Workplace Hygiene & Cleaning Guide
Offices and workplaces are busy places – with meeting rooms, canteens, washrooms and workstations in almost constant use, there’s plenty of opportunity for germs to spread amongst staff. Correct workplace hygiene procedures are an essential part of life as offices return to full capacity, in order to keep control of the virus and to be able to respond quickly and effectively in the case of a potential outbreak. Our businesses revolve around our people and workplaces – it’s when people can get together and interact freely that the magic happens, and businesses thrive. We must work harder than ever to protect this – there’s much talk about the role traditional workplace environments will play in future business, but there will always be a need for physical interaction in business and we need to future-proof our cleaning routines.
In this guide, we look ahead at what products and systems will be needed to ensure the ongoing hygiene and safety of our offices and buildings, and how hygiene and safety are aligned. It’s a great resource for all involved in the business, and many of the points included are important for everyone. With personal hygiene playing a big part in the overall safety of working environments, it’s important that everyone is aligned and aiming for the same goal, and knowing the basics of how to be hygienic in a Covid-19 era is one of the first steps to getting back to normal. Why is personal hygiene important? Because it all starts with you – it comes down to each individual doing their small part that will make the difference, everyone has to do their bit to keep areas clean and safe.
For employers, clean and safe offices are essential to allow your workforce to operate in a safe manner – interaction with team members is great for productivity, and future-proofing the cleaning of offices and work areas will help to avoid enforced shut-downs in the event of a Covid outbreak.
Effective communication is key, and it’s good idea to make sure everyone is aware of any changes in the cleaning system or routine and get all team members on board. Working with the cleaners can make a big difference on the effectiveness of the clean, with simple things like making sure desks are tidy and floors are clear increasing efficiency.
Simple tools for a hygienic workplace
Here’s some simple tools that will really help to up the game in workplace hygiene – using these as part of a company hygiene policy is the best way to safeguard your staff and your business.
Professional grade antiviral wipes are the absolute number 1 essential for hygienic work practices. Wipes such as our Clinical Midi-Wipes are incredibly versatile to the extent they can be used to sanitise virtually any surface – they’re also effective against SARS-CoV-2 and proven to kill 99.999% bacteria within 30 seconds. It’s important to make sure the wipes you use are effective against SARS-CoV-2, in 60 seconds or less – this will minimise the chance of the virus spreading, especially in high traffic areas or shared workspaces. Follow the instructions for proper use to get the most out of your wipes – things like contact time and correct surface coverage are really important. We’ve got a guide on the proper use of wipes here.
- Hand Sanitiser
Hand sanitiser is a great addition to a personal hygiene pack to promote personal hygiene in the workplace. It’s best for individuals to have personal sanitiser tubs if possible, but communal use dispensers are also widely available which are great for offices and work areas. Make sure the sanitiser is at least 70% alcohol or is tested to EN14476 and is easily accessible for staff to use – if it’s not easy to use, chances are it won’t be used. It’s an important addition to the range of cleaning products in offices, but shouldn’t take the place of wipes, which are necessary for the regular cleaning of surfaces – our range includes antibacterial Hand & Surface wipes suitable for hand cleaning for those wishing to streamline their routines.
- Face Mask
Face masks are a requirement when in areas of closer proximity to other people, such as canteen areas. This reduces the chances of a; transmission of the virus from you to surfaces and/or people through particles when you speak, b; you breathing in contaminated particles, and c; touching your nose or mouth area after touching a contaminated surface. Disposable face masks are great as they can be thrown away after use, however washable masks are also popular as they can be more stylish and they create less waste.
- Desk dividers/screens
Ensuring screens are in place between desks is another way to stop germs spreading between colleagues. Make sure they’re cleaned regularly though, as they can harbour germs for days.
- Fresh air
This one’s not exactly a tool or item like the others on this list, but fresh air can seem like a commodity sometimes – and it’s often underrated in the work environment. Make sure there’s good air flow in the offices, keeping windows open where possible, as this helps to avoid germs hanging about that can be breathed in by colleagues. There’s benefits beyond Covid-19 as well – access to plenty of fresh air has been proven to have many health and performance benefits including aiding digestion, lowering heart rate and blood pressure, and giving more energy and mental focus. Much of this is due to the better balance of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide in fresh air compared to the recycled air indoors.
Touchpoints – Where to clean in the workplace
We come into contact with billions of germs during our daily routine – actual figures vary of course, but it’s estimated there are up to 400 times more bacterial organisms on an office desk than a toilet – over 10 million bacteria. Most of these germs are not particularly dangerous in small quantities, but it gives some idea of how these organisms can survive on surfaces and therefore be transmitted. With the threat of infection from the Covid-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2), the importance of keeping on top of cleaning and hygiene is greatly increased – transmission from surfaces is a common way for the virus to spread from one person to the next.
High traffic areas such corridors, toilets and canteens and shared areas like collaboration areas and meeting rooms are the perfect place for transmission of germs and viruses to take place. Plan good hygiene procedures to clean these areas more regularly – at least twice a day is recommended – and make sure you’re using quality wipes that are professionally tested to kill enveloped viruses. Door handles are usually the surface touched by the most people, so they are one of the highest risk areas that need to be frequently sanitised.
It’s been proven that using reusable cleaning products such as cloths and towels actually spreads germs from one surface to the next. So it’s important to use single-use products like wipes and paper towels for cleaning, and dispose of them between cleaning surfaces. This is another effective way to reduce the risk of germs spreading amongst staff. Make sure bins are regularly emptied as well, as these can quickly become dangerous breeding grounds for germs as they fill up with all the contaminated cleaning products.
And don’t miss out the reception or staff and visitor entrance area – all touchpoints in these areas need to be cleaned at least twice a day. The entrance areas to a building are the first line of defence, and if the cleaning here is managed effectively it makes the task of keeping the premises clean and safe a whole lot easier. Make sure there’s wipes and/or hand sanitiser that’s easily accessible for cleaning hands, door handles, desk, keypad, etc., and assign someone the responsibility to make sure it’s cleaned regularly.
Avoid some of the common mistakes users make when using wipes – we’ve written a blog on some of the main ones users make with buying, storing and using wipes, and how to avoid these pitfalls yourself here.
Here’s some common areas and items in offices and workplaces which should be cleaned regularly:
- Water bottle/Mug
- Canteen/meeting room tables
- Meeting room chairs
- Washroom door handles
- Kettle, Toaster, Microwave
- Cupboard doors
- Light switches
Working from home
When working from home it’s often easy to pay less attention to keeping up with the normal hygiene procedures in the workplace, but it’s still important to have a cleaning programme in place. Contact with a contaminated surface, at a supermarket for example, could go undetected and the virus can survive for days on surfaces – presenting a risk of carrying the virus to a clean space. This could be an office or meeting room if attending meetings in person, or more indirectly by passing on to family members and they can spread it to their contacts. So make sure you’re cleaning hands and surfaces regularly to prevent this risk, especially before and after contact with other people.
Keeping your home work station clean & hygienic
Even though when working from home you’re not in a busy office environment, it’s still important to keep up good personal hygiene practices, to protect you now and into the future. Good cleaning habits like washing hands regularly are so easy to let slip when in the safety of your own home, but it’s important to keep this up, and to encourage others in the household to do so too. Soap and warm water are the best way to clean your hands at home,
Keeping your home office tidy is a great place to start when it comes to cleaning – the less clutter there is, the less places germs and bacteria can build up, and the easier it is to wipe down the hard surfaces. Do this systematically and regularly, and you’re a long way along the road of keeping a clean and safe home working environment.
Other germ hotspots to look out for and sanitise regularly are really any hard surfaces you come in contact with on a regular basis. Light switches, door handles, computer keyboard and mouse are the common ones, and these should be cleaned as much as possible.
For hard surface cleaning, professionally tested wipe such as our Clinical Midi-Wipes are one of the best options, as their proven certification and effectiveness within 30 seconds gives you peace of mind that they’re doing the job properly. Another popular product for the home environment is the Washroom Midi-Wipes – also tested to EN14476 to kill enveloped viruses in 30 seconds – which a lightly fragranced with a fresh citrus scent.
Make sure your wipes and other cleaning products are nearby and easy to access – if they’re not, there less likely to get used and it’s easy to drop the ball if you’re not working to a structured cleaning plan.
Protecting yourself at home will ensure you’re well set for returning to the office, whether full-time or on occasion – good practices and habits will stick with you and when we all pull together, we can work in a clean and safe environment.
It’s so important that everyone in the business is involved in hygiene procedures in the workplace, as we all have a role in maintaining clean and safe work areas. Whether that’s working from home or in a shared workplace with other colleagues about, we need to future-proof our cleaning routines. At Uniwipe, we’ve been supplying the medical industry for nearly 2 decades. This experience enables us to create products that are second to none in infection control and prevention.
Our range of antibacterial wipes are among the most highly tested medical wipes, tested by independent laboratories to ensure quality and consistency.
They’re effective within 30 seconds against 99.999% of bacteria – that’s 100x more bacteria killing power than most common cleaning wipes that kill 99.9% of bacteria. Our years of experience in the industry have enabled us to create products that are trusted by professionals to provide the highest levels of protection against the spreading of bacteria and viruses.
Protect your workforce into the future, with assurance. Partner with Uniwipe and future-proof your cleaning strategy.
Call us on 0333 241 9220, or contact us here.