Don’t let your workplace become Ground Zero for flu – 5 Tips for Employers
Flu season is starting earlier each year and brings with it the threat of staff illness, absenteeism and reduced productivity. As a cleaning management company, we’re on the front line with businesses because what we do (and how well we do it), can have a dramatic impact on how flu season plays out in your workplace.
If our cleaners aren’t using sanitisers and disinfectants at the right dilution, don’t wipe touch points like door handles where germs spread or share used cloths between sites, it makes a difference. Because a lot of office cleaning is done after hours, there could be a lot you think is happening that isn’t. Now with the threat of Coronavirus / Covid-19, it’s even more important than ever to take an active role in your overall office hygiene.
But before I talk about working with your cleaner, let’s look at some other practical things you can do as an employer to protect staff and productivity ahead of April’s official start of flu season.
1. FLU SHOTS
Getting a flu vaccine every year is officially (according to the CDC), the best way to avoid getting the flu. Consider offering these for free to your staff or giving them time off to go and get one.
2. SET A CULTURE AROUND WELLNESS
Don’t underestimate the importance of planning, staff training and communications that encourage a healthy workplace. Here at TCCS, we have started actively cross training employees so they can cover for sickness shifts. This has made our staff less stressed about having to take time off, if they know their clients will be looked after. We have clients also actively challenging the culture of ‘soldier on’ and sending sick people home so they are less likely to infect others.
3. PROVIDE STAFF WITH PRODUCTS TO HELP THEM REDUCE THE SPREAD OF COLD AND FLU
Provide supplies in your workplace that promote healthy hygiene, including tissues, soap, and hand sanitiser. It’s simple and it helps.
Since the Coronavirus/Covid-19 hit the news, demand for hand sanitiser around the country has sky rocketed – with good reason. Whilst hand washing is the first line of defense, (so buying soap in bulk this winter), consider spreading pump packs of sanitiser liberally around your workplace too.
In meeting rooms and at reception where hand shaking is prevalent is a great starting point. We recommend installing permanent sanitiser dispensers in areas like tea rooms: it’s going to be much cheaper and creates less packaging waste in the long run, plus gives staff access to year round, ongoing protection. We recommend an alcohol based sanitiser, it’s going to be more effective on a virus than non alcohol versions. TCCS supplies Peerless Jal’s range of disinfectants and products that are made locally in Melbourne.
4. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR CLEANER’S NOT THERE?
Some workplaces are fortunate enough to have a professional cleaner in every day. For the majority of businesses though, proper cleaning only happens weekly – sometimes fortnightly or monthly. That’s an awful lot of touching of door knobs and cupboard handles between visits!
Make sure you have quality cleaning products in your cupboard so staff can deal with these key touch points daily. And my hot tip is to do this on a budget and use commercial grade products. Yes Officeworks is convenient, but why pay circa $8 per litre for a retail product like Spray and Wipe, when professional cleaners pay as little as 17c per litre for quality concentrates and create less packaging waste. Do your homework. We can help.
5. TALK TO YOUR CLEANER ABOUT YOUR CLEANING SCOPE
Most clients assume that when cleaners come, they are automatically sanitising all the light switches, door handles, remote controls, stair rails, lift buttons, phones, toilet door handles, window latches etc as a matter of course. But if your cleaner is trying to cover a 422m2 office or factory in an hour, there’s a fair chance that’s not happening. At least, not consistently.
Now is a great time to talk to your cleaner about your scope. What do you want done? How long is it going to take? Are they actually disinfecting touch points, if so, which ones? What products are they using?
Too often a cleaning scope is defined by budget and in our industry, price is the deciding factor for too many jobs. Whilst we are potentially dealing with a global pandemic, it’s a great time to consider how highly you value your cleaner and to take an active role in a partnership to keep your employees as healthy as possible!
The actions you take and the plans you make today make a difference. Best of luck this winter and feel free to reach out if you’d like more advice. firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Joanna Baker.
First Published 25.2.20 https://www.linkedin.com/in/darren-fulford-6404019/