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Office Cleaning Essentials in 2021

The world is now a year into this pandemic and there is more emphasis on cleaning and disinfection now, compared to a couple of years ago. As lockdown measures ease on most parts of the globe and with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, there are more reasons why office and property managers must adjust their office cleaning measures.

The availability of the vaccine would mean the possibility of returning the workforce back to the office. Employers and employees alike will have the confidence that having the COVID-19 vaccine would mean less severity (and lethality) in case you catch the disease in the workplace. This confidence might blind a few on the importance of cleaning the office, or worse, reverting back to the cleaning methods prior pandemic.

In an article published in the New York Times, researchers focused only on the severity of COVID-19 on vaccinated individuals, but not their ability and possibility to transmit the virus, especially if they are asymptomatic and stop wearing masks. Furthermore, despite different mutations, the virus can still stay on surfaces for an extended period of time.

Thus being said, maintaining a safe and clean office space is important no matter what year or century you are in. As mentioned by the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ), developing a plan for your office cleaning and disinfection, implementing, maintaining it, and revising the plan as needed, is crucial in the survival of your business during a pandemic.

In a time-and-motion we conducted during the pandemic, here are the key essential points to consider when having your office cleaned.

Need something cleaned?

“Maintaining a safe and clean office space is important no matter what year or century you are in.”

Key Points in Office Cleaning that are Essential:

  • Cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces and high foot traffic areas
  • Cleaning and disinfection co-working spaces
  • Cleaning of working spaces
  • Cleaning of walls and ceiling
  • Cleaning and disinfection of toilets and washrooms
  • Cleaning, disinfection and pest control application of pantry and food storage areas
  • Cleaning during down time (before or after office hours)

Office Cleaning on High Touch Surfaces and High Foot Traffic Areas

According to research, the virus can live up to 5 days on metallic surfaces, glass, and ceramic. It can live up to 4 days on wood and up to 3 days on plastic and steel. Frequent cleaning and disinfection is important on these types of surfaces to prevent possible contamination. High touch surface and high foot traffic areas happen to be made out of these materials, such as:

High Touch Surfaces

  • Door Knobs and handles
  • Pens
  • Countertops
  • Tables
  • Doorknobs
  • Bathroom fixtures
  • Phones
  • Keyboards
  • Remote controls
  • Toilets
  • Reception and lounge chairs
  • Water dispensers

High Foot Traffic Areas

  • Office entrance
  • Reception area
  • Waiting area
  • Toilet / washrooms

It is highly recommended to clean these areas and surfaces daily and disinfect them every 1-3 hours. Application of a disinfectant film or disinfectant shield such as CMDA Nano Microbe Shield that can kill bacteria and viruses on contact 24 hours a day, up to 30 days. 

Office Cleaning of Working and Co-Working Spaces

The office workplace setting has been dynamic in the last couple of decades. Settings in spaces such as contact centers and co-working spaces has made it possible to optimize the utilization of a space for different working individuals such as contact center representatives and freelancers.

This pandemic has shown the drawback of such work arrangement – possible cross-infection of diseases between individuals sharing the same space. Controlling the usage of such spaces between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals would be difficult. To address this challenge, it would mean disinfection of the space in between use. Tabletops, keyboards, monitors, phones and chair arm rests must be disinfected for the safety of the next user.

Exclusive working spaces such as the manager’s office or the Human Resource (HR) department’s office can be cleaned and maintained on a regular schedule, with a focus on frequent disinfection on door knobs and handles.

Prior to the covid pandemic, there has been an increase in contact centers and co-working spaces, all of which were vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19.

Cleaning Your Office Walls and Ceiling

Office walls and ceilings are less likely to contain the coronavirus, however, it can be home to other bacteria and viruses. Walls and ceiling can be regularly wiped and disinfected on a scheduled basis, however, there is a special need of attention on what is in between your walls and beyond your ceiling.

Walls with visible water stains would mean possible fungal and bacterial spores. Checking where water accumulates within the wall and fixing it would immediately solve the problem. In some extreme cases, the wall may need to be replaced, because there will be no amount of cleaning and disinfection that can keep a water logged wood from housing bacteria and fungi.

Beyond the office ceiling are exhaust pipes and air conditioning ducts – basically the ventilation system of the office. To save power, offices have turned off their ventilation during lockdowns, bringing the circulating air to a halt. Poor air ventilation exacerbates the presence of bacteria, molds and viruses.

According to a professional workplace management company , “To maintain healthy indoor environments as you phase employees back into the office, facilities need to concentrate on plumbing, ventilation, and filtration systems that filter, dilute, and remove pathogens.” Cleaning office ventilation systems should be part of your office cleaning plans.

The walls and ceiling might be hiding something, and it is not COVID-19.

Office Pantry Cleaning

The pantry may be the only place where almost everyone, perhaps including the CEO, converges with other members of the office. “Nothing brings people together like good food” as they say, but also bacteria, fungi, molds, viruses and insects.

Protocols may have been set on your pantry as to how many may occupy it, how to clean and disinfect it, and how frequent. But there has been little efforts made on pest control. We have cleaned hundreds of offices and we have observed that the pantry area will almost always have a fly or two flying, and a dozen or so insects crawling. What these offices have in common is the absence of pest control protocols in place, such as a sound food storage management system, monthly pest control treatment and a standby pest control measures such as insect baits and traps.

Current health and safety measures are focused on preventing the spread of the coronavirus, however, each and everyone of us are still under constant threat against diseases brought by insects.

There’s always a place to eat in the office. And where there is food, there will be insects too.

Challenges and Opportunities in Office Cleaning in 2021

Information about the coronavirus and covid vaccine frequently changes. Minimum health standards change depending on time and the government. Offices are left to themselves how to manage and prevent their employees from being infected, without affecting budget and operations. This has also brought the rise in searching and hiring office cleaning and disinfection professionals .

SafeGroup boss Steve Broughton, a leading cleaning firm in the UK, said during his interview with BBC, “there are too many companies seeking a market opportunity to meet the demand, that at the same time, don’t have sufficient knowledge or the right equipment to deliver an office cleaning service or any cleaning service safely or correctly.”

Choosing the right cleaning and disinfection chemicals and techniques have been a challenge as well. Most government agencies have said that cleaning and disinfecting with bleach alone is enough to kill the virus, however, it also poses a respiratory hazard to most people. Cleaning and disinfection companies have offered fumigation disinfection, while others are offering electrostatic disinfection using Quaternary Ammonium Chloride which is highly effective.

These challenges have given the opportunity for businesses, specifically property managers or people assigned in the cleaning and sanitation of their office, to expand their knowledge on correct and safe cleaning and disinfection. At the same time, it has provided more options for companies to choose which service works best for their office and their budget.

As a final word, quoting the chairman of a world renowned business support group – Michael Rust, “It is vital that businesses don’t cut corners as they plan for the easing of lockdown”.

“Given the high level of training required to use the right equipment and specialist cleaning products, the clear advice to all businesses is only to use accredited cleaning companies with a long history in this sector – otherwise you’re risking the safety of your workers and the public.”

The clear advice to all businesses is only to use accredited cleaning companies with a long history in this sector – otherwise you’re risking the safety of your workers and the public.

Do you want to learn more on how CMDA Cleaning Services can help you, your family, or your office fight against COVID-19?

Send us an email at inquiry@cmdacleaning.com, or call/text us on any number mentioned above.

Let’s all be well and healthy, wear a face mask, wash our hands frequently, maintain a 1-2 meter physical distance to non-family members, and stay at home if we can. Stay covid-free!