COVID-19: Tackling Challenges and Seizing Opportunities

The uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has left almost every industry sector grasping to keep their businesses afloat.  The knock on effect from lost or reduced business has filtered down to the Commercial Cleaning sector with gusto.  That said, the cleaning industry is one that can survive and ultimately thrive as we move forward into the ‘new normal’, whilst we wait for a vaccine to be found.

Right from the start of the pandemic widespread business closures meant that there was little or no need for commercial cleaning services.  The short term outlook for many cleaning companies was bleak.

It seemed for a time that every daily bulletin from the government was issuing new or updated guidance.  Information about how to deal with the virus could sometimes seem conflicting leaving strategists at a loss as to how to move forward safely.

Challenge or Opportunity?

Why not both? Every challenge, however difficult, can create new opportunities.

Cleaning services are still a concern at a time when purse strings are being tightened, especially as many businesses are only employing a skeleton staff. But many of the larger businesses want and need more frequent cleaning as they navigate their way through a new way of working in a more responsible way.

Companies are now looking for daytime cleaning and disinfection within their daily schedule of cleaning.  The challenge with this is having the staff available to facilitate the almost unceasing and round the clock work required!

Update and Upgrade

At Brightr, this time gave us the opportunity to learn more about infection control within our local communities.  Our service offering changed somewhat with the addition of Coronavirus COVID-19 Deep Cleaning and Sanitisation in a bid to help contain the risk of infection within local businesses.

Because of the nature of the virus and it being completely unprecedented, before COVID the demand for disinfection and sanitisation services were not at the levels we find today.  We received countless enquiries and requests for help as the public tried to get to grips with the levels of hygiene required to combat infection rates. This extra communication with our clients has enabled us to respond to their apprehension about bringing employees back to work, their visitor footfall, and the levels of cleaning they should expect once they reopened their businesses.

The Reality

Once thing is for sure; the challenges will remain for the foreseeable future. With local lockdowns being enforced at a moment’s notice, the shifts in expectation of cleaning (and trying to ascertain which services will be needed and when), are far from palpable. In an effort to keep costs stable and retain your clients, the best advice is to remain in contact, continue engagement and be ready to start work as soon as you’re called upon.

Promoting Good Hygiene at Work

Every business, healthcare facility, school or place of worship has the potential to be an infection hub. The more people that reside or visit there, the higher the risk of the spread of germs and infection. Bacteria and viruses spread quickly from person to person, and we all know as we live through the current pandemic, COVID-19 is a particularly nasty virus that is passed via droplets in the air.

It has always been important to promote good hygiene, particularly in the workplace when you are in the proximity of other people. But it has never been so important as now. Peoples’ lives are literally at risk.

Since we were all first made aware of the COVID-19 outbreak, the number 1 priority has always been hygiene.

Whatever your business, encouraging people to follow good hygiene guidance is fundamental. Ensuring there are facilities available to enforce this is paramount.  Introduce signage around your workplace to encourage the use of hand sanitising in between hand washing, the wearing of face masks as and when appropriate, and reminding people to stay at a good social distance from each other.  Where an acceptable distance cannot be met, then extra precautions must be taken with the appropriate use of PPE.

Where you can provide hand sanitising gel, it must contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective against the COVID-19 virus.  Any hand soap can be provided in your hand washing areas, as the virus cannot survive on soap. Encourage hand washing for a minimum of 20 seconds (sing happy birthday to yourself. Twice!). Paper towels should be provided for hand drying and disposed of immediately.

Although personal hygiene is really important, we must not forget that viruses can survive on surfaces for prolonged periods of time. A rigorous schedule of cleaning should be put into place, taking into account the amount of ‘traffic’ passing through busy areas of your building. Common touch points such as door handles and light switches should be regularly disinfected, as should kitchen and bathroom areas. Desks and equipment, particularly if shared, should also be cleaned on a more frequent basis.

 

Brightr can help, particularly with specialist COVID-19 cleaning. Our team of dedicated cleaners can help you get your premises ready for ‘business as usual’. Whatever ‘usual’ will be for the foreseeable future!

Can Office Cleaning improve your business?

It is really important to make sure your surroundings are clean, not just at home, but at work too.  Office work usually means that people are in fairly close proximity to one another, so hygiene and cleanliness are key, especially in the unprecedented times that we find ourselves in.  There are many affordable office cleaning services available, but before you engage one, make sure that they’re the best fit for your commercial premises, in order to get the best from them!

Flexibility is a two way street

Usually you will be able to choose a time slot that suits you for your cleaners to come in, either in or out of office hours.  Each business is individual, and their needs can differ greatly, so flexibility between you and your contractor will benefit you both.

Expert Care

Your contractor is expert in looking after the cleanliness and hygiene of commercial premises. They know your requirements, and tailor their service to deliver the best possible schedule of cleaning to you.

Making your clients feel at home

A professional cleaning service can have an indirect impact on your potential clients and customers.  When they visit your office, they will note that you run your business from clean and sanitary premises, free from dust, dirt and grime.  This will let them be assured that you care about the cleanliness of your surroundings and take into account the health and safety of your employees.  This will all have a positive impact on your business.

Save time

Cleaning in-house is all well and good, but it could detract your attention from other important jobs. On the other hand, if you and your employees are busy with particular tasks, then cleaning can get forgotten completely! Save yourself some time and hassle by employing a professional cleaning service – many are geared up for specialist COVID-19 cleaning. You will then have time to devote to your business!

 

You can see the services that Brightr offer here or view our COVID-19 service here.

Cleaning your Workplace to Reduce the Risks of COVID-19

An employer’s first duty of care is to their staff, and as such you must protect them from harm. As the phased return to work is underway for most businesses, this means that reasonable steps must be taken to protect everybody from contracting Coronavirus.

The virus, just like other cold and flu viruses, can be transmitted from the carrier to surfaces, and then passed from the infected surface to other people that come into contact with it. By making sure your workplace is clean the risk is reduced, and your business can be classed as ‘COVID secure’.

Before you decide on the level of cleaning needed for your business, a risk assessment needs to be carried out to help manage risk and how to work safely and protect people during the pandemic.

There are lots of factors to consider; identifying how often you will need to clean, which surfaces are touched frequently, and whether deep cleaning is necessary every day.

Frequently touched surfaces are generally classified as such due to the amount of people touching them and the frequency in which they are touched. These can include:

• All work surfaces such as desks and workstations
• Door handles, window handles, dispensers and water coolers, taps, kitchen appliances, cupboards
• Common or staff areas such as bathrooms, reception areas, changing rooms and corridors
• IT equipment
• Goods inwards or outwards

It is not always possible to clean items or areas after every use. Implement measures to clean them often, or whenever possible. There are also ways of reducing the need for cleaning:

• Limit the amount of people in any one area.
• Clear clutter, thus reducing the need to touch objects.
• Fit foot plates to doors eliminating the need to touch handles.
• Insist on thorough handwashing at regular intervals.
• Be flexible; agree to a balanced home/office work schedule. The fewer people in work at any one time reduces the risk of the spread of infection.

Depending on the type of business you run, you may need to implement regular deep cleaning. This is a thorough clean of frequently touched surfaces, carried out at least once a day. You may need periodic cleaning; this is cleaning at different times during the day. This might also include regular cleaning of items immediately after use.

Talking to your workers is imperative; encourage them to co-operate with new measures put in place, and if you have an onsite cleaning team to engage safely with them. They should be responsible for keeping their personal working space clear of clutter and debris so that effective cleaning can be carried out.

Notices can be used to communicate the need for sanitary conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. Posters used to inform your staff of their responsibilities and to inform them of cleaning schedules will help with co-operation around your cleaning staff or contractor.

Whichever way you move forward, the situation we are in is sure to be the new normal, at lease for the foreseeable future. Cleaning companies such as Brightr have a dedicated COVID-19 cleaning team who will wear full PPE when cleaning your premises. For advice or a quote, get in touch here.

Staying Safe when Returning to Work

With business set to restart over the coming weeks, many people will be understandably nervous about venturing out to work in the wake of the current Coronavirus pandemic.  They’ll have spent the last few months in the safety of their own home, either furloughed or working from home.  As they return to the office, and must get used to a new normal, many will need reassurance that it is safe to do so.

As employers there is a lot that can be done to give that reassurance, and many practices that can be put into place in order to stop the spread of not just the Coronavirus but other germs and viruses too.

When you reopen your doors to invite your workforce back, it may be prudent to invest in a professional clean; many cleaning companies like us here at Brightr undertake specialist COVID-19 decontamination cleaning, as well as regular commercial cleaning, all in line with current rules and guidelines.

Set an example

Whether you are an employer or employee, take responsibility for your own personal hygiene.  Wash your hands with soap and water regularly and use hand sanitiser between hand washings. Insist that everyone else also adheres to hand washing rules, and be sure that light switches, socket switches and door handles etc are regularly sanitised.

Be distant

Stay socially distant from others to reduce the risk of transmission of all germs and viruses.  Personal cleaning coupled with regular contract cleaning will ensure your workspace stays hygienically clean and sanitary too.

Halt the spread

The cold and flu viruses can survive for up to 72 hours on some surfaces, and although studies are still being carried out on Coronavirus (because it’s a new disease) it’s understood that it can survive up to 48 hours on surfaces, although the infectious virus is likely to decrease significantly by 24 hours.

Be flexible

As many employers are staging a staggered intake of employees, remaining flexible will be key in the coming months.  Self-isolation is a very real possibility for your workforce at one stage or another until a vaccine or cure is found for COVID-19.  Help to contain the virus by maintaining social distance, isolating any suspected infected person, and ensuring a regular schedule of cleaning is kept.

What Precautions Should Employers Take On Return To Work After Lockdown?

We’re living in a time that is completely unprecedented.  The Coronavirus pandemic has left almost every country across the globe in severe financial debt and uncertainty, and we’re certainly not immune here in the UK.  With the government’s plan on restarting the economy imminent, employers are wondering how they can safely invite their employees back to work at a time when some believe a ‘second wave’ could see the country introduce more severe lockdown restrictions.

COVID-19 has transformed our lives in a way we never even imagined.  The impact on businesses has been immense with almost all business meetings and negotiations taking place online.

So what will happen when employees do go back to their offices?  Our habits have already changed to a degree, and these are likely to continue in the months ahead.  Until a vaccine is available, the way in which we live right now is likely to be our new normal.  So it stands to reason that we’ll be increasingly reliant on touch free technology, and social distancing will need to be enforced at all times.  This may be easier for smaller businesses, as the days of cramming hundreds of people into open plan office blocks could well be a thing of the past.

For those that have the square footage to offer social distancing, there is no reason why business shouldn’t carry on, as long as key rules are adhered to:

Non cluster workspaces

Sharing desk space could leave a lot of people feeling nervous, so reconfiguring work areas could help.  Hold virtual meetings where possible, and make everyone responsible for their own refreshments etc.

If you can, stagger your workforce; allow different people different work from home days, so that your office is at a limited capacity.

Limit tool sharing

To avoid the transmission of the disease, avoid shared use of equipment within your setting.  Devices are touched frequently throughout the day so should not be shared unless they are completely disinfected between uses.

Practice frequent hygiene and cleaning protocols

Now more than ever, employee health is dependent on a clean, safe work environment.  As this is an employer’s duty of care, cleaning protocols need to be put into place, as do regular personal hygiene measures.  Provide disinfectant wipes so that each person can be responsible for the cleaning of their own equipment, and insist on regular handwashing.

Investing in regular contract cleaning will also combat the spread of the virus which could be present on some hard surfaces for up to 72 hours if left unchecked.

Here at Brightr we have a team dedicated to intensive deep cleaning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full PPE is worn, and strict cleaning procedures are put into place using hospital grade products.

You can find out more information about our full methodology by clicking the link above.

Sorting out Coronavirus Myths and Misconceptions

As a cleaning company, we’ve been inundated with questions from worried clients about the Coronavirus pandemic. Quite rightly, they want to be assured that we’re following stringent health and safety procedures in a bid to help fight this awful disease. We’re all swimming in uncharted waters; Covid-19 is a new disease, so scientists are learning as they go, passing on the best information they have in order to try and keep us safe.

Sadly, the spread of Covid-19 has seen a spike in misinformation circulating on social media platforms in response to the pandemic.

We’ve taken a look at some of the recently circulated myths and sorted out the fact from fiction.

Fiction – Water over 27C kills the virus.
Fact – With the average temperature of the body being 37C, a virus killed of at 27C would mean that nobody would become ill.

Fiction – Drinking water flushes out the virus.
Fact – It is really important to keep hydrated at all times, but flushing the virus into the stomach is pure fantasy. Viruses are spread by droplets being transmitted from surfaces/people to people.

Fiction – Herd immunity is the best way to combat Coronavirus.
Fact – For herd immunity to be effective, at least 60 – 70% of the population would need to be infected. This would mean that hundreds of thousands of deaths would occur in the meantime.

Fiction – Blow drying your face and nose will help.
Fact – Hot air, saunas and steam rooms will not help kill Coronavirus. Blow drying your face could do more damage than good and will have absolutely no impact on the virus.

Fiction – Only antibacterial soap can clean the virus off your hands.
Fact – So long as you wash your hands with soap and water, you’re doing the right thing. Bar soap is just as effective as anti-bac liquid soap, as the pH levels mean that bacteria can’t survive on it.

Fiction – Eating garlic will help.
Fact – Although garlic has antimicrobial properties, there’s no evidence that it can protect you from Coronavirus.

Fiction – Thermal scanners can detect the virus.
Fact – They may be able to sense a fever, but they can’t detect the infection during the incubation period.

Fiction – Pets can spread Coronavirus.
Fact – There is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 can be transmitted to humans via pets.

Fiction – Vitamins and Zinc can prevent infection.
Fact – There is no evidence to suggest that vitamin and zinc supplements will help. Zinc can shorten infections of the common cold, but Coronavirus is anything but a common cold!

The best advice we at Brightr can give, is to heed the government’s rules: Stay at home. Protect our NHS. Save lives.

Coronavirus and How to Protect Yourself

As a cleaning company we have been inundated with questions about the Coronavirus, and what measures can be taken to prevent possible infection. We also offer a specific commercial service for Coronavirus Deep Cleaning.

Brightr have always undertaken our duties responsibly and so, if you as consumers follow basic guidelines too, the risks of infection can be minimised. Of course, there are no guarantees that the infection won’t spread, but sanitary conditions will help in the battle to contain the transmission of not just Coronavirus, but other germs and infections too.

So what can people do to protect themselves and others from contracting Coronavirus? Here are our top protective measures:

Wash your hands often
Washing your hands with soap and water will kill viruses that may be on your hands. Alcohol based hand sanitiser is also effective.

Keep your distance
If someone in your vicinity is coughing or sneezing, stand at least 3 feet (1 metre) away from them. Sneezes contain droplets from noses and mouths which may contain viruses. If you are close to them you could easily breathe in the droplets which will infect you.

Avoid touching your face
Hands touch many surfaces which can pick up germs and viruses. If contaminated, they can be transferred to your eyes, nose and mouth, then into your body.

Carry tissues
Be responsible for your own respiratory hygiene. If you need to cough or sneeze, catch it in a tissue. Failing that, the crook of your elbow. Dispose of any used tissues immediately.

If you’re feeling unwell, stay at home
If you have a fever or cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention. This may be a problem completely unrelated to Coronavirus, but you should phone through in advance and follow instructions from your GP or health authority. You may just have a common cold or other minor illness, but if by chance you are infected with Coronavirus, phoning ahead will allow your health care provider to direct you to the correct health facility, and will help prevent the spread of the virus.

What are the Biggest Contributors to an Untidy Office?

Having a tidy workspace can directly impact on productivity in a positive way.  Studies have also proven that a clean and tidy environment can improve mental health, and the act of cleaning itself can also help.  Unfortunately, very few workers can afford time to set aside for cleaning on top of an already busy schedule, added to the fact that very few have the inclination!

So what are the factors that contribute to an untidy and sometimes unclean workplace?

 

  • Illness

Bugs and germs spread through coughs, colds and other viruses can have a big impact on hygiene, cleanliness and overall untidiness in the office.  Germ ridden tissues can soon pile up in bins when any of the workforce catch a cold, and in addition to that there’s the mess that the eye can’t see!  Cold and flu viruses can breed on surfaces for over 24 hours if left uncleaned.  Shared use of keyboards, phones, pens and pencils will see the spread of germs multiply at an alarming rate, and pass from person to person until all are infected.  The thought leaves you reaching for the anti-bacterial wipes….

 

  • Food and drink

How many of us actually go to a designated area to eat lunch? It’s thought that a third of UK employees don’t leave their workplace during the working day, so the chances are that 1 in 3 of you sit at your desk to eat.  Even if you ‘down tools’ for a few minutes to eat you could well be interrupted by a phone call, or an important email that you need to answer immediately.  Food particles and crumbs will spread across your work space, and coffee and tea slopped over the top of mugs can cause a sticky mess.

If staff really do prefer to eat at their work station, try to encourage the use of a barrier; paper towels can catch dropped foodstuffs and be thrown away straight after.  Spills should be cleaned up immediately.  Food mess not only looks unsightly, but can smell bad too, and sometimes even encourage pests if not dealt with promptly.

The meeting room can be another haven for leftover food and drink.  If you have clients in, the room will invariable look pristine when they arrive, and carnage when they leave!  Delegate the clean up straight away. Clear away the tea and coffee cups, and bin the food packaging if there is any. A quick wipe down of surfaces will have it looking pristine again in no time.

 

  • Paper and other recyclables

If your business is paper heavy, then it stands to reason that you may have desks filled with files and reports.  If not filed appropriately, these can soon get out of hand, and what starts as a small pile in your in-tray can soon become a mountain.  Organise a suitable filing system as they may contain classified or confidential information which should be under lock and key.  Shred any unnecessary paperwork, or recycle as appropriate.  Keep on top of bins too; sort anything recyclable to make your workplace as ‘green’ as possible. A few minutes spent on this each day could save you hours at the end of the week!

 

  • Insufficient cleaning

An absence of proper cleaning can leave the premises looking lack-lustre and uninspiring.  Aside from the mess that you can see, there is also the hygiene aspect of the mess that you can’t.  Investment in a professional commercial cleaning service will ensure that all cleaning tasks are undertaken, and a clean and hygienic service is delivered.  You can talk to us about the services that Brightr offer and how we can help you keep your workplace gleaming!

Knowing the Difference Between Clean and Sanitised

Many people are mistaken when they think that because something has been cleaned, it’s sanitised.  So does your commercial cleaning company understand the difference?

Thousands of germs are spread in common areas of the workplace; your personal workstation alone could harbour millions of potentially infectious germs.  They multiply at alarming rates and are present on your phone, your keyboard and mouse, and even on your pens and pencils.  A polish and dust might make everything look clean but it won’t kill off the germs that the eye can’t see!

A professional cleaning contractor should understand the importance of killing germs, which means properly sanitising, and not just wiping over surfaces with a general purpose cleaning product; this could just move the germs around, instead of eradicating them.  The use of correct anti-bacterial products is imperative if surfaces are to be germ free as well as sparkling clean.

Business owners are always looking for ways to reduce the amount of sickness in the office, and they also have a duty of care to employees to ensure that they provide a safe working environment.  By going back to basics and ensuring that their place of work is clean AND sanitised regularly, the spread of cold and flu bacteria will be greatly reduced.  Clean and sanitary kitchens and bathrooms will also reduce the risk of any potential tummy upsets!  Absent employees can be costly to any business, so investing in a professional cleaning service can only be money well spent!

If you are looking for professional commercial cleaning services from a provider who knows the difference between clean and sanitised, get in touch here!