The recent wave of Covid-19 cases has seen the partial reintroduction of working from home. While lesser travelling results in a smaller likelihood of getting infected, we shouldn’t be complacent in maintaining office hygiene and cleanliness. Besides, you never know if that nosy co-worker is touching all of your stuff when you are away! We have broken down some basic must-dos and know-hows of ensuring your work area is spotless as ever (with an easy to follow guide at the very end).
1. Cleaning vs Sanitising vs Disinfecting
Is cleanliness really next to Godliness if you do not know how to get rid of germs properly? Here is a simple explanation on the differences between cleaning, sanitising, and disinfecting:
- Cleaning: Removes soil/dirt from a surface but does not kill any organisms.
- Sanitising: Reduces the number of bacteria in the environment significantly.
- Disinfecting: Destroys or irreversibly inactivates bacteria and viruses.
Most readily consumable products have sanitising agents (such as hand sanitisers) but are often less corrosive than disinfectants (such as concentrated bleach). Unless you hire professional services, the best and most convenient thing we can do is cleaning and sanitising.
To check if your cleaning product has the right chemicals to combat Covid-19, check this link from the National Environment Agency.
2. Get Sorted
Set yourself up for success by keeping everything compartmentalised in the first place. Keep your stationary all neatly in a container and file all paperwork properly. Not only will this make the cleaning process easier, it will also result in a much organised work station. Additionally, the overall cleaning process will be safer for liquid sensitive items such as desk electronics.
3. High-touch Areas
The average person touches their face 16 to 23 times; not in a day, but for every hour! The workplace environment is abundant with germ infested high-touch areas. Before you start to clean and sanitise, take note of the following:
- Keyboard and mouse
- Office phone
- Office chair (especially the armrest)
- Stationery (especially shared stationary)
- Door knobs
Washing your hands before and after constant use with these high-touch areas will go a long way. We don’t expect you to wash your hand after every single use of your mouse! Read on for a simple cleaning guide below.
4. Pantry Hygiene
Shared mugs and the common sponge are riddled with germs and bacteria. What you should do is let the microwave run by itself for about 50 seconds on high to kill any organisms in it first. For your mugs, you should wash it before microwaving on high for about 50 seconds. As for sponges, saturate it completely with water and microwave on high for a minute. Sponges should be replaced at least every 3-4 weeks.
5. Simple Daily Steps
Regardless of how you start your work day, you should practice below in order of the list.
1. Clear any loose rubbish into your bin
2. Thoroughly wash hands before touching anything else
3. Ensure desk stationary are in the right place
4. Wipe down the table top and armrests
5. Clean your keyboard, mouse, and office phone (if any)
Repeat these steps in the morning, after lunch, and before you leave. Use whichever sanitising solution that you prefer and make sure you use the right cloth for wiping down surfaces. Making this a habit will ensure a much more hygienic office space for you and everybody else.
The responsibility for good hygiene practices falls upon each and every one of us. Whether your office hires cleaners and professional disinfecting services or not, everyone has a part to play.