The way we work has changed a lot in 2020, especially for those of us who work in offices. And while employee safety is paramount, the safety of customers, vendors and other visitors is also key as offices reopen to the public and continue to operate through the pandemic and beyond. Though it can seem like a big job, keeping an office safe and clean for employees and visitors is actually quite simple. Read on for top tips on keeping a clean office.
Top 10 Tips for a Safe, Clean Office
- Keep the office tidy.
This may seem like an easy one, but keeping workstations clean and free from clutter that can harbor bacteria is essential. Make sure all spaces are kept tidy, including break rooms, conference rooms, offices and cubicles. Take out the trash regularly, and provide disinfectant wipes or spray to employees so that individual workspaces can be cleaned frequently. Multi-use spaces and furniture, such as conference rooms and break areas, should also be regularly cleaned.
- Hire a professional cleaning service.
Professional cleaners are equipped with the tools and know-how to efficiently clean large spaces. Many services now include coronavirus-specific cleaning services, whether using special cleaners as part of a regular cleaning service or providing a deep clean after possible exposure to the virus.
- Keep everyone socially distanced.
One of the main messages throughout the coronavirus pandemic has been to socially distance and maintain at least a 6-foot separation between individuals who don’t share the same home. Maintaining this distance in an office setting is crucial as well, not only to keep employees protected but also to prevent employees from bringing germs home to their families. If possible, space employee workstations at least 6-feet apart. If space is limited, or for those staff members who must come into contact with the public or office visitors, install plexiglass barriers. For more on this topic, read about how to rearrange the office for social distancing.
- Wear a face covering
Consider requesting all employees and visitors to your office to wear a cloth face covering while inside the office. These simple devices can help prevent the spread of germs, especially when social distancing is not an option. Posting signs throughout the office can serve as simple reminders for employes and visitors.
- Stock up on hand sanitizer and hand-washing essentials.
Give employees the resources they need to follow CDC and OSHA guidelines at the office by making sure there is ample hand sanitizer, soap and related items for everyone to use. It may also be a good idea to post signs about proper handwashing techniques in prominent spaces. These can be found on the CDC’s website.
- Monitor symptoms and encourage employees to stay home if they are sick.
Employees who are sick, or those who think they have have been exposed to COVID-19, should stay home to protect the safety of others and the integrity of the office environment. Consider revising policies about sick leave and, if possible, allow employees who are monitoring symptoms to work remotely.
- Ensure ventilation systems are working properly.
Proper air flow has been shown as an effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within indoor spaces. Properly maintain air flow systems, replace filters regularly and consult an expert if any repairs are needed.
- Implement touchless entry.
Install touchless entry systems, such as automatic doors or locks that work with keycards, to prevent employees from coming into contact with germs that can linger on frequently-used surfaces like door handles. Another upgrade to consider is switching to automatic lighting.
- Allow employees to work outdoors when possible.
If your office has an outdoor space, consider holding in-person meetings and other necessary gatherings outdoors whenever possible to reduce the spread of germs.
- Limit the number of visitors.
Cutting down on the number of people that come into your office will reduce the exposure of respiratory illness to employees. It is also a good idea to keep a log book of all visitors, which can help with contact tracing if an employee develops symptoms.
Additionally, if your office has the capability to allow employees to work remotely, consider this as a way to further reduce exposure to the virus. A partially remote schedule will limit the number of employees in the office at one time and is a great idea for offices that need to be staffed for visitors. If staff are exposed to the virus en masse, a fully remote schedule will allow for work to continue while employees self-isolate at home.
Keeping employees safe from illness is an imperative part of any office, both to provide for employee welfare and to keep the business going. Whether implementing all of these tips or just a few, employees and visitors alike will appreciate the time and effort put in to keeping the space safe and clean, and keeping them protected from germs.