COVID-Secure workplace to kill COVID-19 virus

Cleaning advice for a COVID-Secure workplace

Since the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in England on 19th July, the advice has changed from work from home if possible, to promoting a gradual return to the office.  Industry experts predict that by September many office workers will be back at least some days in the office.  Good hygiene has never been more important, and staff need to feel confident that their workplace is a safe.  In this blog we look at cleaning advice for a COVID-secure workplace.

Current Government guidance requires employers to complete and implement a COVID-19 risk assessment and take action to prevent transmission, this includes

  • One-way systems to minimise contact
  • Social distancing
  • Desk partitions if face-to-face working or allocating workstations to individuals
  • Effective cleaning

Employers have a duty to keep staff and visitors safe whilst on their premises.  Keeping the workplace clean and hygienic reduces the potential for coronavirus to spread and cleaning plays a major role.

5 Cleaning tips and advice for a COVID-Secure workplace

  1. Use anti-viral disinfectant cleaner

Using professional grade products proven to kill coronaviruses is key.  Cleaning products which have been independently tested to EN14476 – the European Standard for Virucidal Effectiveness – guarantees that the product is effective and suitable for use not only against COVID-19 but also against a range of pathogenic viruses including Influenza A (H1N1 and Swine Flu).

Implementing a clear desk policy helps to keep surfaces clear so that cleaning routine are effective.  Cleaners won't usually move personal items on desks, so having clear areas will make it easier to clean surfaces, keyboards and phones.

  1. Update Staff training to ensure cleaners understand how to clean effectively

COVID training is essential so that the team know how to clean and sanitise effectively.  For example, understanding chemical contact time and correct clean cloth usage.

Contact time is the time stated by the manufacturer on how long the chemical needs to be left in order to kill the bacteria or virus.  It is typically anything from a few seconds to 5 minutes.  It matters because this is the time required for the chemical to be effective.

Using clean cloths is of paramount importance to avoid cross contamination when cleaning and sanitising.  Used cloths should be cleaned at 60 degrees or sanitised after use.

  1. Enhanced cleaning with a focus on High frequency touchpoint cleaning

Reviewing and updating cleaning schedules is important to make sure the tasks reflect the new requirements.  Touchpoints are areas which are frequently touched within an office, such as

  • door handles, push plates and stair rails
  • light switches and lift panels
  • kitchen appliance handles
  • coffee machines, printers and photocopier buttons

Identifying and focusing on these touchpoints will reduce the risk of cross contamination.  The visible presence of cleaners or day housekeepers sanitising throughout the day will provide additional reassurance to returning staff that their workplace is hygienic and safe.

  1. Antimicrobial solutions for hygienically safe workplace environments

Next generation surface protection provides hygiene solutions which are highly suitable for the workplace.  Antimicrobial protective pads and wraps are effective against SARS-COV-2 and reduce the requirement for continual cleaning in high traffic areas.  Using silver ion technology they degrade the biological makeup of pathogens, resulting in a much lower risk of cross contamination.

High frequency touchpoint cleaning

  1. Sanitisation, Fogging and sanitiser supply

Specialist backpack machines can dispense a fine spray to disinfect all surfaces quickly and in a targeted manner.  Delivering a liquid layer of detergent which dries quickly provides very effective virus control and allows cleaning teams to respond quickly to suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.

For a COVID-Secure workplace another good way to promote hand hygiene in the office is to ensure hand sanitiser is readily available.  This should be the building entrance, in communal areas and in meeting rooms.  Together with hand washing, sanitiser reduces the risk of virus transmission.  Sanitiser is available in individual bottles or in bulk 5l bottles as required.

TemcoUK Facility Services provides commercial daily office cleaning

TemcoUK provides a full range of office cleaning services which prevent the spread of COVID-19.  From touch point cleaning to sanitisation and fogging, we keep workplaces hygienic and safe.  Check out our services here.

Our fully trained specialist teams can carry out site or area sanitisations, and we work in line with government and industry guidelines.

Contact us for more information or for a free quote.

TemcoUK White Paper - Hybrid Working

How Daily Office Cleaning is adapting to Hybrid Working

The cleaning industry has been adapting fast to the pandemic to ensure every office environment is safe and inspires confidence to returning staff.  This blog looks at how daily office cleaning is adapting to hybrid working.  For more information, please check out our latest white paper.

Changes in office use

The traditional five-day office only working week is unlikely to return.  Most staff have adapted rapidly to the pandemic and have worked productively from home since March 2020.  The change has become the new norm, causing an enormous shift in office use.

Offices however will not disappear and many surveys such as from PWC reveal that one third of organisations believe they will reduce their office footprint by more than 30%.  The same survey showed that 71% of respondents plan to increase investment in technology that enables agile working.

Communication and Collaboration

Offices will become collaborative hubs, used to add value for collaboration and communication.  The aim is to foster and build the team mentality that is vital to a vibrant business. In addition it is essential for younger workers to have access to the office for mentoring and to learn and understand the business and its culture.

Team days

Reducing and changing the office space will mean that different teams might need to be allocated different days to avoid overcrowding. Offices will have to adapt accordingly.  Many are already undergoing refits to radically change the space, making it more flexible for the fluid requirements of hybrid working.

Rethinking Office Cleaning for hybrid working

Office Cleaning has changed dramatically becoming more strategic with targeted areas receiving more frequent attention.  As most cleaning providers have experienced, this has resulted in a re-assessment of every aspect of the cleaning process to ensure absolute clarity for clients. They will have pared every specification down to its constituent elements, task by task, to ensure every aspect is appropriate in this new world.

And of course every site is different.  This means significant planning and tailoring to the cleaning schedules like never before to ensure staff understand and implement new client protocols, taking into consideration use levels, social distancing and office occupancy.

Range of Solutions

Cleaning providers work with a number of approaches to cover every contingency.

  • Daily Cleaning: Using anti-viral products proven to kill coronaviruses and conforming to EN14476.
  • Reactive Cleaning: having mobile teams to quickly respond to suspected or confirmed COVID cases.
  • Preventative Cleaning: installing long lasting surface protection to high frequency touch points such as door handles and push plates, and using products which offer residual protection.

Up-skilling the cleaning team

The enhanced and precise demands resulting from the pandemic carry through to the cleaning requirements for the hybrid office, so high quality and well-trained staff are essential.

COVID training needs to be meaningful including the basics, how to clean and sanitise effectively and how to work within individual office protocols.

Alignment with Facility Manager (FM) teams

Close cooperation between cleaning providers and FM teams is key to deliver a work environment that is safe from COVID.  Implementation can be in a number of ways.

  • Matching the cleaning to office use, reflecting for example team changeover times or busier days. It should also incorporate daily priorities and be adjusted to the new demand, with cleaning schedules updated.
  • Cleaning should reflect client daily priorities and be adjusted when required to prioritise sanitisations. For example on a busy day with more staff in the office, then desk sanitisation prioritises carpet vacuuming.
  • Having sufficient stocks of essential supplies becomes increasing important. This would include for example soap, sanitizer and hand towels.
  • To give confidence to staff, cleaners may undertake more frequent cleaning of kitchens and washrooms and any communal area.
  • There is a wide range of innovative products which can be deployed on client sites to maintain hygiene and cleanliness. Examples include data driven cleaning, antimicrobial surface products with residual protection and robotic cleaning.

TemcoUK Facility Services – keeping workplaces clean

Based in Uxbridge, London, Temco has been delivering professional office cleaning services since 2001, keeping workplaces safe, clean and hygienic.

We are agile and client focused and have adapted our business in the past 18 months to reflect the new requirements of daily commercial office cleaning. We have an excellent record of professionally managing cleaning contracts, and provide a full range of services to cover all client needs.

COVID Cleaning - Adapt or Fail

COVID Cleaning - Adapt or Fail

The COVID-19 crisis has imposed massive change on the cleaning industry, moving it from being a service that was only noticed if it went wrong to being, without fear of exaggeration, a matter of life and death. Effective cleaning and sanitisation is now a key part of any business.

The extraordinary levels of change have highlighted the difference between providers who are adaptable, with the ability to change working practice quickly, and those whose systems inevitably slow the pace of innovation.

“Our business has changed so much since February 2020 when all this began,” says Temco Managing Director Andrew Philpot. “We have had our heads down the whole time, adapting our practices for each of our wide range of clients, all of which had different requirements as they adapted themselves, in particular with regard to their approach to furloughing, ranging from complete closure to remaining open with reduced staff. Cleaning has shot up the agenda.”

Senior managers are taking an interest in cleaning like never before so Facilities Managers (FMs) are talking about every aspect of the cleaning process, how things are cleaned, when it is cleaned, what is cleaned, why it is cleaned. There is no one size fits all now. Every site has to be considered and tailored like never before to ensure that new client protocols, such as split teams, are understood and implemented, taking into consideration use levels, social distancing, supplies, every consideration.”

And how has pricing been affected? Have clients been held to ransom? No, for Temco’s clients the base price has simply been adapted to reflect the cleaning that is now required to include sanitations, to give clients’ staff confidence that their work environment is safe and COVID secure.

It is a different way of thinking.

COVID Cleaning – Build Back Better

COVID Cleaning – Build Back Better

The COVID-19 crisis has been a tragedy by anyone’s reckoning and it is far from over, even though the announcement of an effective vaccine does at least give us a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. It has created a seismic shift in the nation’s working practices and we will never return to the way things were in February 2020. Now of course, the hope is that we will reap benefits from the experience, whether it is in lower carbon emissions or an enhanced quality of life. It remains to be seen if the aspirations behind the Build Back Better slogan will be realised.

The cleaning industry has had its own seismic shifts, having been required to guide clients into lockdown, through the first furlough scheme then back out again with the requirement to ensure that the office environment is as safe as possible. And then on, through the Job Support Scheme and back into furlough. Effective office cleaning and sanitisation is now critical to any business, because cleaning is a matter of life and death.

Unsurprisingly this has put cleaning under the spotlight with senior managers showing unprecedented levels of interest and Facilities Managers probing every level of the process, how things are cleaned, when it is cleaned, what is cleaned, and how often it is cleaned.

At Temco this has resulted in a re-assessment of everything to ensure absolute clarity for clients. We have pared every spec down to its constituent elements, task by task, to ensure every aspect is appropriate in this new environment and clear in its methodology. This is then reflected in Temco’s reporting practices. The information was always there as transparency has always been one of Temco’s strengths, but in these days where FMs find themselves under so much scrutiny, it is provided much more proactively.

And of course every site is different. There is no hiding place for generalisation; every site has to be considered and tailored like never before to ensure that new client protocols are understood and implemented, taking into consideration use levels, social distancing, office occupancy, supplies, every consideration.

It has been a massive task, but Temco, always agile and fast on its feet, always fast to innovate, can genuinely say that they have embraced the spirit of Build Back Better.