As states across the country end their COVID-19 shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders, offices are reopening. Companies must be proactive in preparing to have employees work in the office after months of working at home.
Since the office building has likely been empty for quite a while, the first step is to do office cleaning for returning back to work. Starting with a clean and safe space for employees to work should be a top priority as businesses reopen.
Although a detailed office cleaning is essential prior to reopening, companies also need a long-term cleaning plan. As long as the COVID-19 virus is still active, companies must know how they will keep their employees safe and healthy as they work together in-person.
Keeping Employees Safe From COVID-19
Businesses can keep employees safe from COVID-19 by updating their office protocols to fit the current situation. Potential new practices include:
- Mask wearing when employees are in close proximity to one another
- Staggered schedules to reduce person-to-person contact
- No handshakes or greetings that involve touch
- No large meetings with several people in the same room at once
- Reduced use of elevators and other high-traffic enclosed spaces
- Increased cleaning and disinfecting as long as the virus is a threat
In the rest of this article, we focus on COVID-19 cleaning tips to keep an office not only clean, but disinfected. Proper disinfection kills the COVID-19 virus, removing it from surfaces where it could spread and infect employees. As a result, employees are safer and experience a reduced risk of becoming sick when surfaces are frequently disinfected.
What Surfaces to Clean and How Often
Some surfaces are more critical than others when it comes to disinfecting. Any area that more than one employee touches within a 24-hour period requires disinfection. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) specifically recommends regularly disinfecting high-touch surfaces. Common high-touch areas include:
- Exterior doorknobs and keypads employees touch when entering and leaving the building
- Interior doorknobs on bathroom, office, and conference room doors
- Light switches in bathrooms, offices, conference rooms, and breakrooms
- Bathroom toilets, sinks, fixtures, dispensers, etc.
- Kitchen or breakroom tables, sinks, countertops, and cabinet handles
- Desks, phones, keyboards, and other frequently touched office items
The frequency of disinfection depends on how many people share the office and how often each room is in use. Ideally, all high-touch surfaces should be disinfected after a person makes contact with them.
If cleaning surfaces after each individual use isn't feasible, companies should disinfect at least daily, or as frequently as they can.
How to Clean Surfaces
Disinfecting surfaces is a multi-step process. But first, whoever is doing the cleaning must properly prepare.
Preparing to Clean a Surface
Proper preparation is the key to successful cleaning. By preparing, the cleaner protects themselves from harsh chemicals found in disinfectants. Take these steps before cleaning a surface:
- Wear gloves to protect your hands
- Wear long sleeves to protect your arms
- Make sure the room is well-ventilated
- Consider wearing eye protection to protect from splashes
Clean the Surface Using Soap and Water
The CDC recommends cleaning surfaces with soap and water prior to disinfecting. Cleaning with soap and water:
- Removes dirt, oil, and grime
- Removes many, but not all, germs
Cleaning prepares a surface for disinfecting. If you skip cleaning, disinfecting might not be as effective. Anything that is caked onto a surface could hold germs within it, so it's best to make sure your surfaces are totally clean before disinfecting them.
Disinfect the Surface Using a Disinfectant
Disinfecting a surface kills germs, such as COVID-19. Read the label of your disinfectant to make sure it says it will kill coronaviruses and 99.9% of germs.
There are a variety of disinfectants that kill COVID-19. In fact, the CDC lists over 400 of them. Check the CDC's list of disinfectants that kill COVID-19 if you're unsure if you're using the correct disinfectant.
Disinfecting contains two steps:
- Cover the surface with disinfectant until it is visibly wet.
- Let the disinfectant sit on the surface for as long as the product label or the CDC website dictates (usually between 2 and 15 minutes). The disinfectant should remain visibly wet this entire time. If it begins drying, add more as needed.
You might want to wipe off the disinfectant when you're done, but that step isn't required with all products. Finally, throw away your gloves and wash your hands after disinfecting.
Contact Us for More Information
Disinfecting offices is of utmost importance while COVID-19 is still infecting Americans. If you want us to help keep your offices clean and your employees safe, please contact us about detailed office cleaning.