Now that the lockdown is almost over, you may be excited to return to your office and resume working alongside colleagues. The cafeteria, the water cooler, the vending machine, your desk may be calling out to you. At the same time, you may want to ensure that you and everyone at office stays safe and protected from harmful germs and infections. To ensure a safe workplace, it must be disinfected and cleaned regularly.

While everyone who comes into work must maintain personal hygiene like wearing a mask, washing or sanitising their hands, maintaining physical distance; this must be supplemented with maintaining environmental hygiene too.

Why disinfect your office?

As you may be aware, germs can travel up to several feet after a sneeze or a cough and can rest on nearby surfaces, indirectly spreading infections when someone touches them. Since multiple people touch common surfaces at office such as elevator buttons, tables, chairs, etc, these high touch surfaces need not just be cleaned, but also disinfected to protect against spread of infections.

For ease of implementation, you may split the disinfection routine as per areas- office interiors, exteriors and toilets.

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Disinfecting office interiors

How do you know that the surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom have been disinfected?

Office interiors include everything from the main entrance onwards till your work desk. These include the lobbies, reception area, elevators, staircase, handrails, escalators, security booths, cafeteria, meeting rooms, conference halls, cabins, cubicles, etc. Almost all of these are high contact areas because they are common to the entire staff.

They must be cleaned and disinfected daily after office hours or early morning before they are occupied. If any surface within these areas is visibly dirty, first get it cleaned with soap and water. Thereafter, it can be disinfected for better hygiene.

Another high touch surface is the floor. You can clean and disinfect the floor using a suitable disinfectant floor cleaner, like a sodium-hypochlorite based product such as Domex Disinfectant Floor Cleaner. Follow usage instructions on the pack and always test on an inconspicuous area check compatibility first.

Now throughout the office, there are some surfaces that are touched extensively by most people. Think high touch surfaces such as handrails, tables, switches, doorknobs, etc. It is recommended to clean and disinfect them frequently.  

All these surfaces can be cleaned with a regular household detergent and water. After cleaning, you can disinfect them for better hygiene. You can use products such as Domex Multipurpose Disinfectant Spray. It contains Sodium Hypochlorite as recommended by leading health organisations for disinfecting surfaces. It kills germs on frequently touched surfaces and protects against infection causing germs. Always test on a small hidden area and rinse to check compatibility first and follow usage instructions on the pack.

Disinfecting office exteriors

Although outdoor areas have lesser risk as compared to indoor areas because of air currents and sunlight, it is suggested to frequently follow similar cleaning and disinfection tips as above for high contact office exterior areas such as bus stop, parks, gates, etc.

Disinfecting the toilets

Toilets are germ hotspots for obvious reason. They definitely need to be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly every day. The sink, taps, flush handles, toilet lid, paper napkin and soap dispensers, door handles and other such high touch surfaces can be cleaned with soap and water. Thereafter they can be disinfected with a multipurpose disinfectant such as those from Domex. Follow usage instructions on the pack.

The toilet bowl can be deep cleaned using cleaning agent and long handle angular brush. You can use products like Domex Disinfectant Toilet Cleaner.  For the floor of the toilet, clean and disinfect with solution containing sodium hypochlorite such as Domex Disinfectant Floor Cleaner. Follow usage instructions on the pack and always test on a small inconspicuous first to check for compatibility. Do not mix acid and bleach.  

Disinfecting your work space

Although the office would be cleaned and disinfected by the cleaning crew, it is a good idea to remove germs from your work desk, desk items and chair with germ-removal wipes, such as Domex Germ-Removal Wipes. You can read more details about how to protect yourself at work here.

Ensure the cleaning crew wears personal protective equipment (PPE) i.e. disposable rubber boots, heavy duty gloves and triple layer mask before every cleaning and disinfection exercise.

Personal protective equipment that is disposable must be disposed off immediately after use, in a safe manner, either in a disposable garbage bag or closed bin. Follow this with thorough handwashing with soap and water. Hands must be washed after removing each piece of PPE and at the end.

Cleaning equipment must also be disinfected or disposed of, as the case may be, after every use.

It is recommended that the cleaning crew uses separate set of cleaning equipment for toilets and separate for sink and commode and discards cleaning material made of cloth like mops, wiping cloth, etc. 

Don’t forget to place hand sanitisers at each high contact common area, especially at the entrance to the office premises. You can use alcohol-based hand sanitisers such as those available from Lifebuoy.

Follow these tips to make a safe comeback to office.