Getting Back to Work: Keeping the Office Healthy and Clean

Getting Back to Work: Keeping the Office Healthy and Clean

We are all looking forward to a return to “normalcy” and a return to work. While we don’t really have a clear picture of exactly what that will look like, we do know that we will need to make important changes for the long term well-being of our employees. Those changes include how we interact at work, how we manage personal health & hygiene, and especially how we maintain sanitary, coronavirus resistant workspaces. The more we can keep the coronavirus, and all pathogens, at bay, the better chance we have for a quick, vibrant economic recovery and safe work spaces that keep our valued employees healthy and safe.

In order to do that we definitely need to know the following: 

  • How and when to deep clean the office
  • How to prepare individual workstations and workspaces
  • How to keep our offices clean and sanitized when we return to work 
  • How to prevent transmission and propagation of the virus in our work areas using technology

Whole Office Deep Cleaning

You may have your own cleaning crew or janitorial staff, or you may sub this work out, but getting in touch with this staff directly to arrange a deep cleaning followed by a whole office sanitizing is a perfect first step.  All surfaces need to be cleaned first with whatever cleaning method you have been using so far. For many surfaces this is just soap and water, but your usual methods are fine. Then you will want to arrange effective sanitizing using CDC recommended products that are effective against the virus. You can find a list at the EPA, or you can use a bleach solution. 

When your employees are back to work, or if you have staff on-site right now, you will want to do a whole office intense sanitizing process right away, and then schedule regular sessions, staggered to provide full protection.

Prepare Individual Workstations

Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have put out interim guidelines for workplaces that include instructions for preparing your employees to contribute to  safe working conditions. 

  • Frequent hand washing/ use of hand sanitizers
  • Readily available sanitizing wipes for use in their workspace
  • Social distancing, replace hand shaking with other greeting
  • Discourage using other employees office equipment, discourage sharing of tools
  • Use of tissues for coughing/sneezing and possible mask use
  • Reminders to stay home if feeling unwell

The recommendation is to have this information posted prominently and to have the tools like hand sanitizer and surface wipes easily accessible. 

Keeping Our Workplaces Clean and Sanitized 

The burden for keeping us safe is going to fall on each one of us. Knowledge is another essential tool. Keep your office informed and educated to keep everyone safe. Check for regular updates at the CDC and WHO websites for helpful information. Providing your employees with clear, calm, and consistent updates using your internal communication will smooth transitions and increase compliance. 

In addition to recommending routine, properly scheduled cleaning and sanitizing for the whole office, we also suggest following similar protocols to keep individual work areas sanitary.  Here are some ideas 

 

  • Enforce routine cleaning of high touch areas like door knobs, light switches, keyboards, handles, phones (see the complete list at CDC.org)
  • You could choose to have employees use disposable sanitizing wipes to wipe down their work areas when they start their day and at the end of their work day. 
  • You might want to create or share videos on exactly how to use hand sanitizer, how to hand wash effectively and so on.
  • You may create innovative combined shifts or split work from home/work at office schedules so that as we return to work we keep the office humming, but not crowded.

Use Technology to Maintain a Healthy Safe environment

In addition to the basic low tech, high impact measures we have covered, like hand-washing, face masks, and distancing, technology can come to the rescue as well.

Here at Arizona Corporate Interiors, we are very familiar with complicated workplace environments including open office set ups, high volume call centers, cubicle set ups, and multi-office environments. Basically we can help in any office situation, small to massive, and we are experts at space planning and design. 

We know we can be helpful to your office as you get set to have your employees return to work without fear of a resurgence of the coronavirus in your office. We are going to have to learn to fight Covid-19 in novel ways. We think exploring all options for protecting the whole environment with air purifiers, filters, and physical barriers could provide a measure of protection and reassurance. 

Air purifiers have the ability to attract and isolate particles that can harm us. Depending upon the filter selected, they can even attract and isolate particles as tiny as viruses .3microns. The coronavirus we are dealing with in this pandemic is anywhere from .1 to .3 microns so a traditional HEPA filter may not provide the ultimate protection. Super HEPA filters claim to collect even tinier particles and some air purifiers have added germicidal UV protection which we do know kills the virus over time, but not immediately. Since there are many complex issues and not enough science to declare anything 100% effective, we are encouraging you to discuss the option as an addition to your arsenal against Covid-19.  Since no one thing is going to provide the protection we need right now continuing proper hygiene, hand washing, and distancing should be the primary focus and technology is supplemental icing on the cake for many. 

Wellness Barriers at Work

Speaking of the effectiveness of distancing, wellness barriers are the newest and most effective germ barrier technology we have in our arsenal right now. They are clear acrylic screens that are easy to wipe clean and sanitize. We have mounting options so the screens can be easily installed and removed without harming the existing space, or they can be permanently affixed. We can provide design suggestions to maximize the effectiveness. These screens permit an open work environment without compromising visibility and interaction, and more importantly, they contribute to the effort to keep employees safe. Creative managers and business owners are installing these in all kinds of work environments now, not just public facing, but anywhere people need to work together. 

We Can Help Get You Back to Work

We are probably all a little more excited to return to work than we’d like to admit and we can do that once we get the all clear, but smart business owners and managers are preparing for it now so we can minimize the potential from harm from the coronavirus and from all transmissible diseases going forward. Any proactive steps taken now will pay off in the long run for businesses savvy enough to take advantage of these features. 

We are wishing your business a prosperous and healthy return to work and we are here to help any way we can. Please reach out to us at http://azcorporateinteriors.com/  or give us a call at (602) 840-6678.

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