Is your organization’s return-to-office plan COVID-proof?
While your company’s individual Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will depend on size, range of facilities etc, here are some general cleaning & disinfecting recommendations as per Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and World Health Organization guidelines to get you started.
Most offices have been shut for quite a while. Clean them down well before employees return and maintain this cleaning protocol after working hours and on weekends.
- Mop/dust/sweep starting with the cleaner spaces and moving on to dirtier areas.
- Use 1% sodium hypochlorite or a phenolic disinfectant for mopping.
- First, wipe any dirty surfaces with plain soap & water and then disinfect with alcohol-based cleaner or 1% sodium hypochlorite solution.
- Clean high-contact surfaces like taps, knobs, countertops, shared equipment in meeting rooms etc. twice a day using a cloth soaked in 1% sodium hypochlorite.
- Clean touch screens and electronics as per manufacturer instructions or by using alcohol-based disinfectant wipes/sprays.
- Clean metallic surfaces like steel knobs with 70% alcohol since bleach cannot be used here.
- If someone coughs in a meeting room or common area without covering up, clear the area and wipe down/clean the region again immediately.
- Cleaning staff must wash hands often and wear protective equipment like gloves and masks. Dispose of these properly or sanitize well and store in a designated cabinet before using again.
- Before employees return to work, inform them of all the changes and what you expect of them.
- Conduct daily thermal screening at the entrance.
- Ensure all vendors follow the same protocol.
- All seats must be at least 1 meter apart. If you can keep alternate workstations empty, it will help.
- If you have low dividers between desks, ensure no one sits exactly opposite anyone else.
- Be sure to enforce physical distancing in common areas, including the cafeteria and main lobby.
- Keep face masks available in the office for anyone who might need one. Mandate it for anyone who has a cold/cough.
- Have posters reminding people of the new processes at high visibility areas and point of entry/exit where they need to take additional sanitizing action.
- Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers at all entry points, doorways, and anywhere that a handle or knob may be touched.
- Equip washrooms with soap dispensers that are replenished regularly.
- Make it mandatory for any employee who suspects they may have symptoms to report this immediately to a designated member of the staff.
- Cleaning staff must use disposable gloves and masks while cleaning toilets and wash up well afterward.