During the winter months, it can seem as if the grime, damp and filth are inescapable. Mud, mould and germs get everywhere, making even the most upbeat workplace a cold, depressing place. It isn’t always easy to keep your office spick and span throughout the cold winter months, so these five tips will help you keep on top of the cleaning duties, so your workplace stays warm and clean this winter.
As the fog and drizzle settle in, office windows are often the first place in the workplace that suffers winter neglect. Quite often windows are not cleaned from October through to the end of March, and for a very understandable reason. People naturally don’t want to venture outside with a bucket of tepid water to clean windows during the bitterly cold weather. However, winter is the time you should pay more attention to your office windows because during winter the windows tend to get grubbier than usual. Not only does this restrict the light that comes into your office and lowers the overall appearance of your workplace, but it is also bad for the health of your co-workers. Condensation and the mould spores trapped on your windows can aggravate breathing issues such as asthma.
Mud and dirt from outside pavements are quickly tracked into the office. If this isn’t kept on top of, a period of wet weather will transform your office carpets into unsightly, stained monstrosities. This can give a poor impression to visitors and clients, especially in reception areas. More seriously, lino and wooden floors can become very slippery when wet, and pose a trip hazard to staff and visitors. The amount of dirt dragged into the office can be minimised by placing floor mats at all the main entrances. During severe weather, you could request your team bring alternative indoor footwear into the office, and change when they arrive. For health and safety reasons, it is worthwhile putting up a cautionary ‘wet floor’ sign if an area of flooring becomes muddy during rainy weather.
3) “Catch it, bin it, kill it”
Many offices find themselves decimated during the winter months by staff off sick with colds, flu and viruses. These epidemics usually peak during the change of seasons; when the schools go back in September, and when the real cold weather begins in December and January. Many workers choose to soldier into work when poorly and pass on this unwanted seasonal gift to their colleagues.
If it is possible for some workers to carry out their duties from home when afflicted with seasonal colds, this could prevent illness from spreading through the team. Where this isn’t possible, basic hygiene practices go a long way to slowing the spread of seasonal illnesses, such as carrying tissues, covering mouths when coughing and using hand sanitizer. You could also introduce a temporary ‘handshake ban’ for internal meetings when there is a bug going around your office. Keyboards, headsets and telephone handsets should also be sterilised regularly during the winter, especially if the equipment is shared.
Forget Spring cleaning – getting rid of all your old clutter and paperwork can really brighten up your office over the winter. Do still have paperwork lying around for months that you no longer need? Recycle it and enjoy the renewed feeling of space! A tidy working space not only looks better, but also reduces stress levels, and helps people organise their work more efficiently.
5) Eat away from your desk
During winter lunch breaks there is a big temptation to stay indoors where it is warm and have your sandwich at your desk. This isn’t great for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it disturbs people at adjacent desks who are still working. Secondly, a break at the desk is never as relaxing as one spent somewhere else. However, most importantly, eating at your desk gets crumbs everywhere; cake, soup, crusty rolls, and biscuits – all that glorious winter comfort food ends up in keyboards, chairs, drawers and desks. This ends up looking very messy, and is also very unhygienic, leading to a proliferation of bacteria and the spread of bugs around the office.
Most office winter hygiene rules are common sense, but it is surprising how quickly they get brushed aside when the cold weather begins. By making a deliberate effort to maintain good cleanliness practices throughout the year, you can help your office remain clean throughout the winter, and boost the health, morale and productivity of your workforce!