Office cleaning post Covid-19 lockdown needs to step up to the challenges presented by the current pandemic. Is your office cleaning team ready for the new workplace cleaning regime?
Neller Davies workplace consultants operate in the built environment across corporate, healthcare, heritage, leisure and education. Currently, we are collaborating with our clients to share knowledge and information between sectors to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff as they prepare to reoccupy buildings after the lockdown is lifted.
During these unprecedented times we have witnessed creativity and humanity at its finest with many suppliers approaching us to ask how they can help to support our NHS clients. However, as the NHS tackles the frontline battle against Covid-19, it is they who are optimally placed to offer best in class knowledge on cleaning and infection control in preparation for the lifting of the lockdown.
What we can learn from healthcare for our post Covid-19 lockdown cleaning regimes
The cleaning and TFM providers operating in the complex healthcare sector have been conversant, for many years, with infection control and enhanced or barrier cleaning.
Business preparation and control mechanisms have been developed in the wake of previous outbreaks, both bacterial and viral, such as SARS, MERS, Ebola, Bird Flu and MRSA. These experiences and resultant sector expertise have lifted the basic cleaning requirements of hospitals and primary care settings to levels not often seen elsewhere.
Hospitals have policies, protocols, full time staff, technology and rapid response teams to address these omnipresent risks. Covid-19 is still largely an unknown quantity and its contagion profile is being closely studied. Now is the time, as they plan for workplace reoccupation, for facilities professionals to seek best practice from their hospital based FM and Estates colleagues.
Sharing this best practice can provide organisations with a simple and proportionate pathway to re-mobilising their workplaces post lockdown as safely as possible.
Enhanced cleaning, infection control and managing critical control points all require weaving in to our new corporate psyches. These new cleaning methodologies will support us to slowly bring our teams back to work and start to build up our confidence around how to operate safely in the new landscape of the Covid-19 workplace.
But does your cleaning team, whether it be in-house or outsourced, have the necessary skills, competencies and expertise to meet the new requirements, and have these been specified?
Cleaning contracts designed for infection control
Healthcare cleaning specifications address infection control in minute detail. Working with hospital infection control professionals, contractual requirements have, long since, provided chapter and verse on how to mitigate a bacteriological or viral infection from spreading within a hospital environment.
Neller Davies consultants have worked alongside some of the largest NHS Trusts for over 15 years supporting the development and sourcing of their FM requirements including cleaning.
Infection control professionals play a critical role within key stakeholder groups when we define cleaning specifications within healthcare environments. Best practice in infection control is captured within documentation and is defined across the NHS and healthcare sector through various standards such as PAS 5748 and the national cleaning specifications.
In the post-Covid landscape our FM consultants are using these standards and their healthcare acquired knowledge to support those less familiar with cleaning regimes in high risk environments. This ensures that best practice comes to bear across non-healthcare sectors as CEOs, HR and FMs consider the new challenges of the workplace and built environment.
Standard office cleaning contracts no longer fit for purpose
Standard office cleaning contracts may no longer be fit for purpose. They may require adjustment and renegotiation as infection control and enhanced or barrier cleaning now come centre stage. Training, PPE, technology and increased labour requirements all need to be addressed with cleaning suppliers and in-house teams prior to the reoccupation of our workplaces.
New office cleaning policies and protocols in the Covid-19 era are being written to focus on infection control alongside procedures to implement upon any further viral outbreaks and periods of stopping and starting operations.
Neller Davies is undertaking critical control point assessments across a range of built environments and developing control policies to reduce the risk of cross contamination within the workplace.
Social distancing and how it weaves with normal cleaning practice is being discussed and new standard operating procedures adopted.
We are seeing an increasing respect and consideration for the valuable work that cleaning teams undertake in the working environment. Organisations, more than ever, are looking to these teams and the cleaning industry as a whole to provide insight and solutions to support safe working practices in the workplace.
Whereas before the cleaning operation may have been undertaken out of hours, organisations now want to increase its profile with services being delivered during core business hours. This provides a high level of visibility, supports a renewal of confidence in workplace hygiene and promotes greater assurance and peace of mind for employers and employees alike.