by: Josh Feinberg
With many companies operating at reduced capacities and employees seeking increased flexibility in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, hybrid working models are fast becoming the norm – not the exception. In fact, one CBRE survey found that 58 percent of senior-level global real estate executives plan to adopt some level of hot desking or “free address” in the future. That means more shared spaces, and more opportunities to share germs.
As businesses welcome back employees and look to recruit new talent in the coming days and months, ensuring a safe and clean workplace is more important than ever. Both current and prospective employees need to know that whatever office environment they are walking into – whether a new shared, hybrid model or traditional workplace – will not sacrifice employee health for an improved bottom line.
The reality is that shared workspaces increase the likelihood of virus transmission by making the work desk a communal space. Contamination of a single commonly touched area can infect 40 percent to 60 percent of other surfaces in less than half a day – and in some cases within two hours. Those numbers are striking and are likely to exacerbate existing concerns over returning to the workplace and contracting Covid-19 or other common illnesses.
Already, 73 percent of U.S. workers fear that returning to in-person operations could pose a risk to their personal health and safety. 75 percent would even consider quitting their job if they felt their employers’ actions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 were inadequate or inappropriate.
With the fear of contracting Covid-19 or other transmissible illnesses widespread, employers must adopt enhanced cleaning plans to ensure that people stay safe – and feel safe – after more than a year away.
Fortunately, professional cleaners have been working alongside independent experts in infectious disease and industrial hygiene to develop enhanced cleaning procedures and protocols targeted to mitigate the spread of viruses – particularly on shared spaces like hot desks.
For one: cleaning plans must incorporate both traditional cleaning measures and disinfecting procedures. While eliminating visible dust and grime can improve an office appearance, routine disinfection with a microfiber cloth – especially of high touch surfaces like doorknobs, elevator buttons, and communal spaces – is essential for removing pathogens. The best programs use EPA-approved disinfectants that rid surfaces of pathogens instead of possibly transferring them to other areas.
But using the best products is only the start to an effective cleaning program. Businesses must prioritize clear and consistent communication to their employees – and in some cases customers – through signage and regular, transparent updates. Companies should also consider increasing the visibility of their professional cleaning staff where possible. Round-the-clock cleaning services can build trust and confidence among employees while helping to keep surfaces free of bacteria and viruses.
People want to know that they are working in or returning to a safe workspace and that employers are protecting their health as well as the health of their loved ones. Whether hot desks or a traditional workplace model, adopting enhanced cleaning plans can not only help keep people safe but also entice employees back to the office.