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With the COVID-19 pandemic, staying safe and clean is more important than ever before, however, public spaces can house thousands of germs. Light switches, door handles, community kitchens, sink faucets – you name it, there are probably germs nesting on it. Consider how many surfaces you touch every day. If you touch it, several other people most likely touched it before you. Find out where the most germs in public places exist and how you can avoid them with tips from ServiceMaster Clean.

Germs In Doctors’ Offices

Visiting a doctor’s office is unavoidable. However, it’s not exactly the place you’d want to be if you needed to avoid germs. Offices including your general practitioner, a paediatrician and urgent care are riddled with germs from sick patients. Writing utensils, chairs, doorknobs and exam tables likely cling to germs, putting you at risk for exposure.

How To Avoid Them

To avoid germs at a doctor’s office, follow these tips:

  • Pack your own tissues and hand sanitisers.
  • Sit far away from other sick patients to put space between yourself and their germs.
  • Bring your own reading material.
  • When taking your child to the doctor, bring his or her favourite toys to keep them from touching germ-infested toys at the office.

Germs In Restaurants

While health officers may inspect restaurant kitchens to ensure practices are hygienic, the same inspection doesn’t occur in the restaurant’s seating area. Here, hidden germs can multiply in areas that aren’t sanitised as often as they should be. For example, restaurant menus are quickly handed from one guest to the next. Condiment bottles and salt and pepper shakers typically aren’t wiped down in between guests, either. Even the booth you’re sitting in may not be completely germ-free before you sit down.

How To Avoid Them When They Reopen

To avoid germs in a restaurant, follow these tips:

  • Sanitise condiment bottles or use a disinfectant wipe before you touch them.
  • Ask the server to wipe down the booth with a sanitiser cloth before you sit.
  • Never let your menu touch your plate or silverware.
  • Keep silverware on a napkin or your plate, never on the table.

Germs In Bathrooms

Even when regularly cleaned, public bathrooms contain plenty of germs. Germs can be found on the toilet seat handle, stall handle, bathroom faucet, and bathroom door, among other areas. To help cut down on the amount of germ transfer, many public restrooms today have installed hands-free devices like toilets, sinks and dryers. However, germs can still spread.

How To Avoid Them

If the public restroom you’re visiting doesn’t have handle-free equipment, you can avoid germs by following these tips:

  • Use a paper towel to touch handles.
  • Never set things like jackets or purses on the bathroom floor.
  • Don’t stick around after the toilet flushes, since the force could cause bacteria to fly into the air and land on your clothes.
  • If you can manage, try flushing the toilet with your foot to avoid touching the handle.
  • Learn how to wash your hands properly so they stay clean in every public space.

Germs In Offices

Offices are filled with shared workspaces that build up germs. Surfaces like the printer, fax machine, coffee maker, refrigerator, telephones and desks can go weeks or even months without being sanitized, putting you at risk for illness.

How To Avoid Them

To avoid germs at work, follow these tips:

  • Use a printable office cleaning checklist to keep your space neat and tidy.
  • Sanitize your work station daily.
  • Designate an employee in your office to be in charge of sanitizing common areas, like the kitchen or conference room.
  • Use a professional cleaning service to deeply clean your office and create a healthier work environment.

If you need a professional cleaning service to sanitize your public space, call the experts at ServiceMaster Clean our genuine commitment to offering you the best service with the proper tools, equipment, training and expertise, we can be there for you 24/7, any day of the year. Find your nearest ServiceMaster Clean to find out more today.

Operating a business in the rough winter months can present additional challenges for companies, employees and customers. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to remedy winter weather situations and help keep customers and employees safe in the season known for slips and falls. All it takes is a little planning, vigilance and the cooperation of your staff and business partners. Use the simple checklist below of five top winter safety tips for the workplace from ServiceMaster Clean.

Winter Safety Checklist For Businesses

Clear walkways of snow and ice.
Make sure your car park, walkways and other outdoor passages are always free from snow and ice. Consider asking neighbouring businesses to do the same to help contribute to the accessibility of public areas. If the weather calls for snow or freezing temperatures, put down salt the night before as a precaution. Of course, you should also remind employees to drive cautiously on their way to and from work, if needed in the office.

Have an emergency kit.
No one likes the idea of being stuck at work, but if you do end up stranded during a winter storm, make sure you have specific safety and survival essentials on hand. Along with a traditional first aid kit, your emergency kit should include a battery- or solar-powered radio, torches, thermal blankets, clean water and non-perishable food to last everyone at least three days.

Use your caution signs and stay compliant.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has certain requirements and standards for walking and working surfaces and hazard signs. Make sure you have signage for any walkways so you can alert people when surfaces are wet or slippery. Put up caution signs as soon as a hazard is identified, and make sure they can be easily seen by anyone walking through the area.

Put down absorbent floor carpets and mats.
If you know your staff or customers will track in melting snow or ice, make sure your business is equipped to keep the moisture at bay with absorbent floor carpets and mats that can contain excess water and mud. Place mats at all entrances and exits to prevent as many slips and trips as possible. If you find standing water on the floor, have it mopped up right away.

Remind employees to wear the right footwear.
Remind employees to wear the shoes they need to stay safe in winter weather conditions. Insulated and water-resistant snow boots provide better traction and reliability in winter weather than regular shoes or trainers, decreasing the risk of accidental falls. Remind employees not to rush and advise them that taking small steps can help them react to changes in traction with more control. Don’t let your business become a dangerous place to work in the winter.

 

Put these five tips into action to help ensure your building and people are properly equipped to stay safe all season long. Find your nearest ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services to find out about our cleaning services during the winter months.

Covid-19 has heightened our awareness of our surroundings and the cleanliness of shared spaces, especially when we’re out in public. We’re all doing our best not to touch our faces, use hand sanitiser, wash our hands frequently and wear face masks.

With new measures around the UK being put into place, the government are advising to work from home if you’re physically able to do so.

So, as business owners and facility managers are working to keep pace with new ‘new normal’, being able to open and stay open where possible, all employees must observe a clean space. Sanitising and disinfecting play a critical role in keeping businesses open and safe and common areas are one of the hardest areas to keep clean. With this being said, we’ve put together 3 tips for managing common areas during Covid-19.

Tip #1 – Determine foot traffic areas

Each business operates differently and uses the space in different ways. Given current pandemic conditions, tracking the different levels of foot traffic is critical.

  • Is the daily foot traffic volume consistent, or is foot traffic heavier on certain days or times?
  • Is it only employees entering and exiting the building, or are there also customers and various contractors using the building?
  • Does your particular facility support or supply those considered “at-risk” (immunocompromised, immunodeficient, elderly, etc.)?
  • Do you have a process for tracking all that are entering and exiting the building? So, in the event of a case, all can be notified to isolate.

The UK government advises on keeping track of all individuals that enter your premises and inform them if they have come into contact with infectious activity.

Make sure you have appropriate cleaning schemes and disinfection cycles in place for your premises, if you have a case or not.

Tip #2 – Determine all high touch areas

Now that you have determined the individuals who are entering and exiting the building it is time to determine what those frequently touched areas are.

Common areas that are visited more often, are more likely to be higher risk areas of infection and that is why it is so important to clean and disinfect common areas in response to your assessed activity.

A good way to work out your high touch areas is to walk through your premises a few times yourself and write down a list of those points that you have to touch to get where you’re going and to do what you need to do.

In addition to these observations, managing common areas during COVID-19 will need to ensure you’re sanitising the following:

  • Doorknobs/handles
  • Light Switches
  • Drawers
  • Refrigerator and Microwave Doors
  • Chair Arms
  • All kitchen and dining areas
  • All bathroom touch surfaces
  • Keyboards and mice
  • Conference room touchpoints
  • Elevator buttons
  • Drinking fountains

Once you have your list compiled, determine the appropriate cleaning agent for each space. Appropriate guidelines are to:

  • Always use approved cleaning methods and products
  • Always use gloves and appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) when necessary.
  • Always instruct employees on which agents must be diluted and how to do so according to manufacturer guidelines

Alternatively, you can contact your local ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services to complete all schedules and cleaning within your business premises.

Tip #3 – Use a cleaning company

Weekly, daily, and certainly hourly disinfecting is a big task that can take away from business productivity and business goals. Outsourcing cleaning to a trusted and experienced commercial cleaning company can give you peace of mind and give you more time to work on your business.

ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services offer contract cleaning services throughout the UK, if however; you require one-off cleans and do not have contract cleaning requirements you can get in touch with one of our local ServiceMaster Clean sister companies.

You can find your local ServiceMaster Clean Company here.

The entire office culture across the UK has completely changed and most businesses will not return back to normal, instead a ‘new normal’ will have to be put in place.

Following lockdown, many businesses are gradually starting the process of getting their staff back to work and there are changes to the offices that have had to be made post-coronavirus.

Returning to work will have to happen in stages and the transition time will be stressful for all involved.

 

What returning to work will look like

Offices around the world are having to change the way they operate, it that means doing flexible working, for example, three days in the office and two days working remotely, or limiting the amount of staff in the offices completely, is something that has to be done.

Having an office presence is important for both processes and cultural practices and it’s going to be tempting to revert back to pre-pandemic. To help stop the spread of COVID-19 this needs to be watched carefully and enforced within the office environment.

There are three employee segments that can be considered:

  • Fully Remote working (All work can be completed at home, like a marketing role for example)
  • Hybrid Remote (As mentioned above, working at the office and at home on split days)
  • On-Site (For those that physically have to be in work, like tradespeople, cleaners etc)

 Get together with your employees and ask them what they’d prefer and if suitable for the type of business bring in the practices they want.

Redesigning the workplace

The pre-pandemic typical office was likely a mixture of private offices and open desks with staff sat side by side, meeting rooms and shared amenities. Well, this is not the case now as new measures have to be in place to keep your staff safe.

Businesses need to create workspaces to keep all employees safe, here are a few examples:

  1. Social Distancing measures must be put in place, meaning the staff are more spread out, although this does mean less staff will be allowed in the offices
  2. Bring in separate cubicles for all employees, protected with screens if needed, block off alternative desks in open-plan offices
  3. Staggered break times to ensure only a limited number of employees are in break out areas at any one time
  4. Introduce a one-way system around the office premises to ensure staff are socially distanced as much as possible
  5. Hand sanitising stations at entry and exit points, also if possible on all employees’ desks

Now is the time to initiate change

Employers around the UK need to start experimenting with bringing their employees back to offices if this isn’t possible then make working remotely more efficient by introducing more organisational digital software.

Experimenting isn’t going to hurt, if something doesn’t work for your company, try something different.

New cleaning measures are a must

Cleaning your office more effectively during and after the pandemic is vital and new cleaning regimes MUST be implemented to keep all employees safe.

Your new cleaning regime should include regular cleaning of high touch point areas on top of your regular cleaning, more frequent cleaning in high traffic areas should also be considered.

If there’s a case within your offices then a deep clean, disinfection and sanitisation should be considered before allowing people back into a possibly contaminated space.

Getting the right cleaning regime in place now, supported by the right professional cleaning company, offers reassurance for you, your employees and any visitors to your building.

If you have been doing the cleaning yourself or not getting the right level of support from your cleaning company it’s time to get in touch with your local ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services company, where you know you can rely on local commitment with national support and over 60 years of experience in the cleaning industry in the UK.

 

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.

 

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.