Every employer has a responsibility and a duty of care to their workforce to ensure that the workplace is safe and suitable for the work that is to be performed there. Pleading ignorance is never accepted as an excuse, so each employer must invest some time and attention to finding out exactly what a healthy workplace needs. The most basic provision is that of a safe and clean work-station, especially for office work. Any high-risk tasks must generate a health and safety risk assessment, and the employees in question must receive appropriate training and be provided with whatever PPE (personal protective equipment) that is needed.
Businesses should consider hiring a professional cleaning company to carry much of the burden of sanitation and cleaning of office premises. While it might be tempting to cut costs by asking employees to take care of basic cleaning duties, there is no comparison between the cleaning done in snatched minutes between office-based tasks and the dedicated care and attention to detail offered by a cleaning professional!
Must-Haves for Safe Working Environments
Following on from the previous point, as well as a safe place to work staff must always have access to:
- Hot and cold running water
- Flushing toilets
- Toilet paper in the toilets
- Soap for handwashing
- Towels for hand-drying, preferably paper towels for greater hygiene
- Facilities that are properly maintained and regularly cleaned
No member of staff should be asked to clean toilets unless they have had the appropriate training and access to proper equipment. Again, a professional cleaning company can provide fully trained staff, appropriate equipment and cleaning materials to tackle these necessary tasks.
Cleaning rotas should be clearly drawn up and fairly spread the burden across all employees for communal items and areas, while personal things like coffee cups and plates should be washed, dried and put away by the person who used them. (Or loaded into the dishwasher, should the workplace have one of these.)
However, these tasks should be thought of as ‘surface’ cleaning – which is continuously maintained throughout the day, taking just a few minutes and not distracting your employees from their jobs – which are, after all, the reason you employed them! Employees can also be asked to keep their work areas as clutter-free as possible (which is recommended anyway for data security reasons!) in order to make it easier for your professional cleaners to get on with the task of sanitising, disinfecting and deep cleaning the office to ensure that everyone is kept healthy and safe while in the workplace. The following checklists can help your employees ensure that they are doing their bit towards their own protection.
Office Hygiene Checklist
Communal areas like the kitchen and the toilets are the most likely areas where bacteria can gather and diseases spread if hygiene is neglected. As mentioned above, implement a cleaning rota, and have people do their own washing up whenever possible. Points to be included on the cleaning rota are:
- Washing plates and cups (if the individual who used did not or could not do it themselves)
- Emptying the dishwasher
- Wiping down surfaces
The cleaning crew, coming in later, will take care of the heavier duties of ensuring cleanliness in the office, such as:
- Deep cleaning the worksurfaces
- Cleaning the sink: for example, removing any debris, rinsing the sink, spraying sanitiser and leaving that to dry in place
- Wiping down handles of the fridge, microwave, dishwasher (if present), and doors to the offices. Handles are actually much more of a risk to your staff than a dirty floor – after all, no one touches the floor with their hands!
- Sweep and mop the floor. As mentioned in the point above, floors are unlikely to be much of a vector for spreading diseases as we don’t put our feet near our mouths and noses, but it is still good practice and looks much better for the kitchen floor to be as clean and gleaming as possible.
- They will also take care of those hidden, out of the way places, such as skirting boards, the tops of doors, and behind radiators – places that few people think of cleaning unless they are professionally trained to it!
- Workstations will be cleaned thoroughly. Not just obvious hygiene hotspots like telephones and computer keyboards, but drawer handles, desk legs and office chairs can all benefit from being blitzed with a cleaning solution and then spritzed with sanitiser for complete peace of mind.
Investing in a contract with a professional cleaning service will ensure that you and your staff are always as safe from dirt and disease as possible. Professional cleaners are quick and thorough, fully trained in all aspects of sanitation and able to ensure a much higher level of cleanliness in the office. Call us today to discuss our commercial cleaning services and see how we can help you.