Office revolution – Even the hand dryer may have had its day
By Rob Freeman
The return to work once coronavirus restrictions are lifted will require a revolution in the way we approach cleaning the office.
Simon Payne, who runs Simple Hygiene Solutions in Gloucester, insists we will not just be able to turn up on the first day back and start business as usual.
And he has urged businesses to start thinking about how they will tackle the changes and making preparations to ensure they are ready.
Mr Payne said: "It's all about planning. We have been going through the Health and Safety Executive guidance but the shortest document is 23 pages so there's an awful lot to take in.
"It's a big thing. You've got factories, offices and then shops and restaurants which are all going to be going back, but it is not just a case of going back. Things needs to be put in place,"
"We would urge companies to really plan for how they are going to put in place high levels of hygiene before they open for business."
Simple Hygiene has drawn up some key suggestions ahead of reopening which include
- Ensure a consistent provision and procurement of hand gels, soaps, paper towels.
- Increase regular cleaning of all key areas such as kitchens, washrooms, meeting rooms and hot desks.
- Deep clean the whole site ready for reopening.
- Brief your staff before they arrive on the cleaning you will be engaging in to ensure the site remains safe.
- Have a clear plan with an emergency cleaning kit available if an outbreak of COVID-19 does occur.
"Everything has to be single use," he said. "Due to cross contamination the days of dishcloths and sponges are gone. Companies will have to turn to paper towels and single use cleaning cloths and sponges.
"Paper towels will become a far more regular sight in our places of work as hand driers are switched off to prevent any potential spread of coronavirus."
He continued: "With hand dryers we have got complacent over the years. If you've got a washroom and someone is carrying the coronavirus without knowing and didn't wash their hands properly, the hand drier makes the virus airborne. It becomes deadly.
"Companies need to isolate their hand dryers so people cannot accidentally turn it back on. They might think they are doing a good turn or they could come on automatically with motion sensors.
"They need to be turned off completely."
Cleaning services will also need an overhaul with the traditional post-work office cleaner falling well short of what will be required.
"A washroom that's busy will need cleaning during the day, bins will need emptying and cleaning during the day, everything will," said Mr Payne
"We need to clean and throw it away. Everything has to be single use.
"If there's an outbreak, they will then need a specific effort to deal with it which is not just about getting the cleaners in."
And the work will begin well before anyone sets first back in the office or factory for that first shift.
"Buildings have been shut down for a long time with nobody having access apart from perhaps the business owner of senior management," he said.
"So even things like changing vacuum cleaner bags, toilets being flushed and descaled and taps being run - this isn't about returning to work after a bank holiday, many offices have been closed for two months.
"It's quite a test. People are not just going to be able to go back to work and start again. It doesn't work like that.
While the task ahead may seem daunting, Mr Payne is keen to help businesses steer their way through any obstacles between them and reopening.
"If people pick the phone up, we will advise," he said. "We're doing everything we can to help. Here at Simple Hygiene we provide a wide range of chemicals both regular and eco and a large range of janitorial items and services.
"We are keen to get Gloucestershire back to work so we are happy to offer our consultancy service - no matter whether they buy from us or not."
Simple Hygiene has further easy-to-follow advice from the HSE guidelines. To receive the advice document for free or find out how Simple Hygiene can help your business, call or text 07973 841 683 or email via simplehygienesolutions.co.uk/contact-us/
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