During COVID-19 pandemic uncertainty, ensuring safety and health at the workplace can save lives. Accurate, transparent, and timely information is essential not just for fighting the pandemic but also for reducing uncertainty and boosting confidence at all levels of society, including the workplace.
Protective measures at the workplace and across communities should be introduced and strengthened. Facility managers need to support the 2 most important objectives: facility cleanliness and the safety of occupants.
A visually clean business is a strong indicator a business is taking the recommended precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. There are also a few more visual indicators businesses can add to their disinfection program to ensure their worker’s safety:
- Placing signage that the facility has been disinfected
- Scheduling disinfection services during business hours to maintain high-touch surfaces
- Keeping hand sanitizer and disinfecting supplies readily available
The primary role of facility management in dealing with COVID-19 is to create a healthy and safe environment for occupants. This starts with sanitization.
1. Surface Disinfection is Vital
One of the easiest and most effective methods of reducing infection risk and combatting the virus’s transmission is regular hand washing and surface disinfection. Facility managers need to schedule daily cleaning practices, sterilization and determine workplace-specific sanitization standards.
Some commonly used items and high contact surfaces, like doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, tables, handles, ATM machines, may require more frequent disinfection, as often as several times each day.
2. Reliable Supply Chain is Essential
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, cleaning and disinfectant product manufacturers, and their retail customers, are continually out of stock and unable to keep up with the high demand. In such a situation, it is vital to access a reliable supply chain of cleaning and disinfection supplies. Many commercial cleaning companies offer a janitorial supply management system to alleviate the worry if supplies are in stock or managing their time to place orders while ensuring a low price.
Hospital-grade disinfectants and specialized equipment are still in high demand. Consider working with an outside vendor who can leverage to ensure there are no interruptions in your disinfection programs and who can ensure that you will get a safe product.
3. Expertise can Address Uncertainty
For many facilities managers, building sanitization means exploring new products and practices that address coronavirus-specific concerns. To synthesize all the information about the virus and to follow the guidance issued by The World Health Organization and other leading health organizations, you will need expert input.
It’s critical to have a comprehensive disinfecting and cleaning plan tailored to your facility to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus during an outbreak. For facility managers who already have disinfecting and cleaning programs that address seasonal influenza outbreaks, planning for COVID-19 may involve updating those plans to address the specific exposure risks, sources of exposure, routes of transmission, and other unique characteristics of COVID-19.
4. What To Expect in the Future
It’s important that facility managers use this time to examine the best trends and practices that may become future standards. Preparedness is crucial to mitigate impacts and increase resilience. Many of the disinfection and hygiene practices you adopt now will become part of your everyday routine, as occupants will likely be more conscious of cleaning protocols moving forward.
You may find that your facility is better equipped to face seasonal flue challenges and other possible transmissive epidemic diseases among occupants in the facility.
Difficult times always produce innovations.
Tackling the challenges of COVID-19 will ultimately make you a wiser and more effective facility manager.
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