Ensuring the safety of office returning workforce post the lockdown

Offices have started buzzing again after months of work-from-home, quarantine, and furloughs. But health concerns still loom large. Although employees adopt personal health and safety measures like wearing masks, using sanitizers, and maintaining social distancing, months of unoccupied or underutilized workspaces pose grave health hazards extending beyond COVID-19. Beyond personal hygiene practices, employers must ensure that their workspaces are free of any health risks.  So, here are a few tips for the facility managers to keep their workforce safe in the post-pandemic workplace.
Read more: 5 Key Aspects of a Pandemic-Ready Virtual Field Service Office

1. Deep Clean the Offices

Deep clean the workplaces before allowing people in.
Deep cleaning is a comprehensive, thorough clean that covers spaces ignored or left out in regular daily or weekly cleaning schedules.
Deep cleaning should include:

  • Vacuuming vents, mats, carpets, and furniture.
  • Cleaning window covers and hard-to-reach places such as ceiling fans and cabinets.
  • Disinfecting bathroom surfaces, mirrors, computers, telephones, and other consoles.
  • Scrubbing sinks and tiles in restrooms.
  • Polishing wooden furniture and hardwood surfaces.
  • Sanitizing the coffee maker, microwave, refrigerator, and other kitchen appliances.
  • Decluttering desks, drawers, cupboards, and cabinets. 
  • Discard useless papers and files, and disinfect these spaces.

In the post-pandemic world, facility managers have to increase the frequency of deep cleaning. Some inclusions in deep cleaning such as disinfecting doorknobs become part of regular, daily cleaning. It’s advisable to use a work order management application to prepare a schedule and checklist for deep cleaning and regular cleaning.
Read more: Is COVID-19 a Bane or Boon for Cleaning Companies

2. Treat the Water

Pipes, toilet bowls, taps, air conditioning vents, and other ducts work best only with constant use and regular maintenance. Left unused for months, these become breeding ground for many microbes. Water that stagnates at facility bathrooms host germs that cause smells, and diseases. The bacterium Legionella pneumophila, for instance, causes Legionnaires’ disease, a form of pneumonia.
Make a list of all outlets, appliances, machines, and other devices connected to the water system. Treat these spaces and the water supply pipes with disinfectants. Remove the old, stagnant water and refill with fresh water. Flush the water several times to remove disinfectant residues. Use the work order management software to schedule cleaning jobs.

3. Intensify housekeeping measures

Housekeeping is at the top of every facility manager’s agenda after reopening.
Conduct multiple rounds of daily cleaning and sanitization. Focus on door handles, light switches, faucet handles, and other heavy-contact surfaces. Use a work order app like ReachOut to assign specific responsibility to specific individuals.
Ensure adequate stock of cleaning supplies. Have safe disposal methods for waste. Use the work order software to track the movement of cleaning supplies, including disposal.
Increase the frequency of replacing air intake filters and HVAC unit air filters. Use filters with a higher minimum efficiency reporting value rating. Provide maintenance and cleaning staff with personal protective equipment.
Read more: COVID-19: Tips for Field Service Teams to Work Safely

4. Monitor the workplace

The workplace has always been at high-risk for contamination by a toxic or polluting substance. Forward-looking enterprises draw up plans to anticipate and respond to contamination events.
Draw up a list of key performance indicators (KPIs). There is no single list of approved or desirable parameters to include in the KPI. Some common KPIs include air quality, pollution, the temperature of employees, and other parameters. Monitor these parameters to ensure compliance and identify deficiencies.
Deploy monitoring devices such as environmental sensors to measure KPIs. Use analytics suites to deliver insights from the KPI data and work on improving the factors that can ensure better health and safety of employees at the workplace. 

5. Deploy Work Order Management Software

A work order management software makes it easy for facility managers to keep track of the cleaning schedules and other precautions.
Read more: What are the major considerations while choosing to buy or develop a work order software? Check out our work order software buyer guide.
Here’s how a work order management software helps:

  • Makes it easy to schedule, assign, and track cleaning tasks. The suite generates regular cleaning schedules, detailed task lists, and workstation utilization reports. These reports help maintenance teams focus on high-traffic and high priority areas. It also ensures legal compliance.
  • Streamlines cleaning operations. The facility manager may schedule regular and new tasks, such as deep cleaning of premises, HVAC decontamination routines, regular daily cleaning, or anything else. The work order app notifies the cleaning staff of tasks assigned to them, with specific deliverables and deadlines.
  • Allows the facility manager to coordinate with functional heads for unobtrusive cleaning.
  • Offers facility managers access to live data on janitorial and sanitizing operations. They may track these activities and make prompt interventions, as needed.
  • Aids the conduct of cleaning and inventory audits. The work order software delivers online forms and checklists. Supervisors may gather information electronically through the work order app. The ability to auto-generate and send reports to the stakeholders improves efficiency.
  • Documents the maintenance works done every day. This improves accountability and may become a legal requirement if any employee who falls sick files a suit for compensation.
  • Facilitate contingency planning. Real-time data from the work order management software delivers what-if scenarios. Actionable reports drawn from cleaning and maintenance data help managers strike the right balance between employee safety and asset utilization.

Workplaces have always been at high risk for health hazards and will remain so even after COVID-19. Forward-looking enterprises deploy work order management software to pre-empt health risks and ingrain safe working precautions as part of Standard Operating Procedures. Get in touch with us to understand how ReachOut can help you schedule and manage your work orders related to the deep cleaning of your office spaces. 

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Sachin Krishna

Sachin works as a part of the digital marketing team at ReachOut Suite. He believes in a healthy and resourceful web and does his own little contributions for the purpose by creating and disseminating innovative and quality content.

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