As you prepare to welcome your teams back into the office, it is imperative that you are aware of all the relevant Government Guidance regarding cleaning ahead of the return to work.

It is vital that you consider a number of factors in regards to your cleaning in order to achieve and maintain the highest levels of cleanliness and safety across all areas of your site to reduce the spread of infection.

In this blog, we share specific advice and guidance for the Commercial Office Sector to help you prepare your offices ready for your return to work.


Reconfiguration of your office space

Before welcoming your team back to the office, it is important you take time to review the existing layout of your office and consider the changes you need to implement to adhere to social distancing measures. 

With the reconfiguration of your offices and the introduction of partitions and more segmented and separate working spaces, you will need to consider how this could have an impact on the cleaning you will require. 

For example, with more separate dedicated spaces to clean, your cleaning processes and procedures will need to change and adapt and could take longer to be executed effectively. 


Washrooms and Hand Washing Facilities 

In line with Government guidance, all businesses should increase the quantity and accessibility of handwashing facilities, especially at entry and exit points to your site. 

Providing these facilities will allow both staff and visitors to wash their hands regularly, helping to reduce the spread of infection. 

Without effective cleaning of your washrooms and handwashing stations, they can quickly become hotspots for cross-contamination, so you need to consider implementing regular deep cleaning of these areas. 

You also need to consider that with increased use of handwashing facilities will come a greater need for washroom consumables, including paper towels, anti-bacterial soaps and sanitiser. 

It is important you have a robust supply chain in place so you have regular access to these quality supplies to meet your needs. 


Frequent Office Cleaning 

Before returning to work, it is vital you have deep cleaned and decontaminated all areas of your building, including your offices, communal areas, kitchens, corridors, reception areas, lifts, meeting rooms and board rooms.

Following your return, in order to maintain the highest standards of safety, you will need to consider increasing the frequency of your cleaning as well as the quality of cleaning, introducing more periodical deep cleaning. 

One approach you may be considering is staggering the return of your staff or changing your working patterns, bringing in certain teams and departments on set days. If this is the case, you need to consider what this means for your cleaning. 

You will need to look at how you prepare the workspace ahead of them coming into work and then the decontamination of the space after they leave, so it is clean and sanitised.

Other key things to consider is the cleaning of your meeting rooms, shared facilities and lifts. 

Despite the probable reduced use of meeting rooms, these spaces will need to be cleaned after every use, as well as at the end of each day to reduce contamination. This should include the cleaning of tables, desks, chairs and any technology such as phones used for conference calling. 

You also need to consider your shared facilities, including kitchens and communal areas. 

In order to reduce the risk of infection, use of these areas will need to be reduced as much as possible, as well as the number of staff allowed to use the spaces at any one time. 

These spaces should also be cleaned on a regular basis throughout the working day, with additional deep cleaning at the end of each day. 

If you will be looking to create additional canteen spaces and communal areas within your offices to help enforce social distancing, you also need to consider how this will impact your cleaning. 

Finally, if you are required to use lifts within your building there are a number of considerations regarding cleaning, sanitisation and safety.

Due to these spaces being very confined, you need to consider how you mitigate the risks and this could be achieved through limiting the use to one person at a time. 

You also need to consider implementing regular cleaning within the lifts themselves and on the buttons both inside and outside of the lift, which are considered high touchpoints. 


Cleaning of High Touchpoints 

It is important you have conducted a risk assessment before returning and have identified the high touch points across all areas of your offices, including your meeting rooms, communal areas, offices and reception.

These touch points will often include door handles, touchplates, bannisters, lift buttons and equipment such as phones and keyboards. However each site will be different, so you need to spend time considering those touch points that pose a high risk across your offices. 

In order to mitigate the risk these high touchpoints pose, you will require increased daily cleaning so they are being sanitised on a regular basis. 


Reception Areas 

Along with your meeting rooms and offices, your reception areas will also require regular cleaning and some key consideration. 

You may look to limit the number of visitors of staff you allow to enter reception at any given time and take out the seating you previously provided to remove the risk of people lingering within the area for longer than necessary.

The welcome desk will also need to be cleaned on a regular basis and you should look at how you will be signing in your visitors or clients.

If you will be keeping a traditional sign in sheet, you should think about the use of pens and instead ask visitors to bring their own with them to sign in and use during their visit. 

If you have been using a more modern sign in approach, with the use of technology such as iPads or a portal to sign in, again you need to consider the risk that frequent use of the touchscreen presents and ensure it is being regularly cleaned and decontaminated between each use. 

When using electronic devices for your sign in, you need to consider that it will also require different cleaning products and materials to ensure cleanliness without causing damage to the devices. Especially as they will be being cleaned on a regular basis, the products used need to be suitable. 


Waste Removal 

Following Government guidance, commercial offices are advised to regularly remove waste at the end of each day to help reduce the spread of infection. 

With this guidance, you will need to consider how you will achieve this safely and effectively. 

Working alongside a contractor who can provide a quality and regular waste disposal service inline with health and safety guidance is a great solution for this.

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