Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Facilities Management (FM): 5 Major Growth Drivers (31-slide PowerPoint presentation). Worldwide, the Facilities Management (FM) outsourcing market is not just expanding but also evolving. The industry is transforming from a predominantly single service local outsourcing model to an integrated services delivery model. The new evolved model seamlessly meets the core needs of the [read more]
Sanitizing Commercial Buildings in a Post-COVID World
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The world is experiencing something that would be a part of our lives for the years to come. It’s not impossible to see that everything won’t go back to the way it was, even if get past this pandemic. There will be changes that will remain even after everything has recovered, and those changes will be centered around preventing the next outbreak.
Right now, as businesses are slowly trying to open up, they are still facing serious risks of contracting the deadly virus. Offices, classrooms, facilities, restaurants, and others are being re-designed or reconfigured to practice safety measures amidst the pandemic. One of the most vital aspects is sanitation. Cleaning and disinfecting public facilities and workplaces have become, not only a new norm but an important routine in keeping the community safe and the business running.
Local governments have enacted guidelines on how to safely sanitize commercial buildings, schools, or offices to prepare them for public use. The main objective is preventing contamination and the spread of future viruses when the time comes when everyone is allowed to go out.
1. Hygiene for Everyone
Sanitizing commercial businesses should also entail providing equipment or materials for their occupants to maintain proper hygiene. So in a post-COVID world, you can expect operators, property managers, and business owners to have personal hygiene materials readily available for everyone who’ll come into their premises, staff, and customers alike.
When a customer enters a building they must undergo proper sanitation to get rid of pathogens present on their clothes or hands. Hand sanitizers must be available at the entrances of the building and every stall or store within them. This is to not only make them clean their hands but to also remind them to be wary of where they’ve been and not to touch anything unless they’ve sanitized.
Employees and staff are vital for every business and protecting them is tantamount to sustaining your business. Your employees must work in a place that is sanitized regularly and just like your customers they must also wash their hands regularly especially if they come in close contact with strangers.
2. Focusing on High-Occupancy and High-Touch Areas
In a post-COVID world, areas that are frequently being touched or are being occupied with high-volume foot traffic regularly must be prioritized when sanitizing routines proceed.
In a commercial building where you’ll have a lot of things on display high-touch surfaces can vary within the location. It mostly includes doorknobs, light switches, faucets, handrails, appliances, drawer handles, tables, sinks, chairs, elevator buttons, and tables to mention a few. So it’s important when cleaning a commercial building to focus on these areas because there’ll be a lot of people that are going to be in contact with them.
A lot of people are coming out of restrooms and even after this pandemic, that is not going to change for a commercial property. They are specially mentioned by Industry Today’s sanitizing guidelines for businesses to be a primary breeding ground of contagious diseases in a commercial space. Protecting its users can help prevent the spread of other pathogens to other areas of the building and into the community, so the proper amount of attention is needed when dealing with public restrooms.
Food establishments in a commercial building are going to be crowded with people most of the time. And people are vulnerable since these stores deal with food and utensils that people put in their mouths. Paying attention to cashiers, checkout counters, and dining areas are important when you’re having your regular sanitation routine.
Commercial buildings may also have workspaces and cubicles for office work, and these areas are usually occupied most of the day. It is important to clean and disinfect tables, keyboards, phones, printers, and anything that is frequently touched by different people in a given time.
3. Cleaning before Disinfection
Sanitation must do cleaning first before disinfection, the removal of dirt and grime from surfaces with soap or cleaning agents will make disinfection more effective. For non-porous surfaces, the use of bleach or alcohol-based products is advisable to use to eliminate viruses in those areas.
Linen, furniture upholstery, drapes, rugs, and other soft items that require laundry must also be washed regularly because it is easy for bacteria and other pathogens to dwell and develop in the pockets or pores in the fabric.
4. Cleaning Tools and Equipment
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be used at all times by people engaged or are responsible to do the cleaning. After the pandemic, the demand for cleaning equipment and PPEs will not be the same as with the pre-COVID era. Since enhanced sanitation will be part of the “new normal” protection for those who keep commercial spaces will be of the essence.
Gloves, goggles, masks, boots, and overalls must be available at all times on the premises, for the use of cleaning personnel. Disposing of equipment such as gloves and other variants of masks must be done properly to contain whatever pathogens or viruses that may have been picked up while cleaning.
Tools used in cleaning like mops, vacuum heads, and others must also be washed after every use with soap and water and sanitized. They must also be dried before storing or reusing them. As an alternative, you can use disposable mop heads or cloths to after disinfecting an area.
5. Use Safe Cleaning Products
One of the things that we can see a lot from now on is environmentally-friendly cleaning products. Places like commercial buildings must use products that are safe for their occupants, and there’s normally a lot of them than most areas in the community. Products that are not EPA (or any governing body) approved might make customers nauseous or will have an adverse reaction when they come in contact with its residue.
As we rise and overcome this global adversity, we can expect some changes in our future that are both vital and permanent in making sure that we keep the world turning. We live in a highly volatile environment now, wherein our individual responsibilities affect those around us and that is how businesses are trying to adapt to make sure everyone is given due protection from harmful diseases.
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About Shane AvronShane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.
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