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How Stringent Should Your Cleaning Policies Be When Returning to the Office?

  • Survey from the Cleaning Coalition of America finds that two-thirds of workers consider their company’s cleaning practices to be an extremely important priority
  • Nearly four in 10 said they would consider changing jobs if they weren’t satisfied with their employer’s cleaning practices
  • Visibility of cleaning practices also becomes a more important consideration

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

The widespread appearance of hand sanitizer stations and a bump in disinfectant sales was one impact of the COVID-19 pandemic seen in the business world. Although public health officials now say that the risk of transmitting the virus through surface contact is minimal, employees are still hoping that their companies won’t neglect cleaning practices when returning to the office.

The Cleaning Coalition of America recently fielded a survey to 1,600 employees and found that two-thirds of respondents consider their company’s cleaning practice to be extremely important. A total of 38.3 percent said they would consider changing jobs if they don’t believe their employer is cleaning the workforce adequately.

While 43 percent said they were concerned about returning to the office, with 35.2 percent saying COVID-19 infection rates were the greatest impediment to doing so, employees also said they were looking for adequate cleaning so their workplace would be hygienic in general. Employers have also been embracing this strategy as well as a way to help reduce workers’ sick days and improve employee satisfaction.

The visibility of the cleaning process has gained newfound significance as well. In the CCA survey, 62 percent said they would feel reassured if they saw sanitation professionals at their workplace regularly. A total of 77.2 percent said they would like their office to be cleaned daily, while 47 percent said they would feel safer if public spaces were disinfected regularly.

Some companies have responded by shifting the hours when cleaning staff are called in to the workplace. While cleaning services have traditionally done their work at night after employees have gone home, they are increasingly being called in to clean offices during the day.

The Centers for Disease Control has recommended surface sanitation and hand washing as part of a multi-tiered strategy for reducing infections. This includes cleaning surfaces once a day with soap and water, encouraging employees to wash their hands, and providing alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

More frequent cleaning or disinfection is recommended for certain areas, such as parts of the workplace that are highly trafficked, poorly ventilated, occupied by people at greater risk of infection, or lack access to hand washing or sanitizer. More frequent cleaning should also be done for high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, toilets, hand rails, and light switches.

The CDC says deeper cleaning should take place if a sick person or someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 has been in the facility within the last 24 hours. These steps include closing off the space they occupied, waiting as long as possible to clean or disinfect the area, and take precautions such as improving ventilation and wearing a mask and gloves while cleaning the area.

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