For millions of employers and employees across the UK, working from home during the Covid-19 simply isn’t an option. As a result, vast swathes of the working population are still going to work as normal, albeit in circumstances that are anything but.
Now more than ever, it is the responsibility of every employer in the UK to prioritise the health, safety and wellbeing of their workers. Major public health bodies like the NHS in the UK and the CDC in the US have published clear guidelines on how the spread of Covid-19 can be slowed or even stopped by way of simple, mostly common-sense measures.
The vast majority of which begin and end with improved hygiene at home and at work.
Cleaning tips for improved office safety
An enhanced cleaning regime around the office alone cannot entirely eliminate the threat posed by Covid-19. However, experts continue to emphasise the importance of the following to prevent its spread where possible:
- Encourage or make it mandatory for employees to wear disposable gloves and masks, particularly when handling potentially contaminated materials or carrying out cleaning duties.
- Understand the difference between cleaning and disinfecting, ensuring all surfaces around the office are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
- Check that the products you use to disinfect surfaces and equipment around the office are effective against coronaviruses. Those that are approved for use against influenza, RSB or SARS virus are also theorised to kill Covid-19 upon contact.
- Ensure that each and every member of the workforce understands their own responsibilities where health, safety and hygiene are concerned. Provide disinfectant wipes or sprays for every workstation and encourage their use on a regular basis.
- Ensure every worker also has access to approved disinfectant cleaning wipes for electronics and mobile devices, enabling them to clean and sanitise their equipment in a safe and effective way.
- If your office is cleaned by a professional commercial contractor, speak with them to discuss which (if any) steps they are taking to improve office hygiene and safety standards during the Covid-19 crisis.
- Focus your efforts on high-touch areas around the office – anything that is touched on a regular basis by the workforce. Examples of which include touch-screens, door handles, light switches, remote controls and so on.
Enhanced communication for office safety
Along with the practical cleaning measures and enhancements listed above, it’s also possible to contribute to office safety through clear and decisive communication. At the height of the Covid-19 crisis, experts are recommending the following for all workplaces:
- Make it clear that social distancing remains a mandatory requirement of each and every employee, aside from in very unique or specific circumstances where close contact is inevitable.
- Encourage generally elevated hygiene standards, reminding employees to cough and sneeze into tissues that should be immediately discarded.
- It should also be made a mandatory requirement for every member of the workforce to thoroughly wash their hands on a more regular basis.
- Under no circumstances should any member of the workforce who is experiencing even the mildest symptoms of any potential coronavirus (including the common cold or the flu) be allowed on the premises.
- Clearly communicate all of the efforts being made to keep your workplace safe and hygienic during the Covid-19, in order to both remind and reassure your employees that you are doing everything you can to safeguard their health.
- Create a comprehensive cleaning checklist and rota for the office, which goes beyond your usual cleaning regime. Ensure high-touch areas like desks and electronic devices are cleaned regularly throughout the day.
- Provide signage around the office to continuously remind workers of the importance of working together to create a safe and healthy working environment.
- Talk directly with your employees on a regular basis and ensure they know they can approach you any time with their questions or concerns about the Covid-19 crisis.
While improved cleanliness alone cannot stop Covid-19 in its tracks, it has the potential to prevent unnecessary transmissions of the virus in the workplace.
As an employer, it is your responsibility to stay up to date with the latest developments, recommendations and requirements from leading health authorities for the benefit of your workforce.