Flu season is upon us, and preparing your office space is essential. The health and wellness of employees is a top priority for any business owner, and offices are one of the most common spaces where viruses and germs can spread. Cleaning your business during flu season is crucial if you want to prevent sudden outbreaks and a loss of productivity. To help you prepare, here are a few tips to keep your office clean during flu season.
1. Promote Proper Sanitation
Proper sanitation is a must if you want to keep your office clean during flu season. The influenza virus can easily spread through airborne saliva particles, and it can live on hard surfaces for 24 to 48 hours. It can survive up to 12 hours on soft surfaces like cloth or tissue, which is more than enough time to transmit during a workday.
Encourage your staff to practice proper sanitation whenever possible. Make hand sanitizer readily available, and make it a rule to regularly sanitize surfaces in common areas, including desks, conference tables, kitchen counters, and any other high-touch areas. A strong disinfectant will kill the virus on contact, preventing the spread to other people.
2. Use High-Grade Cleaning Products
It’s also essential to use high-quality cleaning products. While you may be tempted to save money by buying cheap soap and disinfectant in bulk, it could also backfire if the products you purchase are too watered down to be effective. While using the absolute strongest industrial disinfectant on the market isn’t necessary, you should invest in quality cleaning products to keep your business clean during flu season.
Pay attention to the labels, and don’t fall for marketing claims about “killing 99.99% of germs.” If you read the fine print, a cleaning product will list the actual viruses that it neutralizes. For instance, you’ll find a statement like “Kills Rhinovirus Type 39 and Influenza A Virus (H1N1) on hard, non-porous surfaces in 30 seconds.” If you don’t see cold and flu viruses listed, the product has not been proven to stop those germs. You should invest in effective products when cleaning your business during flu season.
3. Encourage Hand Washing
Although you should always encourage hand washing as a standard practice at any time of the year, it’s especially important during flu season. Any employees who interact directly with customers or business partners should be required to wash their hands frequently. You may even require employees to wear gloves if they deal directly with products, especially food and other consumable items.
You can encourage hand washing by placing signs near any sinks as a reminder. You can also bring it up during company meetings and politely call it out whenever you notice someone who isn’t washing their hands. Keeping your office clean during flu season also relies on employees doing their part to pitch in, so don’t be afraid to make certain personal hygiene habits a requirement.
4. Clean Shared Office Equipment
While many businesses are diligent about wiping down surfaces, it’s common to neglect office equipment. However, shared equipment can be a major conduit for germs and viruses. You should be careful when sanitizing sensitive electronics to avoid breaking them. But, if you want to keep your office clean during flu season, it’s important to target any areas that may carry germs.
This includes phones, keyboards, touch screens, copiers, headsets, microphones, and other hardware that employees share. Even if the equipment isn’t shared regularly, it’s smart to wipe it down periodically. If one employee has the flu and it spreads to their keyboard, it may spread to the IT staff if they need to step in and diagnose a problem. Cleaning your business during flu season requires you to sanitize and disinfect any surface where the virus could spread, including equipment.
5. Make Employees Feel Comfortable Taking a Sick Day
If you want to prevent the spread of the flu in your business, you should ensure employees feel comfortable taking a sick day if they exhibit flu-like symptoms. Give work-from-home options or allow for flexible make-up time so employees don’t have to burn through their allotted PTO.
Although you should also keep an eye on employees who abuse this policy, you should make it apparent that you don’t want anyone to come into the office if they are coughing and sneezing uncontrollably. Consider—losing one person’s productivity for the day is better than losing half the office the following week.
Ultimately, the virus can’t spread if it isn’t brought into the office in the first place. So as a preventative measure, you should make everyone aware that they should not come in if they’re feeling sick. Keeping the office clean during flu season will be much easier if anyone with flu-like symptoms can quarantine for a reasonable period before returning to work.
6. Frequently Clean High Traffic Areas
Proper office hygiene should be a priority for your business year-round, but it becomes a matter of public health during flu season. While you can do your best to spread awareness among your employees, there’s little you can do about other visitors, such as clients and business partners.
No matter how diligent your staff is, you should frequently clean and disinfect any high-traffic areas. Any time you have large groups of people congregate, whether for a meeting, office party, or conference, you should be diligent about cleaning and disinfecting afterward (or even during, if possible). All it takes is one infected person to spread the virus like wildfire and get the entire office sick—which is why cleaning your business during flu season is essential.
7. Inspect the Ventilation
Proper ventilation is also essential to keep your office clean during flu season. The influenza virus can spread through airborne transmission between people standing as far as 6 feet away. If the building has quality ventilation and new air is constantly added to the room while the older air is cycled out, it makes it much harder for the virus to spread this way.
Make sure you remove dust around vents and consider contacting an HVAC company to clean out your air ducts—although dirty air filters are a higher priority than the ductwork itself. If you have not cleaned or replaced your building’s air filters lately, add this task to your maintenance to-do list to keep your business clean during flu season.
8. Hire a Commercial Cleaning Company
Finally, if you’re feeling overwhelmed in your attempts to keep your office clean during flu season, consider hiring a commercial cleaning company. Professionals will have all the tools and chemicals needed to keep the virus from spreading. You can schedule a cleaning crew to come on a routine basis and ensure everything is properly sanitized as needed.
Seattle Commercial Cleaners is happy to help you clean your office during flu season. From disinfecting to high dusting, we do it all and will leverage our many years of experience to ensure your office is spotless and sanitary. For more information about cleaning services, call us at (206) 755-2949 or visit our contact page.