Although countries across Europe are at different stages in the pandemic, Matt Hayas, Global Product Manager at Hydro Systems, contends that a clear strategy of maintaining cleanliness remains fundamental to reassure your employees of a safe environment.

The last year has completely altered the framework of most work environments. Thankfully, COVID-19 vaccine roll outs are providing businesses with an opportunity to think realistically about employees returning to corporate offices. Whether this means staff returning to the office for just a few days a week, or in smaller numbers, facilities managers need a plan in place for reopening safely.

A CONVICTION FOR CLEAN Consumer attitudes to cleanliness have changed

drastically during the pandemic. Even the accelerating rates of vaccination are not responsible for any false sense of security. The conviction that facilities must maintain higher levels of cleanliness is still front of mind, although a common concern is that changes may be short-term, pandemic-related and not long- term investments.

A Manpower Group ‘What Workers Want’ survey of eight countries suggests staff in the UK are more negative about returning to the workplace than their counterparts in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. The varying severity of the virus is cited as one reason, along with governments – such as the French – that take a stronger stand on a return to the workplace. However, “a second big factor has been employers’ willingness and ability to make workplaces safe for staff to return.”

ADOPTING SUCCESSFUL STRATEGIES So how can facilities managers reopen safely and

help employees feel assured in their transition back to the office? There are a number of key strategies for maintaining workplace cleanliness and confidence.

Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily – Cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces should always be your priority. It reduces the risk of transmitting COVID-19 and other contagious diseases. A chemical dispenser is essential to accurately and reliably dilute and dispense chemicals each day into spray bottles, mop buckets and floor care machines. Dilution systems ensure cleaning staff safety and enhance product performance by ensuring the right chemical concentration, as too much or too little dilution compromises product efficacy.

Clear social distancing guidelines in place – Space visual indicators, such as floor stickers, six feet apart and use wall posters to remind people to follow guidelines like mask wearing and distancing. Additionally, managers can limit building or room occupancies and space out workstations to reduce the risk of exposure.


Showcase proof of clean – Create confidence by making the cleaning process more visible and frequent, showcasing your greater commitment to cleanliness and hygiene. Perhaps reschedule cleaning staff for part of the workday. Also install touchless hand soap and sanitiser dispensers throughout to encourage regular hand hygiene and help reduce the spread of germs.

Keep employees informed – Communicating what precautions you’re taking to ensure a safe transition can help persuade employees during this return-to- work phase. For instance, highlight the frequency of thorough high-touch surface cleaning, new equipment in use, or that staff are using disinfection products recommended by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Coronavirus. Clear and frequent communication contributes to greater confidence and peace of mind for employees that their health and safety is your priority.

DEVISE A PLAN FOR CLEANLINESS Ultimately, safety is the top priority when reopening

corporate offices. It’s why every facility manager needs to develop a thorough plan for promoting workplace cleanliness. Even when COVID-19 cases diminish, employee concerns about workplace cleanliness and safety will still exist. If commercial facilities are made clean, safe and comfortable, so that employees can be healthy and productive, restoring office life becomes a less daunting task.

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