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!

Is Cleaning a Contentious Issue Within Relationships?

Is cleaning a shared responsibility, or does one partner do and care more about it than the other?  Is cleaning heaven or hell?  However you regard it, it’s our business here at Brightr! We wanted to find out who does most of the cleaning in UK households, and we did so earlier this year by compiling a 16 question national survey.

Our research was somewhat surprising; it seems that sexism is still alive and kicking when it comes to domestic chores, with one household admitting that they divide the work into ‘pink and blue jobs’, while another said ‘the Missus does it all’.

Our survey entitled ‘How Dirty is your Partner?’, got down to the nitty gritty about the roles and responsibilities of cleaning within UK households, with 44% of participants admitting that cleaning is indeed a contentious issue within their relationships.  Here are some further highlights from the data we gathered.

  • 69% of participants said that a clean house is very important to them.

  • 77% of participants had a male partner and 22.45% of them don’t even notice the mess!

  • 40% of partners who notice a mess will leave it and see what happens!

  • 6% of people only put a wash on when they have had to wear the same shirt twice!

  • 5% of participants say the kitchen should be the cleanest room in the house.

Within our survey, there was one question which required a free form comment in answer to the issue of cleaning relating to a partner. Some of the answers certainly made for interesting reading!  Read on to see what some of our participants had to say.

  • He is a lazy pig who expects me to do everything cos that’s what Mummy did. If he were to lift a finger to help, I’d be checking his temperature to make sure he was feeling alright. I teach our son how to do chores as I refuse to raise a lazy, chauvinistic piglet!
  • As with most men he leaves it all to me. He pretends he ‘can’t’ clean. Boo bloody hoo! I’ve even taught him step by step how to clean the loo, but he seems to have permanent amnesia afterwards!
  • Cleaning has never been a contentious issue in our house because on the rare occasion he does something, he does such a poor job that I have to do it again, so what’s the point? It is quicker to do it myself.
  • Our relationship will be ending with the issues caused by his lack of effort being one of the main reasons.
  • In general marriage would be a lot happier if men helped women more around the house. It should be a team effort with the mutual goal of enjoying spending time in a clean and tidy house and not be worried about unexpected guests turning up.
  • When did ‘because I hate cleaning’ become an excuse for not doing it and leaving it for your wife?
  • He’s happy to live like a pig in the proverbial!
  • It annoys me that the majority of cleaning still seems to be done by females. Males generally just don’t seem to see it. Gggrrrrr!
  • I like the bathroom clean. Who wants to bath in someone else’s’ DNA?
  • Not too worried which room is the cleanest, the Missus does it all, so it’s never dirty!

If you would like to access our survey you can do so here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GBLC7J8

Can Air Fresheners be Damaging to our Health?

Our places of work can often get a musty odour from time to time, particularly over weekends or holidays when there’s nobody there to throw open a window or two! It’s no wonder there can be a build-up of smells with the amount of ‘people traffic’ moving through the premises on a daily basis.  So it’s all too easy to find the solution in a tin of air freshener, and spray around the offending areas.

Air freshener exposure, even at low levels can have some adverse health effects. After all, over 100 different chemicals are emitted into the atmosphere each time we spray. It’s worth remembering that the lungs of young children, the elderly and people with some medical conditions may not be able to filter out these chemicals quite as effectively as a healthy adult, sometimes resulting in breathing difficulties, headaches, migraine and asthma attacks.

Perhaps tackling the root of the problem is key. A stricter cleaning regime will help, as well as thoroughly airing rooms to combat stubborn odours rather than masking them with fresh smelling sprays.

Here are some simple ideas to incorporate at your workplace:

  • Ventilation – wherever possible open windows for at least a few minutes a day to let in some fresh air, and to let nasty odours escape.
  • Plant life – some plants can absorb waste chemicals and odours from the atmosphere. Peace lilies in particular are perfect for this with their rich dark green foliage clumps.
  • Odour absorbing paint – there are certain types of paint on the market that will help purify the air. Decorate the place right now!
  • If you must use an air freshener, try to use one that isn’t labelled as fragranced. Try to research a more natural alternative.
  • Clean up regularly – don’t leave washing up or waste food laying by the sink. Deal with it to avoid nasty smells.
  • Bicarbonate of Soda – a natural alternative for fridges and microwaves. A small dish placed in both will absorb any unwanted odours.

These tips are all manageable on a day to day basis, but it might be sensible to hire a commercial cleaning contractor to really get down to the nitty gritty.  Effective and thorough daily cleaning will stop the build-up of dirt, grime and smells at the source.

Get in touch with us to discuss our range of services and for a no obligation quote.

FAQ Page

a:7:{s:8:”location”;a:1:{i:0;a:1:{i:0;a:3:{s:5:”param”;s:13:”page_template”;s:8:”operator”;s:2:”==”;s:5:”value”;s:12:”page_faq.php”;}}}s:8:”position”;s:6:”normal”;s:5:”style”;s:7:”default”;s:15:”label_placement”;s:3:”top”;s:21:”instruction_placement”;s:5:”label”;s:14:”hide_on_screen”;a:1:{i:0;s:11:”the_content”;}s:11:”description”;s:0:””;}

Caring for our Community

It’s fair to say that Brightr is a family run business that really cares about community.  We have been told in the past that what sets us apart is our understanding of the way our customers want to work, and how we fit in with that. Commercial cleaning is a people business and it is only by very carefully recruiting and training the right local people, with the right supervision, that the job will get done.

That’s why we decided it was time that we gave something back to the wider community; a community that supports our business by hiring us, a community that provides us with the high calibre of staff that Brightr strive to employ, a community that is rich with young talent in all walks of life including industry, education and sport.

Many organisations in and around Milton Keynes are crying out for a helping hand, mainly in the form of sponsorships, and one such was Milton Keynes Wanderers Football Club.  We approached their Chairman, Tim Reid, who explained the benefits of becoming a team sponsor.  Not only would we be supporting sport and healthy living within the community, but we’d be helping two of the junior teams by supplying their kits for the forthcoming season, ensuring football stays affordable for the families of the Wanderers players. It seemed like an opportunity too good to miss – of course the added bonus is that it helps to gain exposure and raise the profile of the Brightr brand!

What better place to start than at grass roots level? Literally!

Brightr are happy sponsors of MK Wanderers U8 Hawks and U8 Kestrels.

 

If you would like any information on the services that Brightr undertake, please get in touch or click here.