In these unprecedented times, you, like many others around the world may be feeling a little low in spirits. Things may seem a little gloomy but there are rays of positivity shining through.  

I’ve put together a little blog on some of the lovely things which I’ve seen in the last few days in the hope of sharing a little happiness.  

Rainbows Pictures Springing up in Windows 

The trend started online, following the closure of UK schools on Friday 20th March.  

With the view of “spreading hope” the rainbows also provide a lovely bit of positivity for when you are out and about during your daily exercise. If you’re out for a walk / run / cycle, see how many are around in your area.  

Balcony Singing, Italy

You’ve more than likely seen some of the balcony singing taking place throughout Italy recently.  

Here’s one of the best video’s I’ve seen of music bringing people together, boosting morale and staying positive.  

Fortunately for my neighbours, I won’t be recreating this anytime soon! 

 

 

Connecting More  

 Last week I downloaded the “House Party” app. It’s essentially a video call app with function for multiple participants. It’s less formal than other video calling platforms such as Microsoft Teams and really simple to use. My family all enjoyed a drink and a catch up together on Mother’s Day via the app with extended family from further away too. Something which we most likely wouldn’t have done without the social distancing measures in place. Somehow, I think we all feel the need to connect even more with people at the moment.  

Support for our NHS workers 

On Thursday 26th March, Lincoln Cathedral will glow blue as a mark of support to our amazing NHS workers: 

This will be followed by the Nationwide “Clap for our Carers” campaign at 8pmWhereby, people across the UK can clap from their gardens, front doors and balconies to show their support and give thanks to doctors, nurses, carers, GPs, pharmacists and other NHS staff, working tirelessly to help those affected by the coronavirus. 

Supermarkets are already showing their gratitude to NHS workers such as in this clip from Tesco in Swansea, where staff applauded and gave flowers during designated NHS staff shopping hour. 

 

And finally, a brilliant video of staff at Basildon NHS keeping themselves motivated in these challenging times… 

 

 

 

Whilst many people are at home now is the perfect time to give your home some TLC. Below are some hints and tips to make sure your home is clean and looking its best for you and your family. 

Decluttering

It’s quite amazing how much stuff we can collect over time and it’s equally amazing how reluctant we can be to give it up. We like to go by the one year rule… if you haven’t used, worn or looked at it for a year, it needs to go. We know there are some items that you simply can’t get rid of so why not look to put them into storage for safekeeping? 

Grab yourself a box or a bag and start loading your old and unwanted items into it. 

Dusting 

Next, take a microfibre cloth and work your way around the room, top to bottom, picking up as much dirt and dust as you can. Your microfibre cloth should do the hard work for you, even better when it’s a little damp, so move quickly and wipe over all your surfaces. 

Vacuuming 

When you’ve finished with the microfibre cloth, pick up your vacuum and work your way around the room again. If you couldn’t reach an area with your cloth, your vacuum should have a better reach. Use all the extra tools at your disposal to pick up the hidden and hard to reach dirt. 

Sofa Cleaning

Regular vacuuming of your sofas should make this job even easier but with the vacuum cleaner on full power, run the crevice tool all over your suite and remove the cushions and get right down into the hard to reach areas. 

With some help, lift the sofas up and run the vacuum cleaner or a microfibre cloth underneath to pick up the hidden dirt. It’s only a very quick job but cleaning underneath sofas really does help to make the room feel cleaner. 

Kitchen Cleaning

If you have a dishwasher, utilise its power and place everything you can inside to give them a really good clean. If you can’t wash certain items in the dishwasher, place into hot, soapy water whilst you tackle other jobs.  

To tackle the fridge and any nasty stains or odours that have collated in there, grab an old toothbrush and toothpaste and get scrubbing. The chemicals in toothpaste are great for cleaning stains and marks leftover time and the toothbrush allows you to reach those tricky areas. Rinse the fridge well and if odours remain, chop a lemon in half and place one half at the top and one at the bottom – they’ll soon clear up any nasty smells. 

Bathroom Cleaning

Tough limescale in the bathroom may take time to clean but with pre-planning, you can clean your bathroom overnight, whilst you sleep! For showerheads and taps that are turning green, fill a bag with white vinegar and tie it tightly around the showerhead or tap and leave it overnight. In the morning, remove the bag and take a toothbrush to the stain and it should just wipe off. 

These hits and tip will make sure your home is looking its best and smelling beautiful.  

 

Well, this is different! Being a fulltime working mum, homeschooling wasn’t something I had planned for and if you’re here reading this, I doubt you did eitherBut here I am and I’m trying my best to keep some normality as much as I can considering what’s going on in the world right now. 

I have two children, one of Primary School age and one in Secondary School, my challenge is to keep them entertained and somewhat educated while I work full time, from home (mostly) 

Keep To A School Day Routine  

To keep disruption to a minimum and help keep the kids focussed on their schoolwork, try sticking to a school day routine as much as you can. 

We are starting school at 9am each school day, and Ive found a fantastic YouTube channel ‘The Body Coach’ who are streaming live PE videos each school day. Take a look here – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAxW1XT0iEJo0TYlRfn6rYQ 

What better way to keep the kids active and get them ready for learning? If you want to know why exercising in the morning is so beneficial, this is a useful read: https://www.myactivesg.com/read/2018/2/6-reasons-why-morning-exercise-is-important-for-your-health 

Scheduling The Kids Day 

Most schools have provided a good number of online resources, so why not structure your learning day/week into a school timetable. Evidence shows that children do best when they can follow a routine, this will also make it easier for you to keep on top of things.  

  MONDAY  TUESDAY  WEDNESDAY  THURSDAY 
09.00 – 09.30  PE  PE  PE  PE 
09.30 – 10.15  MATHS  MATHS  MATHS  MATHS 
10.15 – 10.30  BREAK  BREAK  BREAK  BREAK 
10.30 – 11.45  ENGLISH  ENGLISH  ENGLISH  ENGLISH 
11.45 –  13.00  ART/CRAFT  ART/CRAFT  ART/CRAFT  ART/CRAFT 

 

Shhhh… I’m thinking of doing the Science bit at the weekend so I can have some fun too! 

Don’t forget, it’s also important to allow time for the kids to have fun and to entertain themselves, all work and no play is going to make this a long journey and well, we’ve got work to do too. 

If you are looking for more inspiration from an education point of view, below are some other links to a wide range of websites with homeschooling ideas. 

https://www.homeschooling-ideas.com/home-school-ideas.html 

https://www.netmums.com/coffeehouse/education-1071/home-education-873/653184-ideas-homeschooling.html 

https://www.edplace.com/blog/homeschooling/lesson-planning-and-ideas-home-education-days-across-the-uk 

https://www.homeschool-activities.com/ 

https://www.theschoolrun.com/home-education-step-by-step

Ways to Keep Your Kids Entertained 

Are you looking for ways to entertain the kids that isn’t YouTube or computer games? 

Make the most of your garden or outside space, we all need some fresh air and sunshine, yes, it is out as I sit here writing this, stuck in the office and looking out of the window. As we all need a bit of a break from work and learning, I thought I’d also share a range of websites with ideas for fun things to do, so here you are: 

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/craft-ideas/how-to/g1389/diy-kids-activities/  

https://www.toucanbox.com/activities/fun-things-to-do-at-home-with-your-kids 

https://www.itsalwaysautumn.com/best-indoor-kid-crafts-activities.html 

https://www.verywellfamily.com/absolutely-free-activities-for-kids-2997490 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/gardening_with_children/ 

https://www.rhs.org.uk/education-learning/gardening-children-schools/family-activities/Activities 

YouTube Channels: 

  • Crash Course Kids 
  • Science Channel 
  • SciShow Kids 
  • National  Geographic Kids 
  • Free School 
  • Geography Focus 
  • TheBrainScoop 
  • SciShow 
  • Kids Learning Tube 
  • Geeek Gurl Diaries 
  • Mike Likes Science 
  • Science Max 
  • SoulPancake 

 This isn’t going to be easy by any means, I’ve already needed to remind my kids that this isn’t a holiday but hopefully, this will help keep you sane that little bit longer and at least give you some ideas to help you through it.  

My Own Personal Favourites;  

  • Home economics – Teach them how to make a cup of tea, for me of course, as I’m busy working!
  • Science – How washing up liquid removes grease from the saucepan and other cooking utensils
  • Mechanical Engineering – How to operate a hoover, the kids always think it’s a hard job! 

Written by Vicky, Commercial Marketing Manager and Full Time Mum 

With all that’s going on in the world now, everyone needs to understand what the differences between Social Distancing, Isolation and Quarantine are.

There is a difference between each of these terms and we’ll explain the difference below.

What is Social Distancing?

Social distancing should be practised by everyone, whether or not they are exposed to the virus.

Social Distancing includes avoiding handshakes, crowds and staying at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from people.

Working from home/Remote Working has been recommended by the government when possible and if showing any symptoms, you should be self-isolating.

What is Isolation?

Isolation is for those who have been either diagnosed with COVID-19 or showing symptoms of the virus.

Isolation serves as a deterrent to keep the infected away from the healthy in order to stop the spread of the virus. This applies to anyone living with someone showing symptoms, anyone with an underlying health condition or anyone over the age of 70.

What is Quarantine?

Quarantine is the restriction on the movement of people, which is intended to prevent the spread of disease. Preventing the movement of those who may have been exposed to a COVID-19, but do not have a confirmed case.

This is the current situation in countries like Italy & Spain to which they have issued a nationwide quarantine and restricted everyone from leaving their homes as much as they can.

Here are a few small graphics that we’ll be sharing on social media as well that you can share if you like:

Social DistancingIsolationQuarantine

Proper hand hygiene is the number one way to reduce the risk of infection and it’s important to wash your hands frequently and properly, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Here is the proper way to wash your hands as recommended by NHS:

How to Wash Your Hands Correctly

  1. Wash your hands under warm running water
  2. Apply soap and rub palms together to ensure complete coverage
  3. Spread the soap over the back of your hands
  4. Make sure the soap gets in between each of your fingers
  5. Grip the fingers on each hand, ensuring you cover each finger with soap
  6. Rub both thumbs into a clenched fist
  7. Press fingertips into the palm of each hand
  8. Rub your knuckles on the opposite palm
  9. Dry thoroughly with a disposable paper towel

Other Tips on Hand Washing

Your hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds, of which you can keep track of by singing Happy Birthday twice.

An acceptable alternative to hand washing is to use an alcohol-based sanitiser, with at least 60%. When possible, wash your hands using the above method as this is more effective against viruses.

Here is a graphic we put together to show you the different stages of the above method:

Download handwashing graphic here

Here is a recipe to create your own hand sanitiser if you’re having trouble finding any in the shops.

What you’ll need

  • 2/3 cup 99% rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
  • 1/3 cup 100% pure aloe vera gel
  • Optional: 8-10 drops essential oil for smell
  • Bowl and spoon
  • Funnel
  • Empty squeeze Bottle
  • Gloves
Step 1: Mix the rubbing alcohol, aloe vera and optional essential oil in a bowl with a spoon. Be careful to keep the pure alcohol away from your skin (use gloves when and where you can)
Step 2: Funnel the mixture into the empty bottle. Screw the pump cap back on and you now have hand sanitiser.

DIY Hand Sanitiser Warnings

As easy as it sounds to make your own hand sanitiser, you should all be aware that rubbing alcohol in high quantities can damage your skin. Make sure you stick to the 2:1 proportion to keep the alcohol content around 60%. You must use gloves while mixing and follow up sanitisation with hand moisturiser.
And we hope it goes without saying that hand sanitiser alone is not enough and isn’t going to protect you from getting sick. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water when it’s available, and limit how much you touch your face.
Quick Tip for washing hands: Sing Happy Birthday twice while cleaning your hands.
If you need your office clean at all during the outbreak then find your nearest ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services and contact us today.
Good handwashing practice is one of the most important steps we can take to combat the spread of germs to others within the workplace. 

Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands properly with soap and clean running water.

Germs on unwashed hands can be transferred to other areas within the workplace, like door handles, handrails, table tops, phones or laptops and transmitted your colleagues. This can lead to sickness as they will regularly touch their nose, eyes or mouth without knowing it.

Bacteria and germs are also spread through food and drink and some germs will multiply in certain foods.

Removing germs through good handwashing can help prevent stomach bugs, respiratory infections and according to the CDC, hand washing reduces the number of sick people with stomach bugs by 31% and the number of people with colds by 16-21%.

At ServiceMaster Clean, we’re big advocates for ensuring everyone knows about good hand washing practice.

The proper handwashing practice

Follow this simple guide to good hand washing to help remove as many germs as possible…

  • Wet your hands under warm clean running water
  • Apply soap and create a lather by rubbing your hands together – using regular soap as opposed to antibacterial is just as effective if used correctly
  • Spread the lather across your hands, onto the backs of your hands, in between your fingers for at least 20 seconds
  • With soapy hands, grip the fingers on each hand, clean in the creases of your thumbs and press your fingertips into your palms to get under your fingernails
  • Rinse your hands well under clean running water
  • Dry your hands well on a clean towel or air dryer and make sure they are completely dry!
  • Turn off the tap using your clean towel remember your dirty hands just turned the tap on
  • Dispose of the paper towel responsibly by recycling where you can

good handwashing

What about hand sanitiser?

Hand sanitisers are a great addition to your germ-killing arsenal! Most sanitisers do not kill all germs so they should be used as an additional resource rather than instead of a good hand wash.

With a good squirt of hand sanitiser in one palm, rub your hands together well and spread it over your hands and fingernails until it’s dry.

If you’ve experienced an outbreak of a virus in the office, you can always call on ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services to provide a deep-clean and fully sanitise of the property. Click here to find your local ServiceMaster Clean.

Nowadays more and more offices are becoming dog-friendly, mainly to reduce stress within the work environment. However, keeping your office clean with a furry little friend about can be a challenging task.

It happens in a dog-friendly office

Accidents happen, they’re inevitable and that’s still with a well-trained dog around the office.

Make sure you have a cleaning kit in your office for such accidents, this kit should include the following;

  • Rubber gloves
  • Doggy bags
  • Cleaning spray
  • Sponges

Alternatively, you can hire a professional cleaning service like ServiceMaster Clean to clean it up for you by using enzyme-based cleaning products that will be used to destroy any nasty bacteria that may be lingering.

Keep the dog’s accessories clean

Items like the dog’s bed, blankets and toys will need to be regularly cleaned to eradicate any bad odours or harmful bacteria.

Make sure to wash the dog’s bed and blankets are washed on a high temperature and the toys are cleaned with a sufficient anti-bacterial product.

Regularly vacuum around the office

Instead of sucking up to your boss you will need to suck up the dog hairs on any carpets, upholstery or hard flooring with a good vacuum.

If you have a cleaning company that regularly clean your offices then they will be able to efficiently vacuum your dog-friendly office.

Keep it fresh

If you do have a dog-friendly office keeping the office smelling fresh is important and opening a window regularly throughout the day can help do just that.

You may want to also invest in some air fresheners for the cooler months as no one wants a cold office!

Ensuring your office smells and stays fresh will give a professional feel and be more inviting for any visitors.

If you need any office cleaning services for your dog-friendly or no dogs allowed office then ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services are the company for you, find your local company here.

 

Right from the day we were born, we’ve had our parents run around cleaning up after us and when you go to university it’s the perfect time to get away from their nagging!

Keeping your student accommodation clean and tidy, especially at the end of tenancy is vitally important! Mainly to get your deposit back!

Student Accommodation

Why do I need to clean my student accommodation?

The question amongst many young university students, why should I clean my accommodation? The answer, you don’t, just call your parents!

Most student letting agents put the tenants in charge of cleaning their own property upon leaving, hence why a deposit is usually taken.

If your not careful and you don’t keep the property clean, you can sometimes be held liable for the spread of health hazards, pest infestation and mould within the property.

The cost of removal of these health hazards can really stack up, as they would have to call an external provider and the tenant will be charged for these costs.

How do I do a thorough clean of my student accommodation?

Firstly, make sure you give yourself and your cleaning team (again usually the parents) enough time to clean the property and don’t make it a last minute job.

Here are the main areas that a landlord/student letting property would expect to be clean upon inspection:

  • Kitchen
    – Remove everything in the cupboards from top to bottom and clean inside and outside with a dry cloth, unless there are some stubborn stains, and then you will need to use a wet cloth and an applied cleaning agent.- The majority of people will forget to do this, but make sure you pull out the kitchen appliances (if you can) and clean the back of those as well, including the washing machine, microwave and dishwasher etc.

    – Clean out your fridge of any food as you definitely don’t want this to sit a fester after you’ve left! Then clean it thoroughly, inside the drawers, in the ridges, every bit of shelving and then turn the fridge off and leave the door open.

    – Making sure the oven is clean can be a bit of a disgusting job, especially if it’s a shared kitchen and the other tenants have left without cleaning. So, clean everything inside the oven, trays, shelving and the oven door inside and out, switches, knobs etc.

    – The same goes for the hob, make sure the racks are removed and soaked in the sink, then thoroughly scrubbed and the top of the hob is then efficiently cleaned.

  • Living Room
    – Clean everything, and we mean everything! The coffee table, the TV, the bookshelves, any shelving and even the modern art paintings on the wall. Make sure you vacuum the carpet and upholstery until there is not a speck of dust left on them!
  • Bathroom
    – Usually, one of the most daunting tasks when cleaning your accommodation is the bathroom and it can often take the longest time to clean.- Get your cleaning hat on and scrub everything from the toilet to the mirror. Make sure you have an order of how you’re going to clean everything, just so you don’t miss anything.

    – Clean the tiles and all of the surfaces, making sure you remove any limescale that may have built up over time.

    – Clean the plug holes of both the sink and bath/shower, ensuring the water is draining away efficiently

  • Walls
    – Go around your accommodation and list any areas where there are any scuffs or marks on the walls. If you can, just wash them off, if not you may have to purchase a bit of paint and do a bit of decorating.

 

That looks like a lot to do doesn’t it?! Well if you want as much of your deposit back as possible then you need put a lot of work into it!

If you’re not bothered about your deposit, then you can leave all the cleaning up to us, as your letting agent will get in contact with us to do so.

If are there are any student or non-student accommodation letting agents that need a contract cleaning provider then find your local ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services here.

 

 

 

With the weather being warm at the moment, making sure you regularly empty your office bins is important for the well being of your staff.

office bins

Why is it important to empty bins more regularly in warmer weather?

With it currently being warm around the UK, organising and keeping your bins clean is important for a number of reasons:

  • Bins get smelly in warmer weather
    – We’re sure you’ve smelt a bin that has been sat in a room too long, it isn’t a pleasant smell, and you definitely don’t want it wafting around the office.
  • Flies and other insects will be attracted to the bin
    – You 100% don’t want an insect problem or lots of flies dancing around the office, it can be very disrupting.
  • Eggs can be laid in your bin by the flies and a maggot infestation may occur
    –  You definitely don’t want maggots in your office as they really do smell!

What can I do to stop my bin from smelling during the warmer months?

One of the main causes of the odour coming from your office bins is the cleanliness of the actual bin itself.

This is why having an office cleaner is important, especially for the health and well-being of the staff.

Here are a few tips to keep your office bins clean and odour free:

  • Have separate bins in the kitchen area like food waste, cardboard only and general waste etc
  • Ensure your cleaning team or external cleaning company empty the bins more often during the warmer months
  • Get your bins cleaned regularly, especially the food waste bin to make sure no waste remains
  • Try to keep the office bins for paper and general waste only, have a food waste only bin in the kitchen area or elsewhere

Keeping your office clean and tidy

Lots of companies allow the personalisation of your work area, but make sure it isn’t cluttered and messy.

  • A clean office is better for your health
  • Less clutter and a clean environment increases productivity
  • A good first and lasting impression is important for visitors

 

For all of your commercial cleaning needs contact your local ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services here.

You spend your time focusing on the things your business does well.

You spend countless hours developing and testing your products/services, along with building brand awareness.

Have you sat down and taken a moment to think about how your office environment affects your employees?

It is a fact that our surroundings have a direct effect on the way we feel, this is true in everything we do, especially our office environment. If your employees feel more welcome in their workspace, their morale will increase, therefore increasing their workload.

Have a read of the ideas below and take a look around your workspace and answer these simple questions:

  • How many of the following could you change to give your workspace a boost?
  • How can you make your office a healthier, happier and more productive space?

workspace

 

Let in natural light

As human beings we gravitate towards natural light, for a few reasons;

  • It increases Vitamin D, which helps prevent depression, weight gain and other disorders and diseases.
  • Studies have found that employees that work in natural light record higher levels of energy and productivity, compared to those working in artificial light.
  • Natural light has also been shown in studies to lower the risk of near-sightedness in young adults.
  • A bonus one, you can save some electricity by letting in as much natural light as possible!

Of course, in some areas of the UK, this may not be possible, for example, inner-city office spaces that are surrounded by other buildings may not get much natural light at all.

However, there are proven new technologies in lighting systems that are affordable and easy to implement.

Temperature Tantrums

There are always going to be staff in the office that prefers different temperatures, which may cause temperature tantrums.

“Turn it off! It’s too hot!”

“No, I’m freezing! It’s like a freezer in here!”

Back and forth, like this, all day long! It can get very frustrating for the involved parties, and for everyone else in the office.

Our brains can only tolerate a small change in temperature before our bodies kick in to counteract the temperature change, be it to lose or gain warmth. This will cause our mood to change and concentration levels to decrease.

The optimal temperature for the aircon according to most system manufactures is between 24 and 25 degrees Celsius in the summer and between 17 and 19 degrees Celsius in the winter.

Saying this though, a regular supply of fresh air is important for your office as well, and can sometimes be the answer to the temperature fluctuation.

Music can increase productivity

All of us are different and it’s unlikely all the people in the office are going to have the same music taste as you if they do then bonus! Get that country music blaring out those speakers!

The majority of offices will allow music, but only specific genres or songs that have been proven to increase productivity, of which you can find plenty of playlists on Spotify or Apple Music.

Create a chill out area for your staff so they can either get away from the music that is being played in the office or listen to their own music while still doing their work.

Also, make sure your office is efficiently double glazed to block out any unwanted noise from outside.

Colours matter

Different colours affect your mood in different ways, and colour theory has been practised by some of the greatest painters in the world for centuries.

Here is a quick rundown of some positive colours and what mood they associate with:

  • Orange = Creativity
  • Yellow = Intellect & Emotion
  • Red = Energises
  • Blue = Calming
  • Green = Healing

Colour can change the style and mood of your workspace instantly, so sit down and decide what mood you want to portray in your office and paint or decorate accordingly.

Science of Ergonomics

“Ergonomics is the science of designing the workspace, keeping in mind the capabilities and limitations of the worker.” (Google).

An office with good ergonomic design can reduce factors that lead to musculoskeletal injuries and increases performance and productivity.

You can either look into this yourself online and purchase furniture that will benefit your staff, or you can get in contact with an expert. They will come to your workplace, take a look around and recommend what type of furniture would benefit your staff.

Keep it clean

Finally, consider the overall cleanliness of your workspace. Remember, a healthy office is a friendly office.

For more details on our office cleaning solutions, you can find your local ServiceMaster Clean and contact us here.

 

You may be interested in another one of our blog posts A Clean Office Gives a Good First Impression.

The Team have been busy at ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Guildford, we have been helping our local radio station Eagle Radio promote ‘National Clean your floors day’

View our video of Siva teaching presenter Peter Gordon how to clean floors the ServiceMaster Way.

Considering we spend most of our lives at work, having a clean, germ-free office is important for many different reasons.

Let’s fight back against those pesky germs, have a cleaner and healthier office!

1.  Dirty Doors

Starting from the entrance to your office building, a door handle or door/lift button has a large number of bacteria, due to the number of people walking in and out of the building every day.

The door handle in your office that has the most germs is guaranteed to be the toilet door handle. A few surveys over the last few years have revealed that one in four of the UK population does not wash their hands after going to the toilet! YUCK!

TipUse anti-bacterial gel as much as you can.

2.  Filthy Fridge

With healthier eating becoming more popular, staff are starting to bring their own lunch into the office more and popping it into the office fridge.

A lot of staff then not surprisingly forget about what they put in the fridge, because instead, they feel like going out with their work colleagues.

The food is then left to go mouldy and the office fridge is one of those places that you just don’t think to clean.

Tip Introduce a fridge cleaning schedule to your employees to clean out unwanted food every week.

3.  Dusty Desk & Phone

The most amount of time in any office workers day is spent at their desk, so no wonder this area has the most germs throughout the whole of the office! Yes, even dirtier than the office toilets!

Your office phone can be the dirtiest item in the office, so keeping it clean is very important for a healthier workplace.

Another germ thriving culprit is your pen, the reason being a lot of us chew it! I am one of those pen chewing culprits, so shame on me!

Tip #1 Wipe your desk phone every morning with an anti-bacterial wipe.
Tip #2 Stop chewing your pen! I solemnly swear I will stop, only if you do as well though!

4.  Messy Mouse & Keyboard

Your mouse and keyboard alone can have more bacteria per square inch than a toilet seat!

If you work on a hot-desk, then the number of bacteria only increases and it isn’t just your bacteria! YUCK!

Tip Use anti-bacterial wipes or a cleaning spray, then wipe your keyboard and mouse with a clean tissue.

5.  Germ Riddling Rucksack

Yes, your rucksack has a surprising number of germs on it! The reasons for this being, your bag is put down all over the office, including sometimes the toilet floor.

Tip Keep hold of your bag until you get to your desk and clean your bag every so often at home.

6.  Mucky Mug

There is always that lonely mug that is sat on someone’s desk at the end of the day, while all his other mug friends are in the dishwasher, or all cleaned, sitting comfortably on the side.

That mug left on the desk is then used again the next day without being washed! That is a big no no and this particular person in the office needs to get out of this habit!

TipRinse your mug after every cuppa, and at the end of the day make sure it is put in the dishwasher or washed up!

7.  Germ Polluted Printer

Your printer and/or photocopier is used a lot during a day’s work by a numerous amount of people. So, the buttons on these items are riddling with germs by the end of the day!

TipJust give it a wipe again with an anti-bacterial wipe, after every time you use it. If you start this habit, others should follow you!

8. Water Cooler

The dirtiest thing in your office may surprise you, it is the water cooler! With this being used the most in the office and staff standing around chatting, germs are spread around the water cooler more than any other place in the office!

Tip – Just give the water cooler a wipe every day, especially the nozzle, just with a wet cloth.

Bonus Germ Hotspot – Gruesome Guests

A bonus germ hotspot for you is the guests that come to your office! You know your workers, their habits and how often they clean, but with guests, you have no idea!

The guest that has just walked through your door could have just been wrestling pigs in a pig-pen and only rinsed his hands and not washed them properly, therefore riddling with germs!

Tip Offer your guest a drink and hope they say yes so you can secretly go and wash your hands or use some anti-bacterial hand gel.

Here are ServiceMaster Clean UK we can take over your office cleaning and make sure all of these hotspots are cleaned thoroughly apart from the guests obviously!

To find your local ServiceMaster Clean UK click here.

A clean office gives a good first impression

Don’t judge a book by its cover, judge an office by how clean it is! This is what most of your customers and clients would be thinking as soon as they step through your door. Here is why good a first impression is so important in your business.

Clean office, first impression

Why is making a first impression so important?

Well, this is a question that doesn’t really need to be answered, as most people and businesses will understand why a good first impression is more likely leads to something!

“You only get one chance to make a first impression”, this saying can’t be any clearer or easier to understand. Especially when it comes to your office looking clean and tidy when a potential client or customer is present.

What are the main things people pick up on?

Smell – The main thing that people will pick up on and relate to when walking into any room is the smell, and our noses can remember up to 50,000 scents! So, you don’t want your office remembered for having a bad smell, as this will give a negative feeling to the client or customer.

General Cleanliness– The cleanliness of your office is obviously another important factor. If there is a bin that is overflowing in the corner or coffee stains all over your carpets, your clients and customers may think that you don’t care.

You can be the best business in the world, but if you have a dirty office and a client or customer comes to visit, they would be more than likely inclined to “refuse to sign on the dotted line”.

How can you make a great first impression?

There are lots of factors that can come into play when it comes to making a good first impression. Here are a few that you may want to consider:

  • Hire an office cleaning company like ServiceMaster Clean, to make sure your office is spick and span every time a potential client or customer walks into your office.
  • Have regular health and safety meetings with all of your staff, to inform them of the importance of keeping their office space clean, from reducing staff sickness to that all important first impression.
  • Decorate your office space in a welcoming manner, even if that means putting a photo on the wall of the team or a painting that relates to your business.

To assist with all of your office cleaning, ServiceMaster can provide a friendly and professional service and will always go above and beyond your expectations.

To find your local ServiceMaster Clean click here.

Top 5 ways to declutter your workspace

We spend more time at work during our lifetime than we do at home. So, having a tidy workspace is important for morale, work productivity and efficiency.

There are some ways that you can keep your workspace tidy in an office and here are the top 5 for you to take away and implement in your office.

Workspace

1. Make your desk your own

If your company allows it, decorate your desk with photos of your family or a nice little desk plant. If you make your workspace as personal as you can, you are statistically more likely to increase your work productivity and enjoy your work life that little bit more.

2. File your documents

Having an effective filing system within your workspace is important to keep the clutter at a minimum. Use an in and out stacked tray system, however, don’t let this pile up too much as this will cause more desk clutter.

File away the completed documents in your company’s filing area, or if the paper is not needed, throw it in the recycling bin!

3. Have a home for everything

Having a home for everything like a pen pot here, personal items popped in your drawer and the use of the in/out tray will contribute towards a decluttered workspace. If you place certain things in different places though make sure you have remembered where you have put them, you don’t want to clutter up your desk to search for something!

4. Useful things should be in reach

If you have your pen pot over the other side of the desk and you have to lean over to get it and knock your morning coffee all over your paperwork, you have a bit of a problem here, don’t you!

Make sure all of the items you need are in an arm’s reach to where you are sitting, so, one you are not stretching and straining yourself and two to not knock over a drink or another item on your desk.

5. Keep it clean, to keep you keen

At the end of each day, all you need to do is give your desk a quick spray and wipe with a cleaning cloth. Then tidy your desk by stacking your paper neatly and taking your cups to the office kitchen. It takes no more than 5 minutes so you have no excuse!

For all of your office cleaning needs, contact your local ServiceMaster Clean today. Find your local office here.

There is one thing that after a long work day you don’t want to end up doing, and that is cleaning your whole office from top to bottom, including those plates and cups, which those certain individuals leave in the sink or on the side.

Here at ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services we take our cleaning seriously and have over 55 years’ experience in the commercial cleaning industry. Take our environmentally friendly Capture and Removal Cleaning System for example. We are passionate about bringing you the most environmentally friendly cleaning that we can to keep your office up to health and safety standards.

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Large Office Cleaning

Do you have a cleaning schedule for your work employees to stick to? Does it work? There is always that one person who won’t do their best and just wipe down the sides with a bit of kitchen roll and pretend it’s completed properly. Well, having a professional cleaning service can have your office spick and span every single morning you come to work. This will also give your employees more time to get on with their work and also get back home to their families at the end of the day.

One other bonus to having a professional cleaning service like ServiceMaster is that if the office is kept clean of harmful bacteria, this will decrease the amount of staff sickness and absenteeism, therefore, saving your company money and increasing employee productivity.

Educational Cleaning

With infection control measures a top priority for schools and colleges around the country, the quality of cleaning needs to be completed at a high standard. This is where here at ServiceMaster, we are industry experts and can provide your educational premises.

We ensure your school meets health and safety standards, to help keep your school free from germs and sickness as much as possible. We will also ensure all of our cleaners and supervisor that attend site are fully DBS checked.

Specialist Medical Business Cleaning

If your business is in the medical sector, you will already understand that cleanliness of your premises is of the utmost importance. Our highly trained team of professionals will always keep to health and safety regulations, along with being trained to meet the National Specification for Cleanliness for NHS Medical and Dental Practices.

Our trained professionals will know exactly how to prevent cross contamination and eliminate all harmful bacteria within your business premises. A professional cleaning service will give you the time to carry on with important day to day activities and ensure your premises are as clean as can be and you can meet CQC cleaning requirements.

Showroom Cleaning

At ServiceMaster we understand that first impressions count. Visitors to your showroom expect the environment to be clean, tidy and spotless. The environment in which you showcase your goods should reflect the prestige and care to attention that your customers deserve.

With the full range of contract cleaning services provided by ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Southampton, we can help enhance your professional image while providing a clean, safe working environment.

Emergency Reactive Cleaning

With mother nature and on premises maintenance problems, disasters like flooding or fire damage can quickly get out of hand. As a ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services Client, you can sign up to our Restoration Response and Emergency Reactive Cleaning Services for a discounted rate.

As a Restoration Response member you can ensure your premises is cleaned efficiently after a disaster or act of vandalism and a cleaning team will be on site within 2-4 hours 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We can work with you directly or through an insurance provider depending on the nature and value of the work. Our aim is to get your business back up and running as soon as possible.

Restoration Response is powered by ServiceMaster Clean.

Find out more about our services here

Many small businesses find that in order to save money with their cleaning they will “share the cleaning between the staff” or “I do it myself when I have a spare few minutes” or “a friend comes in once a week to give it a once over”.

This is all well and good but when you break down the actual costs of “doing it yourself” you will soon find that this approach is actually costing you more!!
Cleaning it yourself…..
A small business with an office to will usually consist of a few desks, washroom, small kitchen and reception/entrance so on the face of it does not require much attention.

Cleaning Yourself vs Contract Cleaning

Where as the truth is the Office has desks, chairs, bins, computers, drawers, units, skirting’s, carpet, phones, switches, extinguishers, windows, windowsills, lights. The Kitchen has hard floor, units, work tops, microwave, fridge, toaster (with crumbs) skirting’s, bin and the Washrooms have the toilet bowl, Hard floor, sink, taps, pipes, door…..

So when it comes to cleaning’ a small office can become much larger and the “few minutes” can become a good hour!

  • This is just the basics of cleaning and when we go more in depth are you using the right Techniques?
  • Is the ‘friend who helps out’ Insured against damages? Have they been trained on how to Safely Use the chemicals and what to do if an Accident happens?
  • If they go on Holiday who do you get to come in and help?
  • Then there is the Equipment!
  • Is the equipment such as the Vacuum suitable for the job?
  • Have they been PAT Tested?
  • What do you do if the Vacuum Breaks or suddenly stops working?
  • The Mop Heads need changing and you also need new Cloths!
  • The Chemicals you have bought from the shop, are they Suitable for the job?
  • Do these chemicals have COSHH and MSDS Sheets?
  • Is the equipment Colour Coded to eliminate Cross Contamination?
  • If you run out of Toilet Cleaner, Floor Cleaner, Surface Spray do you have to dash out to the supermarket to buy some more?

Running the company office is your main priority……..

Let cleaning the company office be ours

To the majority of Small Business owners the various aspects of cleaning mentioned above would not cross their mind, it didn’t me until I began working with ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services, but all are important and need taking into consideration to not only keep your office clean but also safe and hygienic too.

Factor in that with the Cost and Time taken to purchase the Chemicals, the Equipment, the Maintenance and Repair, organise someone to Cover “The Friend” when they are off and to check that they are Cleaning to your Standards.
These are all things to be considered but most importantly do you as a business owner have the Free Time to organise the cleaning, the Free Time to take an hour to clean the office or the Free Time to buy and replace things that the cleaner needs?

My bet is no…but we do.

At ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services we have the time to provide you with all the safe and documented equipment and chemicals you need, we have the time to ensure cover is provided if the cleaner is off, we have the time to replace broken equipment and most importantly we have the time to ensure you are getting the service you deserve.

Having Contract Cleaners such as ServiceMaster in place may look like an added cost to your business but when you look a little deeper, it is not as much as you may think!

 

Find out more about our services here

With thanks to Chris Smith for this article.


Lack of daylight when it’s dark before you get home, cold, rainy weather and the rush in the run-up to Christmas can get the best of us down, and a stressed employee is not a productive or happy member of the team. Thankfully there are plenty of small touches you can provide as an employer or manager to boost morale. It can go a long way when you show that you care, so try some of these easy to implement, low cost ideas and reap the rewards.

Simple Freebies and Perks
Freebies are a surprisingly effective morale booster considering the fact that they often don’t require that much effort!

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Hot Drinks & Vitamins For Flu Season:  
Many offices offer hot drinks facilities and free teas and coffees, but why not take it a step further – free fruit is a nice winter perk to make it easier for your team to stay healthy, especially during flu season. Perhaps even start keeping a few basic flu-fighting supplies such as Strepsils and Lemsip to hand to save someone who’s feeling a bit under the weather a trip into the cold to stock up. Another easy but much-appreciated thing to offer during the colder and wetter months is a few company umbrellas (consider branding them to make it easier to keep track!) for people to borrow when nipping down to the shops at lunch.

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Surprise Treats:
Everyone loves comfort food in winter, especially in the run-up to Christmas. Consider adding hot chocolate or fancy coffee syrups to the hot drinks roster for a month or two, or surprising everyone with extra-indulgent hot chocolate – go all out with squirty cream and marshmallows and bring in some mince pies or Christmas biscuits to brighten a Monday or Hump day, or as a as a special Friday treat. If you want to go down a slightly more extravagant route, a surprise breakfast with pancakes and all the toppings, pastries and other goodies will definitely brighten up your next progress meeting.

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Christmas Count Down:
We may not always admit it, but adults love a good Advent calendar as much as any kid – especially if it contains something a bit more exciting than a festively-shaped chocolate. Depending on the number of people in your office, department or team, an office Advent calendar with little goodies for everyone might go down well– think miniature bottles, hand creams, tiny boxes of chocolates, chutneys, fancy teas and more. These can be hidden inside a refillable Advent calendar, each person is assigned a number and hey presto!

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Happy Hour:
Workplace friendships have been proven to reduce stress, and everyone loves a free drink – so organising an office happy hour where the company supplies a few drinks and allows everyone to finish slightly earlier to mingle with their co-workers from other departments is bound to go down well! It might even lead to some new friendships being formed, which in turn could lead to collaboration further down the road, but since happy employees work better it’s a win-win situation regardless. You might find that people appreciate being able to do this outside of the more formal setting of a Christmas lunch or office party, and you could build it into the company culture to take place monthly or several times a year if your budget allows it.

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Revamp the Office Noticeboard:

Get a separate noticeboard for that list of fire safety officers and make this one all about your team: think photos of pets, a funny baby photo of each team member, thank you cards/printouts of thank you emails, good reviews, kids’ drawings, funny comics, postcards, achievements (not just work-related, but personal too, such as a team member running a 10k or finishing a part-time degree ), a list of bank holidays to look forward to and more, the goofier the better. Some offices also have “rules” such as bringing back a mandatory hideous fridge magnet from a holiday to add to the kitchen décor, so why not get some input from your colleagues to see if they can think of other fun ways to add colour to the place!

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Decorate your Space:
Try some decorations or flowers and wait for an inevitable mood boost – no need to go full-blown Pinterest, but a little extra cheer can easily be added by adding some colourful prints and rustling up a few pot plants (real or fake, though real ones provide the added benefit of helping improve the air quality, which can be a godsend in a stuffy office with the heating on!) Halloween and Christmas decorations always brighten up a space, and letting everyone pitch in with hanging them up offers a welcome and entertaining quick break. You could even make it into a competition between different departments to add a little incentive!

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Warm lighting:
Especially in winter when there is so little daylight, fluorescent strip lighting can be rather grim, and a strain for the eyes to boot. If your office still has that lovely glare to it, now is the time to rethink upgrading them at last – both your team and eyes will thank you!

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Sweepstakes:
Friendly competitions where everyone bets £1 on an assigned contestant for Bake Off/Strictly Come Dancing/The Apprentice or whatever TV show your office is currently hooked on are a fun way to get people more engaged, not to mention a pleasant diversion that’s very easy to set up! It’s also quite a versatile concept: for example if sports are more your team’s thing then the sweepstakes could be based on a current sporting event or countries participating in a tournament.

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Give something back as a team:
Set aside some time to do something for charity together (or start planning it for the warmer months!)
Instead of just wearing a Christmas jumper and donating £2, try something more involved:

  • Organise a bake sale (e.g. for Children in Need in November or a cause your team cares about),
  • Collect items for the Shoebox Appeal and sort and pack them together
  • Donate your business’ specific skills to a local cause or as an auction item or raffle prize for a charity event
  • Donate Christmas dinner or essential items for a local food bank and help them sort and distribute it

These are just a few ways you can improve morale in your office this winter – perhaps you’ll be inspired to implement and adapt some of them, or even come up with your own!

Dealing with allergies at work often can be difficult. It’s hard to focus on business when your eyes are itchy, your nose is running (or stuffed) and you can’t catch your breath because of repetitive sneezing. It’s miserable and our ServiceMaster Clean team wants you to be able to feel better. Check out a few of our tips for dealing with office allergies.

COMMON WORKPLACE ALLERGIES

Indoor/outdoor allergies also known as seasonal allergies are one of the most common types of allergies suffered by people, whether working in an office, warehouse, retail establishment, factory or other work space. Other common workplace allergies include contact allergies such as an allergy to latex and eye allergies. Occupational asthma is another common workplace issue and usually develops when a worker has a sensitivity to something regularly inhaled in the work space (fumes, chemicals.)

OFFICE ALLERGY TRIGGERS

Many office allergy triggers are the same ones that affect you at home. These include but are not limited to:

  • Dust mites
  • Pollen
  • Mould spores
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Cockroaches
  • Fumes (from aerosols, chemicals, cleaning agents)
  • Perfume and other scented products
  • Animal dander

Even if your office is smoke-free, residual smoke that lingers on a co-worker who has smoked a cigarette during a break can trigger a reaction if you’re sensitive to this allergen. The same can happen to people who suffer allergies from exposure to perfumes and animal dander, especially cat dander. If a particular co-worker wears a perfume or scent that aggravates your allergies, avoid that person’s cubicle. If you have to work closely together on a project, you may opt to politely mention your allergy.

REDUCING OFFICE ALLERGIES

There are easy ways to reduce your office allergy triggers. The first step is to identify the allergens that affect you most significantly. Once you know what triggers your allergies, you can take steps to reduce your exposure. Try these tips for reducing your office allergies:

  • Wipe your work area (all hard surfaces) daily with a disinfectant wipe
  • If you vacuum your work space, wear a mask
  • Run a dehumidifier if your office has high humidity to reduce risk of mold growth
  • Make sure your work space is well ventilated
  • Wash your hands after working with co-workers who have pets to avoid transferring any pet dander to your clothes, skin or face

The best way to deal with allergies in the office or any other work environment is to eliminate as many allergens as possible. A regular commercial cleaning service from ServiceMaster Clean can get that job done. Daily dusting, mopping and vacuuming can remove many of the allergens that affect workers helping to improve the condition and health of your work environment.

THE TOP 9 AIR PURIFYING INDOOR PLANTS

In the 1980s, scientists at NASA – motivated by the need to clean the air in space stations – conducted a Clean Air Study to identify the best air purifying indoor plants. Their final study advises that to optimally remove these toxins, one of these nine plants should be placed every 100 square feet of an office space or home.

SPIDER PLANT

Named for the shoots that sprout and bloom in all different directions, the spider plant is ideal for forgetful or first-time plant owners. Spider plants thrive in bright areas of the office that are not in direct sunlight, and you should let the soil dry between watering.

GARDEN MUM

NASA’s Clean Air Study crowned the cheerful, flowering garden mum as the one of the best air purifying plants. Mums are a popular potted plant found at many garden stores, and they have the added advantage of being able to thrive outside, too.

PEACE LILY

One of the smallest air purifying indoor plants on the list, the peace lily has excellent air-cleaning qualities for its size. It flowers throughout the summer months, filling a room with inviting aromas. Peace lilies prefer shady corners of the home or office, and the soil should be kept moist.

WEEPING FIG OR FICUS

If you’re looking for a larger plant that will last a long time, ficus trees can grow up to 10-feet tall indoors and live indoors for many, many years. Weeping figs are hardy plants that flourish in bright, indirect light and don’t like being moved around too much.

SNAKE PLANT

The snake plant is one of the toughest plants and nearly impossible to kill – which may explain its nickname, “mother-in-law’s tongue.” Snake plants like their fair share of sun and prefer dryer conditions, requiring only occasional watering.

ALOE VERA

Another excellent choice for an air purifying  plant is the aloe vera. Easy to care for, aloe vera also offers several benefits for the treatment of minor burns and skin irritations. Simply tear off a fleshy leaf from the plant and apply the liquid it contains directly to your skin to soothe dry, burned or itchy skin.

BAMBOO PALM

One of the best natural air filters for formaldehyde, the bamboo palm can grow impressively tall in a relatively short amount of time. Bamboo palms can stretch up to 12-feet tall, love indirect or filtered sunlight and should be watered when the soil starts to feel dry.

BOSTON FERN

The Boston fern is another great air purifying indoor plant, and it requires high humidity, a cool environment and indirect sunlight to thrive. The potting mixture for Boston ferns often contains a high amount of peat moss, which you should saturate during watering and then allow to fully drain.

DRACAENA

This species of plant, whose name translates to “female dragon,” comes in over 40 different varieties. The many choices let you find the perfect plant for practically any room. But, you should avoid this plant if you have an office pet– dracaena are toxic to dogs and cats. Add some greenery from our list to your home today, and reap the benefits of cleaner air.

In conclusion, plants are a great way to remove toxins from the air in the office, and help aid the progress towards a fresh and pure air space. These tips, as well as help from our other blog posts (can be found here) will help maximise your productivity in the workspace!