Approaches to Cleanliness in the Workplace Post COVID-19

Author:

Allison Towles, NCIDQ, CID Senior Interior Designer

Category:

  • Design

Posted:

July 28, 2020

As we work to understand when and how we will return to the office and implement proper COVID-19 safeguarding and protocols, the word cleanliness seems to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind.  How do we clean?  When do we clean?  What do we clean?  What does clean enough even look like?  Unfortunately there is no simple answer for any of these questions.  We can, however, take a cue from healthcare providers to implement some of the strategies they have been using for decades to help in the development of workspace cleaning plans.

Understand how your office works.

It may seem simple, but people often don’t truly understand how they use a space, and therefore management and cleaning services probably don’t either.  Understanding traffic patterns and areas where people congregate (outside of the obvious common or shared areas like the restrooms and kitchen) can have a major effect on how the workplace is cleaned.  How often is the cleaning crew in the workplace at the same time as the employees?  Inviting your cleaning crew in during business hours is one simple strategy. Businesses could also employ an Interior Designer to observe your space for a day to get an outside perspective.

Make cleanliness visible.

It has long been known that patients feel more comfortable when they see their provider wash their hands.  This is something that can easily translate to the workplace by encouraging employees to wash their hands whenever they are near a sink.  The inclusion of hand sanitizer stations in highly visible areas can also aid in and encourage workplace cleanliness.  Make it an easy, standard practice to disinfect hands.

Identify high-touch areas.

When creating a cleaning plan in the workplace, identifying high-touch surfaces is the first step.  These are spaces that are used repetitively and/or touched by many people.  Examples of high-touch surfaces are doorknobs, coffee makers, and work surfaces.  Identifying these areas can aid in the decision-making process of where to locate cleaning products. Similarly to how grocery stores now have disinfecting wipes next to the carts, workplaces should be locating disinfecting wipes adjacent to high-touch areas.

Understand your surfaces. 

Different surfaces require different cleaning, and for this reason it is imperative that companies understand how to best clean their surfaces.  In the future we may specify finishes differently, but for the time being we need to understand what we have and how to clean it.  Taking an inventory of the types of surfaces in the workplace (such as plastics, metals, and fabrics) is the first step in understanding how to disinfect them.  Each product should have a care sheet that will help in developing the appropriate cleaning strategy; these may be tricky to track down, but they certainly are available.  This is important not just for employees, but also for the surfaces, as using improper cleaning supplies can severely damage and potentially ruin surfaces.

As we’ve all learned over the past few months, we took a lot of things for granted, one of which was the spaces that we inhabit.  Hopefully the above strategies can help you take a look at your office with fresh eyes to be able to elevate cleanliness, protect your workplace, and elevate employees well-being.

Want more information? E-mail Allison for some insights, or check out her other recent blog relating to the post COVID-19 Workplace. 

Author:

Allison Towles, NCIDQ, CID Senior Interior Designer

Category:

  • Design

Posted:

July 28, 2020