Sanitizing the most important locations in your office
As we noted in our previous blog post, the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs that it will politely stop with the coming fall. We point out how it will take long-term plans and procedures to ensure office-work, employment, and our economy as a whole continue on as strongly and safely as possible.
The number one strategy to remaining open is to make sure you are up-to-date and knowledgeable about the best practices for combatting the coronavirus (and most viruses in general).
Doing a deep clean on everything in your office, every day, is a high-cost and low-effectiveness approach. You do not need to wipe down the light fixtures as much as you need to wipe down the light switches. That’s because the light switch is a high touch point surface: a surface that sees an increased average of human contact. These are the locations in your office most in need of daily, rigorous sanitization as they pose the greatest risk of being points of transmission.
The big 3 locations to keep an eye out for are restrooms, employee desks, and break rooms.
Luckily, we all know public bathrooms need regular sanitization. Traffic through restrooms is both unsanitary without hand washing and, in the case of the pandemic, difficult to track for the purposes of contact tracing. Toilets, sink handles, and towel dispensers are all high touch point surfaces in need of at least daily sanitization and disinfecting with recommended cleaners.
An employee’s desk is where they sit most of the time. Although there is less traffic through a desk or cubicle compared to a restroom, there are still risks. High touch point surfaces like keyboards, computer mice, and desk phones provide a vector for transmission—especially in the case of rotating shifts where employees share the same desk. These stations deserve sanitization and disinfecting every day or, with rotating shifts, between every employee swap.
As the Center for Disease Control points out, a potential infection doesn’t mean you have to shut the whole building down. In the case of an infected employee, the CDC recommends closing off infected areas, waiting 24 hours if possible, and deeply sanitizing any high touch point surfaces the employee may have had contact with before allowing other employees access.
The break room is one of the highest traffic areas that combines just about every factor to cultivate a virus transmission smorgasbord:
- Frequent contact with surfaces
- Friendly social gatherings
- Food that goes from a high touch point surface, to hand, to mouth.
Coffee pots, microwave doors, sink handles, all of them see regular traffic with uncountable hands. Any transmission from these surfaces could see near-instant contamination with the mouth or eyes.
It’s a nice dream to imagine each employee being responsible for their surface touching, but expecting each person in the break room to wipe down their handles is unrealistic. These high point surfaces should see regular sanitization—same as desks: at the end of the work day or between each shift if possible.
Additional Unlikely Culprits
Some additional high touch point surfaces can easily fall under the radar. The idea of mopping an elevator floor every day may sound silly, but what about the buttons? According to Cleanlink and industry consultant J. Darrel Hicks, “…elevator buttons and handrails are more contaminated than the toilet seat in the restroom because the toilet seat gets disinfected more than those other common points…”
Other surfaces to pay attention to may include other buttons like the ones you find on water fountains and vending machines. Handrails and balcony guardrails also see heavy touch traffic. It’s important to take an inventory around your office and determine the high touch points that deserve special attention.
How do we move forward?
These high touch point surfaces are not new, but ensuring their sanitization is very much a matter of heightened safety. While the pandemic continues on, it is vital that cleaning these high touch point surfaces becomes the new routine of ensuring office safety. If you find yourself overwhelmed or confused with the task ahead, we here at Maintenance One want to help.
Request a proposal and we can advise you on your unique needs regarding high touch points, while also providing you our expert sanitization service during these times when a clean environment is more important than ever.