An office hygiene policy is a document outlining the steps everyone who works or visits there has to take to keep the environment clean and sanitary.
In the past, certain aspects of office hygiene were left to employees’ personal choice, while others were outsourced to cleaning companies. A global pandemic and more virulent mutations of the flu have made many businesses rethink this approach.
Sick employees cost the economy 77.5 billion pounds every year, says a Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey. Since the average employee spends around 42 hours a week at work, minimizing their exposure to and transmission of contagious diseases reduces productivity losses and keeps everyone connected to them safer.
It all starts with your office hygiene policy.
Create The Policy
The policy is going to be influenced by what your business is. If your business brings large numbers of people through your door, it’s likely your policy is going to be more stringent than a small, private office with limited exposure to the public.
Other questions need to be answered. Will you be hiring a cleaning company? What will their duties be when they are hired? Will your employees be responsible for any specific areas, like their workstations? How often are personal workstations to be cleaned? Will the company be providing cleaning and disinfecting supplies? Will you have a clean desk mandate?
It’s important to determine who cleans what as you may only want professionals to handle certain equipment in your office, like computer hardware.
Once you have the policy written, be sure to check with HR to ensure it violates no workplace-related laws. Get your employees involved in the process.
When the policy is set, distribute copies throughout your office.
Explain Why The Policy Has To Be Implemented
Following the policy may cause some inconvenience to employees and visitors to your office.
As an employer, you will need to find a way to promote the benefits of the policy. For example, the increased level of safety it promotes should be a more than fair exchange for the inconvenience caused.
Make The Policy Easy For Employees To Follow
Give your employees the equipment they need to carry out their responsibilities under your office hygiene policy.
If they have to follow a clean desk mandate, ensure they have disinfectant wipes or sprays for their desks and phones.
If your policy calls for employees to wash their hands more regularly, it means you need to have antibacterial soaps in your bathroom. If you’d like them to keep their hands clean, you should provide them with hand sanitizer for the times they will not be able to go to the bathroom.
Do Your Part As An Employer
Your obligation does not end with the creation of the policy. Beyond the most basic cleaning, by law, employees are not supposed to take on the role of the janitorial staff.
This means you either need to hire individuals or a company with this expertise. Beyond giving employees their cleaning supplies, you also have a responsibility to ensure office common areas, like the lunchroom, bathroom, and kitchen, are cleaned and disinfected by those skilled to do so.
Employees are more likely to keep their areas clean if the rest of the office is clean too.
Get The Support of Office Stakeholders
Partner with your HR and Marketing departments when implementing your office hygiene policy.
HR is the department that interfaces with employees most, while your marketing or sales departments are the ones most likely to interact with your customers and the public.
They can smooth the way for your policy to be implemented with less friction.
The cleaning company you use is one of the most important stakeholders in the implementation of your office hygiene policy. You want a company with a solid reputation and years of experience. Why not speak to us? We’ve been taking care of sanitising our clients IT equipment for over 25 years throughout Scotland. Call us at 0141 374 2869 for a no obligation chat.