Q&A: How to adjust your office cleaning program in the age of COVID-19

With cleaning, disinfecting and safety the top concerns of many employees as they return to the office, you’re probably asking the same question quite a bit these days: How do I adjust my office cleaning program to deliver a consistently clean and comfortable facility for my team, clients and customers?

We sat down with Mike Staver, KleenMark’s director of operations, to discuss what you should consider when developing a new or revised office cleaning program. Staver has extensive experience building holistic cleaning and disinfecting programs for every type of facility, from hospitals and clean rooms to manufacturers and schools.

What should I do to prepare my office for reopening?

Regardless of if a limited crew has been in the facility, or if it’s been completely vacant, we recommend a total cleaning and disinfection. When employees return, each person will have a varying level of anxiety or concern tied to being around others in a work environment.

A clean office is foundational. It’s important they know that you’re taking the proper steps to keep them as safe as possible.

If no one has been in the building, it’s likely no COVID-19 exists, but a deep disinfecting will kill other germs and bacteria, too, creating a healthier environment. Along with your essential vacuuming and cleaning, consider having carpets cleaned with an antimicrobial solution and have your cleaning team use electrostatic sprayers to do a full-building/large-area disinfection.

When should I add deep disinfecting to my office cleaning program?

Once people return to the office, frequent cleaning and disinfecting is critical. How often you do a deep disinfection is dependent on a number of things. What is your industry? Have you had a confirmed COVID-19 case? Do you have sick employees? Are people working in close quarters?

Intervals may range from daily and weekly to quarterly. The purpose of a deep disinfection is to provide more thorough and broader surface coverage. From keyboards to desks, you’ll want to hit every surface during this process.

How do I reduce the presence of germs and COVID-19 in between the more thorough cleanings?

We recommend increasing or adding high-touchpoint sanitizing and disinfecting during the day or hours of operation. In this case, things like door handles, light switches and other frequently touched surfaces are disinfected multiple times each day.

We also recommend switching general cleaning products to disinfecting products. Consider adding what surfaces are regularly disinfected. For instance, you may want to have spaces such as conference rooms and break rooms disinfected more often. Any space people congregate is important to disinfect, especially as we learn that close proximity to another person is a primary cause of COVID-19 infections.

Do I need an additional day porters?

This is dependent on your facilities specific needs. Often, an additional day porter can help ensure touchpoints and other key areas such as restrooms and common areas, are disinfected regularly. Again, it depends on the current responsibilities of your existing day porter.

One thing to consider is that having day porters also provides peace of mind to your employees and customers. Knowing and seeing that their facility is constantly being cleaned and disinfected is reassuring.

Also, with the increase in awareness and focus on hygiene, people are washing their hands more often (40-60% more than prior to the pandemic, studies show). This means soap dispensers will run out faster, and more towels will be used. Each has to be replaced and trash will have to be emptied more often. All are worthwhile reasons to consider a day porter or additional day porter(s).

What should I cut or deprioritize from my existing office cleaning program if I need to control cost and resources?

We work with each individual client and facility to make sure they have the plan in place that fits their needs – and their budget.

A lot of times, we will recommend staggering services, especially those that are more aesthetic. For instance, we may switch from vacuuming five days a week to three. Or, we may extend periods between window cleaning.

Centralized trashing versus workstation trashing is another good option to consider, if it works for your facility. This will offset some additional disinfecting needs, but will also save money on small can liners and help lower your carbon footprint. Even as we work to address disinfecting needs due to COVID-19, we can still be mindful of maintaining sustainability efforts where it makes sense.

The options for designing a quality cleaning and disinfecting program are limitless. The important thing is to make sure you talk to your office cleaning company about your needs early, so they can address any questions and specific needs.


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