleaning organisation serving clients across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. Founded in 2002, the company has maintained a record of continuous growth and employing over 150 people, we can offer deep cleaning services for all kinds of workplace. This includes our disinfectant fogging services, ideal for preparing workplaces ready for employees to return to work after the lockdown.