How the correct cleaning protocols can help avoid employee sick days

Property Management | 6/6/2022

Though there are many challenges in running a business, one of the most prevalent that all business owners have experienced over the past three years is how quickly sicknesses can spread through an office setting. When employees are out of work, this can slow productivity and ultimately result in many internal downfalls, such as lengthened lead times and unhappy customers. 

While employees can get sick from many sources, including from children, friends and foodborne diseases, an office manager or business owner must implement the right cleaning protocols and schedules to prevent viruses from spreading on their premises and keep as many employees in action as possible. 

Given that every office operates differently, business owners will need to implement procedures that work best for them and make their staff the most comfortable with working at the office. However, a general cleaning guide is as follows: 

Clean Computer Equipment Daily 

Employees are using their computer equipment in an office day in and day out. Though they may not realise it, touching their face, coughing or eating while working can all contribute to the level of bacteria that a workspace houses. Though many employees have their own computer, keyboard and mouse, there are many collaborative instances where they may be forced to share resources, meaning that germs and viruses can quickly spread to other team members. 

Implementing strict cleaning protocols, where office equipment is cleaned daily before the staff member goes home, can reduce the spread of bacteria and help prevent any infections from outbreaking in the work environment. To incentivise staff to do so, provide each worker with an after-day cleaning checklist, a bottle of all-purpose cleaner and their own set of microfibre cloths. This shares the responsibility of cleanliness and hygiene with them, keeps all of their materials close and can build a habit into their daily schedule. 

If an outbreak does occur or a staff member calls in sick, taking some time to re-sanitise any office surfaces they touched can clean any equipment that may still be carrying infectious bacteria. It is important to note though that disposal of any cleaning equipment in a step-on bin is essential to avoid accidental cross-contamination. 

Chairs must be sanitised 

While many business owners understand the importance of sanitising and disinfecting surfaces that are frequently touched, many often forget about chairs, especially those in staff rooms. Though chairs, especially those that are upholstered, may seem difficult to clean, business owners must be doing so at least once a week to guarantee that any germs or contaminants are removed from the surface and not given time to grow.

Before sanitising, any visible debris, such as crumbs, should be removed from the surface. It is easiest to do so with Brooms and Dustpans. However, many alternatives can also be used, including a disposable cloth.

After all debris have been removed, upholstered chairs can be additionally cleaned with a steam cleaner to kill microorganisms. It is always best to call an external cleaning company to operate this machinery. Though, business owners can also source one if they are looking for a cost-effective solution. All other chairs that are not upholstered can be wiped with a microfibre cloth and a solution of choice. 

High contact points for visitors 

Though some firms and offices only provide access to their staff, others have high volumes of visitors, including clients, business partners, sales people and mail carriers. These visitors can unknowingly bring germs, bacteria and viruses into the property, which are then transmitted to staff members who touch the same surfaces. This includes; but isn’t limited to door handles, toilet flush buttons and shared kitchen amenities. 

Depending on the structure of the office and the staff inside, business owners should designate a specific worker to look after and sanitise surfaces after guests have visited. The designated staff member should consider all points of contact. Some cleaning protocols can include wiping down surfaces with a cloth or mopping the bathroom floor with a Hygen Wet Mop after building guests may have used them.

Keeping these protocols strictly in place, even after COVID19 awareness drops can prevent all sorts of viruses from outbreaking, such as the highly contractable gastroenteritis virus that is regularly picked up from soiled or poorly sanitised toilet seats. 

Other key considerations 

To keep staff safe and healthy, and consequently avoid having to take sick days, business owners must consider every aspect of their cleaning schedule. Once established, this schedule should be revised often to pick up any areas of the property that may not be receiving the regular sanitisation it needs. 

Taking the time to analyse a property, where staff are gathering the most, and any surfaces they commonly lean on is also a great indication of areas that may need to be cleaned more frequently than currently allotted. 

Some key areas business owners often forget to include in their schedules include: 

  • Curtains and blinds 
  • Elevator buttons 
  • Shared sets of keys 
  • Windows 
  • Switches 
  • Shared Appliances 
  • Door handles
  • Kitchen taps or water dispenser taps

Helping businesses keep employees safe 


The team at Rubbermaid Commercial is passionate about supplying the necessary materials to guarantee the safety of those working in an office environment. From cleaning solutions to waste management products, there are solutions and resources available for the property management sector, to keep surfaces and office environments hygienic. 

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