Businesses face various challenges in maintaining a clean and healthy workplace, including increased cleaning and disinfection needs, compliance with health and safety guidelines, and managing employee illness, air quality concerns, and waste management.
Office Hygiene and Cleanliness Challenges
Presently, businesses are confronted with a myriad of facility health and safety challenges, particularly in the aftermath of COVID-19, that must be addressed to ensure occupant wellness, including:
- An increased need for regular cleaning and disinfection.
- Ensuring compliance with health and safety guidelines.
- Managing employee illness.
- Addressing air quality concerns.
- Dealing With Waste.
Increased Need for Regular Cleaning and Disinfection
Regular office cleaning and disinfection are necessary for several reasons.
First, it helps to maintain a clean and healthy work environment for employees and visitors.
Regular cleaning removes dust, dirt, and other debris that can accumulate over time, improving indoor air quality and reducing the risk of allergies and respiratory problems.
Disinfection kills harmful bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that can cause illness and infection, reducing the spread of diseases such as the flu or COVID-19.
Second, regular cleaning and disinfection can help prevent germs and bacteria buildup on high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, and elevator buttons.
Multiple people frequently touch these surfaces throughout the day, making them more susceptible to contamination.
By regularly cleaning and disinfecting these surfaces, businesses can reduce the risk of illness transmission and create a safer workplace.
Finally, regular cleaning and disinfection can improve the overall appearance of the office space, making it more inviting and professional for clients and visitors.
Compliance with Health and Safety Guidelines
Guidelines vary depending on business type and industry-specific requirements, but standard practices commonly include:
- Conducting a risk assessment to identify potential hazards and develop a plan to minimize risks.
- Implementing social distancing measures such as rearranging workstations or staggering shifts.
- Requiring the use of face masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE) when social distancing is not possible.
- Providing hand sanitizing stations and encouraging frequent hand washing.
- Increasing cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, and elevator buttons.
- Encouraging sick employees to stay home and implementing policies to prevent employees from coming to work if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
- Encouraging remote work when possible to reduce the number of people in the workplace.
- Providing training and education for employees on health and safety practices and guidelines.
Businesses should also follow any guidelines and regulations set forth by local or national health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO).
Potential roadblocks may include:
- Cost - Implementing health and safety guidelines may require additional expenses for personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and other materials.
- Compliance - Ensuring all employees follow health and safety guidelines can be challenging, especially if employees are resistant or not accustomed to these practices.
- Communication - Communicating health and safety guidelines and updates to employees, customers, and other stakeholders can be complex, especially if there are language barriers or employees work remotely.
- Operational changes - Implementing health and safety guidelines may require operational changes such as rearranging workstations, installing barriers, and adjusting work schedules, which can disrupt business operations.
- Enforcement - Enforcing health and safety guidelines can be challenging, especially if there are no apparent consequences for non-compliance or if employees or customers refuse to comply.
Managing Employee Illness
Businesses need to take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of germs in the workplace.
Bacteria and pathogens spread quickly in enclosed spaces like offices, leading to illness and absenteeism and negatively impacting productivity and profitability.
In addition to the health impact, outbreaks of illnesses like norovirus can also result in legal and financial consequences for businesses.
If an outbreak occurs in the workplace and it is determined that the business did not take appropriate measures to prevent it, it could face legal action or fines.
A single foodborne outbreak could cost a restaurant millions of dollars in lost revenue, fines, lawsuits, legal fees, insurance premium increases, inspection costs and staff retraining, a new study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests.
The findings, which will be published online on Apr. 16 in the journal Public Health Reports, are based on computer simulations that suggest a foodborne illness outbreak can have large, reverberating consequences regardless of the size of the restaurant and outbreak.
According to the model, a fast food restaurant could incur anywhere from $4,000 for a single outbreak in which 5 people get sick (when there is no loss in revenue and no lawsuits, legal fees, or fines are incurred) to $1.9 million for a single outbreak in which 250 people get sick (when restaurants loose revenue and incur lawsuits, legal fees, and fines).
This could also result in negative publicity and damage the business's reputation.
Furthermore, taking appropriate measures to prevent the spread of germs can also help maintain employee morale and confidence.
Employees are more likely to feel valued and supported by their employer if they see the business taking their health and safety seriously.
Air Quality Concerns
Indoor air quality is essential to maintaining a clean and healthy workplace.
Poor indoor air quality can lead to various health problems, such as headaches, fatigue, and respiratory issues typically associated with sick building syndrome.
Poor IAQ can also impact productivity and employee morale.
Poor ventilation and low IAQ can also contribute to the spread of viruses and other pathogens.
Research has shown that viruses like the common cold can be transmitted through the air, especially in poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind today’s global coronavirus pandemic, spreads primarily by inhalation of virus-laden aerosols at both short and long ranges—and a comprehensive new assessment of respiratory viruses finds that many others probably do as well.
SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, influenza, measles, and the rhinoviruses that cause the common cold can all spread via aerosols that can build up in indoor air and linger for hours, an international interdisciplinary team of researchers reports [...].
Increased airflow and filtration can reduce the risk of airborne transmission by diluting and removing pathogens from the air.
To maintain high IAQ, businesses should ensure proper ventilation, which can be achieved through regular air exchanges and the use of ventilation systems.
They should also consider using air purifiers with HEPA filters to remove airborne particles and contaminants.
In addition, businesses can limit the use of chemical cleaners and other products that emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can negatively impact indoor air quality.
Dealing with Waste
- Waste reduction - Businesses generate a lot of waste, including paper, plastics, and food. Implementing waste reduction strategies, such as reducing paper use and composting food waste, can help businesses minimize their environmental impact.
- Proper disposal - Disposing of waste properly is essential to protect the environment and public health. Businesses must ensure that waste is sorted and disposed of correctly and that hazardous waste is handled safely and in compliance with regulations.
- Recycling - Recycling can help businesses reduce their waste and conserve natural resources. However, implementing effective recycling programs and ensuring employees are adequately educated about recycling practices can take time and effort.
- Compliance - Waste management regulations can be complex and vary depending on the location and type of waste being generated. Businesses must comply with local, state, and federal regulations to avoid fines and penalties.
Taking appropriate measures to maintain a clean and healthy workplace can improve employee morale and confidence, prevent the spread of illnesses, and maintain their reputation, productivity, and profitability.
Onboarding and managing the requisite labor and material resources in the current market may prove cost-prohibitive and undesirable for many organizations.
Outsourcing is a proven method for onboarding skilled service providers equipped with the latest training, processes, and technologies for a fraction of the price of maintaining a comparable service in-house.
Contact us today and discover why Vanguard Cleaning Systems® is the Standard of Clean® for businesses throughout Northwest Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
In Oklahoma, dial 918-960-4450
In Arkansas, dial 479-717-2410
In Missouri, dial 417-812-9777