With its office cleaning and decontamination services, React is here to help FM companies stay Covid safe throughout the winter.
Throughout 2020, people who normally work in offices have experienced a lot of changes. Understandably, many employees returning to work in an office can be nervous about the transition after working from home. For FM companies with large office spaces, this has required some new ways of working. Of course, effective cleaning and decontamination are at the heart of keeping workplaces Covid-secure. Critically, they can also ensure that employees feel confident and safe about being in a physical workspace. With many offices having to remain open regardless of which Covid ‘tier’ they fall under, it’s vital to keep working safely. In this blog, we’re going to look at how we can help FM companies deliver Covid safety in every office setting.
Changing the way we work in offices and contact centres
We’ve been working with facilities management (FM) companies across multiple industries throughout the pandemic. Whichever sector, they’re in, we’ve been delivered deep cleaning and decontamination services. For FM companies with office spaces, this is a particular challenge. Sometimes they’ve been pursuing existing plans more rapidly, for instance moving towards a hotdesking model for staff working at least part of the week from home. In other cases, they’ve had to come up with whole new ways of working to include social distancing and enhanced hygiene into everyday work practices.
The UK government’s guidance on making offices and contact centres Covid-secure is available here. It goes without question that carrying out a risk assessment is a great way to identify the additional needs of a specific workplace. Of course, social distancing remains as important in an office as in any other setting. Where it’s not possible to distance employees, FM companies should do everything practical to manage transmission risks. For example, moving meetings online, keeping physical meetings as short as possible and staggering arrival/departure times will help. And FM companies can consider reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using a “fixed-teams” or “partnering” system.
Office cleaning and decontamination methodology that works
Our tried and tested infection control methodology delivers results. We test, clean, disinfect and test again. We use adenosine triphosphate (ATP) testing as an effective way to determine which areas to prioritise. Transmissible viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, can remain stable on hard surfaces for up to 72 hours, so it is especially important to be consistently cleaning high-touch surfaces and objects, such as desks, light switches, touch screens and doorknobs. To clean effectively, it is important wipe down surfaces with a pH neutral cleaning solution first, such as warm soapy water, to remove lingering dirt and dust to which the virus can be absorbed.
In many ways, the disinfection part of this process Is most crucial. Applying a virucidal disinfectant, one certified to be effective in disabling coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-2, is critical. Most common agents contain chlorine compounds which can cause more harm than good when used incorrectly, such as health issues and discolouration of surfaces. As a safer choice and where possible, we adopt environmentally friendly alternatives which can be just as effective. We would also deploy such methods as fogging or UVC light in specific circumstances. We then use ATP testing to give confidence to both employers and employees that our deep cleaning and decontamination has been effective. This is why it’s advisable to outsource the initial clean to a specialist company such as React, even if regular follow-up cleaning is tackled in-house.
FM companies communicating steps for individuals
It’s important that individuals understand the importance of maintaining Covid safety when returning to workspaces. It will help to carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment in line with Health & Safety Executive guidelines. Sharing the results with employees and publishing them on the intranet or company website provides clear lines of communication. There are a whole host of measures that FM companies can take to make offices safe. These include reconfiguring workspaces to ensure social distancing, one-way systems and, if needed, introduce screens to protect staff. Introducing infra-red digital thermometer daily testing on entry to the workspace can also help with screening. However, it is also important employers listen to their staff, especially where childcare or vulnerable-relative responsibilities are involved. Being flexible around everyday work practices will be a great way of keeping employees engaged.
Of course, in an office setting, staying engaged also means employees exercising personal responsibility. It’s imperative to make sure hand sanitiser stations are provided around the workplace, preferably non-touch. These should contain sanitiser with at least 70% ethanol concentration. Of course, hand sanitiser is a quick and easy way to clean hands, although washing hands thoroughly with soap is more effective in cleaning away viral contaminants. And even in an office setting, suitable facial coverings can help, especially where employees are in constant contact with the public.
We’re here to work with FM companies who need office cleaning to help ensure that their workplaces remain Covid safe over the winter. To find out more, contact one of the team today.
Post by Shaun D. Doak
Shaun is the CEO of React Group plc., a business dedicated to specialist cleaning, hygiene and decontamination. He is deeply committed to making sure that every one of our company’s clients receives the highest possible level of service. An expert in HVAC and commercial and industrial cleaning methodologies, Shaun has extensive experience in the facilities management and renewable services sector.