By Robert Moore
Employees are returning to the office both in full-time and hybrid capacities. Whether employees started a new job during the pandemic or are entering the workforce, there are many employees experiencing their offices for the first time.
According to Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index Report, 50 percent of business leaders say their company is currently or planning to focus on requiring full-time in-person work in the year ahead. With the transition back to the office, it is essential for office facilities to be in their best condition to make a great first impression while keeping employees safe and healthy.
However, facility executives are facing post-pandemic cleanliness requirements with essential supplies on backorder as well as a restricted labor pool. This current environment makes keeping buildings clean a challenge, but when companies streamline cleaning processes, saving time and energy, all while reducing the amount of cleaning supplies they buy, those savings add up!
Here are continuous improvement tips to stop the spread of illness, while maintaining a healthy bottom line.
Removing Unnecessary Clutter And Organize
Neuroscientists at Princeton University found that a cluttered office pulls your attention away from your work, resulting in less productivity. MRIs also revealed a reduced ability to focus and process information in a cluttered space, when compared to a clear one. Therefore, the first step to creating a productive and welcoming workplace is to eliminate unnecessary items on desks, shared surfaces, kitchens, restrooms, and conference rooms. Not only does it create a more productive environment, but it also allows for more space to be effectively disinfected and cleaned when there is less clutter.
Then, make sure products and equipment are easy to find, get, and return. Hanging signs, labeling drawers, and making products accessible creates a welcoming environment and causes less confusion for new employees who are entering the office space for the first time. Organization of supplies is also important to ensure that cleaning staff can quickly locate, retrieve, and return cleaning products and equipment to storage closets.
As more employees return to the office, it is important for office and custodial staff to keep the cleanliness consistent, so employees and customers see the company’s long-term efforts. Make cleaning schedules to follow every day and keep extra soap, cleaning supplies, and hand towels stocked in the office. This allows for the office and employees to be their best every day.
Eliminating guesswork from the cleaning process ensures the facility is being cleaned and disinfected the same way, every day. The facility should also include standardized directions for maintaining new low-touch technology such as printers, monitors, and door entry. Veritiv recommends touch-free restrooms including automatic dispensers, sinks, towel and tissue dispensers and toilets. This reduces cross-contamination, waste, and refill maintenance, as well as restroom visitors prefer the convenience of touchless fixtures and hygienic environments.
Making A Lasting Impact On The Office
Keeping an office clean and productive is not an overnight task. It’s important during the return to office and beyond that there are long-standing processes in place that can be adjusted and changed as needed. Listening to new employees, custodians, IT teams, and partnering with advisors to set your business up for success will create the most productive and healthy environment.
Moore is the Director of Category Management at Veritiv, a leading business-to-business provider of facility solutions.