COVID-19 is a highly infectious respiratory disease that is caused by SARS-Cov-2. The condition can quickly spread via touching things with contaminated hands, sneezing, coughing, touching your eyes, nose, or mouth after handling contaminated objects. With the return to work policies taking effect, the government expects these facilities to adhere to the World Health Organization (WHO) regulations. Managers should adopt disinfection and cleaning measures outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO to limit the spread of COVID-19.
In the bid to keep their offices safe, clean, and sanitized, office managers should educate the staff on the need for regular hand washing and sanitizing. The office should have multiple touch-free sanitizing stations with 65% alcohol and soap, and water. Additionally, the office should have an adequate supply of alcohol-based rubs, tissue papers, and touch-free dust bins for proper waste disposal. Hand sanitizing facilities should be strategically placed in areas near garbage cans, waiting rooms, doors, and washrooms.
Practice Respiratory Etiquette.
To limit infection chances inside a workplace apart from cleaning, managers should sensitize practicing coughing and sneezing etiquette. Since the virus is spread ideally through respiratory secretion, workers must adhere to the following CDC recommendations:
- Wear face coverings.
- Avoid sneezing or coughing into their hands but their elbows.
- Cover their nose and mouth with tissues when sneezing.
- Dispose of used tissues into the garbage can.
Target Common Rooms.
According to experts, cleaning should begin from areas with less dirt and traffic and graduate to standard rooms to decrease extensive contamination. Common spaces or frequently used regions and objects in the office should receive regular and thorough cleaning. Cleaning these commonly used areas is due to studies that state COVID-19 particles can remain suspended for three hours in the air. Furthermore, research indicates that Coronavirus can stay up to four hours on copper and three days on stainless steel and plastic.
Areas one should clean multiple times during the day include doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, countertops, conferences, and elevator buttons. Additionally, the managers should ensure the hired janitors clean the cafeteria tables, vending machines, coffee tops, public telephones regularly during the day. The employees should also sanitize their mobile phones, computer keyboards, monitor, and mice at least twice daily with the provided disinfecting wipes. The CDC recommends that workplaces remove temporary objects, such as extra rugs and chairs, to minimize the required cleaning.
Since Coronavirus disease is spread through touching contaminated surfaces, businesses can decrease such a risk by limiting the need to touch surfaces through technology. Offices can replace standard doors with those that swing open both ways through pushing with the foot or install motion-sensing lights in bathrooms. Furthermore, managers can redesign their offices and provide their employees with facilities like personal laptops to minimize sharing and maximize video conferencing.
Disinfection and Cleaning Materials.
According to the CDC, managers should ensure their janitors use disinfectants and cleaning agents approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA provides a definitive list of the chemicals COVID-19 is susceptible to and the general instructions. Cleaners should follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and avoid combining contraindicated disinfectants. Moreover, cleaners can clean surfaces with water and detergents first before cleaning with EPA-approved disinfectants.
Seek Janitorial Services.
It is advisable to have in-house janitorial staff or outsource a cleaning service organization to clean the offices appropriately per the CDC’s standards. The janitorial staff should comprehend their responsibilities and be provided with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) due to being highly exposed to the virus and poisonous chemicals.
Therefore, the janitors should receive training on the proper use of disinfectants and related equipment like goggles, gloves, and cleaning devices. Lastly, managers should not forget to seek legal counsel when writing service-level agreements with the janitor and their company to avoid disputes in the future concerning their responsibilities or any misunderstandings.