At long last, stay-at-home restrictions in place due to COVID-19 are starting to lift. Slowly but surely, people are making their way back to their jobs and offices.
While many continue to work from home, those heading back into the office might wonder if the environment they’re returning to is really safe. That’s why it’s important to have a detailed plan for returning to work that includes:
- Staggered work schedules
- Employee health guidelines (like wearing masks)
- Modified workspaces to allow for physical distance
- A thorough office cleaning before employees return to work
- A plan to keep your workspace clean after reopening
Here, we’ll focus on the last items on this list: a thorough and detailed office cleaning, and a plan to keep your environment clean. Before you bring people back in, you need to make sure it is safe to do so.
COVID-19 Cleaning Tips For Reopening Your Workplace
Most offices have sat unoccupied for weeks or months at this point. Before reopening, those spaces need to be cleaned and cared for. You wouldn’t want employees coming back to dusty air or unsanitized desks, especially now.
Thorough cleaning and disinfection don't just create a safer environment for your staff. It can also provide peace of mind and reinforce the impression of a fresh start.
Cleaning and sanitizing your office space includes both cleaning the building and inspecting it section by section. You can have janitorial and maintenance staff do some of this work, but you might want to consider bringing in a cleaning expert to make sure it gets done properly.
You’ll want to be sure that nothing corroded, degraded, or broke while you were away. Leaky pipes gone unchecked for months, for example, could cause a mold problem requiring extensive repairs to remove.
In order to make sure everything is operating as it should, inspect the following areas:
- Every plumbing fixture should be checked for leaks and to make sure it’s properly oriented
- All pipes in the building should also be checked for leaks
- Lighting fixtures should be checked for proper functionality, and any burnouts noted and replaced
This will let you identify and fix any problems that arose during the closure, so you can start with a clean slate. From there you can move on to cleaning the rest of your building.
Cleaning the Bathrooms
One of the places it’s most important to have sanitary in your office, detailed deep cleaning of the bathrooms in your building goes a long way. You’ll want to:
- Get rid of any limescale on toilets, urinals, and plumbing fixtures like sinks (known as descaling)
- Descale and sanitize other water-related fixtures in the building like drinking fountains
- Disinfect all possible sites of fomite contaminants like light switches and doorknobs
- Disinfect ceiling vents
- Wipe down stall walls and partitions
- Scrub the floors
Cleaning Common Areas
Common areas are prime locations for the spread of germs. They experience high foot traffic and have lots of high-touch areas like doorknobs that need to be disinfected.
These areas can see a lot of traffic from the general public as well, so you want to make sure they’re as clean as possible when customers and employees start to trickle back in. Do that by:
- Cleaning entryway glass and windows (interior and exterior)
- Cleaning floor mats and disinfecting beneath them
- Dusting from the floor to the ceiling with HEPA vacuums designed to lock in contaminants
- Remove cobwebs and check for spider nests
- Disinfect railings, doorknobs, light switches, and elevators (cabs and call buttons)
- Disinfect all horizontal surfaces where contaminants might have settled
- Disinfect all surfaces in employee break areas, and open workspaces where applicable
- Clean the fabric and upholstery in employee cubicles
Cleaning Office Areas
Procedures for cleaning office spaces that don’t see much traffic from the general public are similar to the ones for cleaning common areas, including:
- Detailed floor-to-ceiling dusting with HEPA vacuums
- Cobweb removal
- Fomite disinfection
- Disinfection of open work surfaces, including telephones
- Disinfection of horizontal surfaces
- Thorough cleaning of chair mats, kick plates, and upholstery
Attention to detail is key here. You want to be sure you clean every surface that can collect and house bacteria, viruses, and allergic irritants like dust.
Once that’s completed, you’re ready to bring your employees back according to your reopening plan. And part of that plan should be keeping things clean.
Tips For Making An Ongoing Cleaning Plan
We haven’t seen the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, and extra vigilance is still required to keep everyone from getting sick. The CDC’s guidance on reopening for business has some useful tips on keeping your workplace sanitary.
Some questions to ask:
- What needs to be sanitized?
- What products should be used to sanitize the environment?
- What areas qualify as “high touch?”
- How often should areas be cleaned?
What gets regularly cleaned and disinfected will vary depending on your business. Retailers with touch screen payment terminals, for example, will want to clean them after each use and disinfect them regularly throughout the day.
Develop a cleaning schedule that makes sense for your business and that your employees can keep up. That may mean cleaning during downtime or scheduling specific time slots during the workday to wipe things down.
In general, high touch surfaces should be disinfected multiple times each day, and the whole work area should be wiped down once a day. To maintain a sanitary environment, more detailed cleanings should be done every week, and deep cleans should happen every month.
Certain technologies lend themselves well to disinfecting workspaces and larger buildings, and you should think about using them in your monthly deep cleans. Hydrogen peroxide fogging, for example, is a safe and efficient way to rapidly disinfect a space down to the most minute areas.
Talk to the Cleaning Experts
Pegasus has helped businesses get clean and stay clean for the past 15 years. We can help you get your office back into shape for your employees and customers, and recommend a plan for you moving forward based on your needs. Contact us today to find out more about our multi-tiered, back-to-work plan designed specifically for reopening during COVID-19.