The pandemic period has put the spotlight firmly on cleaning and hygiene. As people are returning to the workplace, Health and safety have risen up the management agenda and serious conversations about employee wellbeing are taking place.
It’s a new phase in the workplace lifecycle with not just increased demands on employers to create a safer workplace but an expectation from employees that safety and hygiene measures are being put in place, and will continue to be, to protect their welfare.
Cleaning Guide to return to Work
There are a growing number of workplace cleaning guides available, such as this one from the HSE, but what does it really mean for employers?
A Cleaning Audit To Enable a Safer Return to Work
A sensible starting point for any employer is an audit to understand what cleaning regimes are in place already, what ‘good’ would look like and therefore where the gaps are.
The focus should be two-fold:
- Understanding where increased daily cleaning is needed, such as in high traffic areas including restrooms and kitchen areas, and enhanced touchpoint cleaning such as door handles and light switches
- Assessing the need for scheduled deep cleaning, including aspects like flooring, carpets, tiles and partitions.
A detailed audit will highlight any changes that need to be made and make it simpler to enter into discussions with in-house teams or cleaning providers about the ongoing requirements as well as more immediate return to work cleaning.
Sanitising and cleaning stations
Whether it’s sanitiser dispensers on the wall, bottles of disinfectant in the kitchen or full-blown sanitising stations, those returning to work expect their employer to have a plentiful supply of cleaning and sanitising products to help them feel safe and protected.
Employers have an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to health and safety by ensuring this expectation is met on an ongoing basis, meaning focus should be put on the continued supply of these products.
Cleaning Back to Work – Sharing the Responsibility
As part of workplace return cleaning, employers should consider what role their workforce will play in enforcing and maintaining stricter health and safety measures and how this will be communicated to ensure there is the support needed to make it work.
Involving people in decisions about how kitchens will be used or encouraging new habits around how meeting rooms should be used and subsequently cleaned when a meeting has finished will be important if new ways of working are to stick.
Whether preparing to reopen an office space or developing an enhanced cleaning regime, it is the combination of decontamination, fogging, cleaning, sanitising and disinfecting that will offer the greatest protection against viruses and germs. It’s going to be a cultural shift, both accepting the expectation that more cleaning activity needs to take place and embedding new habits in a workforce that is still learning how to behave now they are thrust back into an office environment.
Putting Covid-safe measures at the heart of facilities management The impact of Covid-19 has reshaped the role of facilities management. It now looks beyond how buildings are managed and services delivered to a broader role in ensuring compliance with complex and detailed guidelines designed to ensure Covid-safe environments.