When COVID-19 first emerged, no one could have predicted its literal world-changing effects. In particular, businesses have had to change the way they operate to curb the spread of the disease.
For many, remote work has been the best solution. In fact, even if New Zealand has been placed under Alert Level 1, quite a number of employees have chosen to continue working from home.
Sharing Creative Spaces Post-COVID
Now that things are essentially back to normal in the country, the onus is on the companies to ensure that a workplace is safe. Obviously, all businesses have always had to comply with the provisions in the Health and Safety at Work Act. However, due to COVID, there are additional factors that need to be considered.
A good example here is creative spaces, often called co-working or flexible workspaces. While most traditional offices are exclusive to one company, creative spaces are shared between any number of individuals—including remote workers, freelancers, consultants, and anyone else who may not have a central office—every day.
Contact tracing is more difficult in this case. Keeping things spic and span is even more challenging since people can come and go at any hour. How, then, can business owners ensure high standards of hygiene and cleanliness in such a space? Here are some tips:
Clean and Disinfect Surfaces More Frequently
Most offices have multiple cleaning schedules within the day, which usually depend on the size of the space and the volume of human traffic. It also depends on a certain area’s usage. For instance, restrooms are cleaned and disinfected more often than conference rooms.
For shared office spaces, the usual schedule should at least be doubled. High-traffic areas, including the lobby, should receive frequent cleanings to get rid of dirt and germs. Try to schedule these during non-peak hours to minimise work disruption.
High-touch surfaces and shared objects should also be sanitised often. These include
- light switches
- remote controls for appliances
- door handles and knobs
- elevator buttons
- stair handrails
- appliance handles and buttons (e.g., refrigerators, microwaves)
- printer and photocopier buttons
- desk telephones
- reception desks
Frequent cleaning and disinfection should also be a priority when there are high incidences of diseases like flu.
Provide Hand Sanitiser
Different diseases spread in different ways. COVID-19, for instance, is primarily transmitted through contact with infected secretion, respiratory secretions, or respiratory droplets. This was why mask-wearing was highly encouraged during the height of the pandemic.
Many other diseases are transmitted through hand-to-mouth or hand-to-nose contact. If a person touches a fomite—an object or material exposed to infectious agents—and then touches their face, nose, mouth, or eyes, they can contract the disease.
As such, frequent and proper hand-washing is encouraged to curb the spread of infection. However, it’s not always possible for people to wash their hands with soap and water. In this case, make sure to provide hand sanitisers (at least 60% alcohol) in strategic, easily accessible areas.
These locations include beside doors or elevators, reception desks, in the pantry (if there’s no sink), and inside meeting rooms. A good tip to remember: don’t place hand sanitisers in restrooms since this can be counterintuitive. Instead, provide the necessities like soap and paper towels in the restroom or wash area, and then place signs that encourage proper hand-washing.
Use Green, Hypoallergenic Cleaning Products
Switching from traditional cleaning products to more eco-friendly options offers plenty of benefits. For one, they’re much safer since they don’t contain harmful or irritating chemicals. This means fewer allergy attacks and other similar health issues.
Alternative cleaning materials can also help save you money. For example, microfibre cleaning cloths rarely require any additional cleaning solutions. You may use them as is or dampen them a little with water and you’ll be all set for cleaning.
Finally, going green can have a positive impact on any company’s image. For creative spaces, this means more interest and potentially more clients.
Create Policies Surrounding Health and Cleanliness
It might seem too idealistic but it’s possible to build a culture of cleanliness and hygiene in any workplace, shared or otherwise. The key here is to draw up reasonable policies and be firm about them. Some ideas to include in your health and cleanliness policies include:
- encouraging those who are sick to stay home
- enforcing a strict hand-washing rule, particularly after coming from the restroom and kitchen/pantry
- following the “clean as you go” rule
- practising social distancing of at least 6 feet
For the latter, consider reducing the number of people allowed in a shared creative space. (This will reduce the number of people who can share the workspace, but it’s definitely better to be on the safe side.)
Hire Professional Cleaners
Last but not least, it’s a good idea to hire professional cleaners to conduct a deep-cleaning session once or twice a month, depending on how many people use the workspace. With professional commercial cleaners, you can rest assured that every nook and cranny will be perfectly cleaned and sanitised.
Hiring the pros is even more essential if there have been reported cases of COVID-19 and other diseases in or near your building.
Keeping a creative space clean is a tedious task, but a necessary one. Hopefully, this quick list of guidelines can help you get things organised so you can provide a safe, healthy working space for everyone.