Office cleaning has never been more important for the health and safety of workers, customers and your company’s reputation. COVID-19 restrictions forced the great work-from-home experiment on white collar employees around the world. As restrictions ease, many are wondering what it will take to get those workers back in the office and at their desks.
The experts agree that it will not be easy. “We were thrown into this situation quickly,” says Alan Gerencer, principal at ZGF Architects in an article published in Oregon Business News. “Coming back will be gradual and require trust and flexibility.”
Still, some 60% of workers expect to be back in the office in early 2021. Providing a clean, hygienic workplace will be key in ensuring safety and comfort while building that much-needed trust. After all, employees spend nearly one third of their lives at work. Cluttered, dusty or just plain dirty environments were always disheartening.
Now they signal a poorly run organization that cares little about their staff’s—or their customer’s–health and welfare.
Office cleaning may be vital but it is not easy. That is because office buildings contain a variety of spaces, each with different uses, finishes and furnishings. This means each space has its own cleaning protocols and they may not be interchangeable.
This guide will provide best maintenance practices for a variety of common office spaces and materials including:
- Keeping Lobbies Looking Great
- Meeting Rooms, Break Rooms and Lunch Rooms
- Workspaces and their Touchpoints
- Restrooms: Know your materials
Keeping Lobbies Looking Great
Lobbies function as your company’s calling card, a place to set the tone and make that all important first impression. That means lobbies have to look their best at all times. However, maintaining that level of clean in a large, heavily-trafficked area has its challenges.
To keep lobbies looking great, start with a well-planned system of walk-off mats. These mats scrape dirt and grit off shoes and catch moisture from dripping coats and umbrellas as people enter the space. Place mats at all entrances and instruct staff to vacuum them several times a day. Replace them if they become fully soaked with rain, melted snow or ice as a saturated mat will not perform well.
Even with mats in place, your lobby floor will take a beating. That is why architects specify robust materials like terrazzo, concrete or tile. Floors may also be vinyl, laminate, carpet or even a mix of materials.
No matter the material, lobby floors must be serviced daily to look good and perform well. That means removing dirt and grit, which can scratch floors and damage their finish, before washing.
Because of their size, most professionals do not choose brooms, mops or buckets for lobby floor cleaning. Some rely on autoscrubbers but this technology is expensive, hard to use and requires frequent servicing.
That is why savvy professionals are moving to better technologies. These tools remove grit, clean and dry in one pass. Much nimbler than an autoscrubber, this technology can easily reach into corners and under furnishings, saving time and effort.
Lobbies may also contain seating, small tables and lots and lots of internal glazing. Instruct staff to wipe down furnishings and vacuum upholster. A squeegee system makes cleaning glass faster and more complete.
Elevators: Cleaning for Health and Safety
Cleaning small, enclosed spaces like elevators takes on new importance as workers come back to the office. Building managers will probably limit elevator occupancy to two passengers at a time. Even without an explicit limit, workers will not want to jam in, shoulder to shoulder, for a ride anytime soon.
Keeping elevator interiors clean will boost trust for returning workers. Be sure to:
- Dust walls and ceiling using a non-abrasive cleaner
- Vacuum or polish floor
- Clean panel buttons but DO NOT spray solution directly on the buttons as it may seep inside the control panel and damage internal components
Microfiber towels are great for cleaning elevator surfaces. Remember to spray the towel and not the surface to protect elevator components. Avoid scented products as strong smells may linger.
Meeting Rooms, Break Rooms and Lunch Rooms
Meeting rooms, break rooms and lunch rooms get dirty fast. These communal spaces need cleaning every day to ensure a safe, pleasant environment where workers will feel comfortable and productive.
Meeting rooms are often outfitted with lots of technology like digital whiteboards, ultra-thin TV screens, cameras and more. Follow manufacturer recommendations when cleaning these sensitive pieces of equipment
Break rooms and lunch rooms can be one of the dirtiest places in the office. Direct cleaning staff to pay close attention to touchpoints like sink taps, microwave buttons and handle, refrigerator handles, and vending machine buttons.
Workspaces and their Touchpoints
Workspaces, either a private office or cubicle, are where employees spend most their time. Their touchpoints, think computer keyboards, computer mice, can be some of the germiest places in an office. The desk, pens, pencils, phones and headsets also harbor dirt and germs.
When cleaning a workspace, it is important to:
- Dust the area from high to low
- Vacuum upholstered furniture and carpet
- Disinfect touchpoints with an approved chemical cleaner. Be sure to follow manufacturer directions closely and allow proper dwell time.
Restrooms: Know your materials
Restroom cleaning is vital to bringing employees back to the office safely and comfortably. A dirty, foul-smelling restroom will turn off employees and clients alike. Keeping this space clean, however, is not easy.
Facilities in an office lobby may be different than restrooms in individual office suites. Be sure to identify materials before you start cleaning.
All-tile restrooms can be cleaned quickly and thoroughly with spray-and-vac technology. This state-of-the-art tool cleans walls, floors, sinks, toilets and urinals completely without having to bend, twist or touch any surfaces. Spray-and-vacs will also completely clean grout, leaving your restroom fresh and odor-free.
With the spray-and-vac technology workers simply:
- Spray cleaning solutions on fixtures and floors
- Blast away soils using a high-pressure, indoor water spray
- Vacuum floor, leaving surfaces clean, dry and ready to use
Restrooms with drywall surfaces require a different cleaning strategy as you do not want to get drywall wet. However, reaching for a bucket and mop is a mistake. These old-fashioned tools actually spread dirt and soils around instead of removing them.
Use a dispense-and-vac instead. This technology is up to 60 times better at removing soils and dangerous contaminants from floors without damaging drywall surfaces. Cleaning professionals demand great tools to get the job done quickly and completely. Find more tips, tricks and tools for keeping office spaces clean and safe at Kaivac