Workplace hygiene has never been more important. With the UK set to face a cold winter – especially considering the soaring price of gas and electric bills – it is imperative that workspaces and offices have measures in place to limit the spread of infections. And with evidence suggesting the Northern Hemisphere is on course for a surge of COVID-19 cases this winter1, any additional facilities or policies to protect yourself and your colleagues will be welcomed. Here, Chris Wootton, Managing Director of the domestic cleaning company, Poppies, provides his top tips on how businesses can put measures in place now to protect against infection risks for the winter season ahead.
Have quick access to disinfectant and other cleaning products
The ‘seasonal sniffle’ is almost an inevitability, but with workplaces forced to think about more serious issues this winter, workforces must have access to sanitiser, disinfectant and other products that will help reduce the spread of infections. Even simple products such as facial tissues can help this effort massively. Placing a few boxes around the workplace for quick and easy access can help keep infections at bay and under control.
Regularly wipe down common touchpoints
Regularly disinfecting shared workspaces is vital when team members are most likely experiencing a seasonal cold. However, regardless of the time of year, a workplace cleaning routine should always have a strong focus on the most common touch points and areas with a lot of foot traffic. The most common areas include keyboards, phones, seats and door handles. Guidelines suggest that these spaces should be disinfected at least twice a day, but there’s never any harm in doing it more frequently.
Reduce clutter on your desk
One of the most important tips for boosting winter hygiene involves keeping your desk or personal workspace as clear as possible. While your personal hygiene is imperative, it is only half the battle, with cluttered desks generally carrying more germs and foreign bacteria. Put simply, more clutter means you will have more to keep clean. While desk mascots and memorabilia are a lovely sentiment, it may be best to pack them away over the colder months.
Keep workplaces well ventilated
We have all been well-educated on how infections spread in unventilated environments over the last few years. Bringing fresh air into a room and removing older stale air, that can contain virus particles, reduces the chance of spreading respiratory infections2. While the winter months make us want to wrap up warm and close all the windows, it is vital that you sporadically open a window to help eradicate airborne viruses. As well as this, regularly opening a window is a great way to freshen up an office when the heaters will most likely be on.
Ensure hygiene is a joint effort
None of these measures mean anything without a shared commitment from a whole workforce. While remote work has increased dramatically, we still share a lot of time face-to-face with our colleagues. In fact, we still spend 25-30% of our whole time in the workplace3. This means that workplaces must be well maintained by every member of the team, no matter how much or how little time they spend in the office.
There are plenty of ways you can keep infection risk under control and maintain good workspace hygiene. We have all become acutely aware of the risk associated with spreading germs, so, if you do feel unwell this winter, the best measure you can put in place for yourself is ‘don’t be a hero’ – either work from home or take time to recover to protect those you work with.
Maintaining workplace hygiene is a vital practice regardless of the time of the year. But with the winter being the least forgiving season when it comes to spreading infections, it is more important than ever to ensure there are measures in place for your own and your colleagues’ safety. It’s never a bad idea to seek professional help when making sure a workplace’s hygiene is spick and span!
For more information, visit Poppies' dedicated page
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