Spring cleaning, office style

It’s a healthy, employee-centric practice that has plenty of benefits for everyone
Wendis Cs Banner Img Janelle

While perhaps not as fascinating a subject as how AI and ChatGPT change the way we work, spring cleaning is one of the few topics that does or should impact every business, especially as more people return to the office.

Spring is here and with it comes the urge to breathe fresh air. As temperatures pushed into the 80s in April, dormant AC units might have been fired up, ceiling fans turned on and long-closed windows were opened. What came in with it? All that dust from the past six months on the windowsills, the prized knickknacks, tops of cabinets and other hidden locations is suddenly getting kicked up, blown into the office space and is exacerbating any team members’ spring allergies.

That bright spring sunshine is pretty amazing, but the sun is not your friend when it comes to cleaning, because all those dust particles flying around are highlighted by those rays. It’s true that if there are no visitors and your team relies on video conferences to connect with others, no one might see the accumulated winter dust and debris, but it’s there.

Think about the other big change associated with Zoom-related connections — people stay at their desks more and that often means eating and drinking in their space. That can equate to new messes — some easy to see and others more hidden, but still there. (Tip: Make sure there is a trash can at every desk but discourage those trash cans for being food debris depositories, as that belongs in your kitchen trash.)

As commercial cleaners, our team has seen a myriad of cleaning challenges and also recognize how best practices can help make an office a cleaner, less cluttered and happier place for staff. We’ll leave some of our discoveries to your imagination since they can be a little surprising at times — think science experiments gone bad. But like your house, condo or apartment, your office space needs a deep spring cleaning. I promise: People notice clean as well as dirty.

A deep clean is a healthy, employee-centric practice that everyone appreciates. From a health standpoint, though, it is just one step to take when trying to keep an office space clean and free from germs.

The past three-plus years have taught us a lot about germs. Where they reside in an office setting is really not that different from your home. However, depending on the size of your office, it can be equal to constantly having 20 to 50 or more people touch and be in contact with things you routinely grab or handle without a second thought. It’s worth reminding team members that everyone plays a role in keeping an office space clean and healthy. As someone in the cleaning business, here are my top five dirty things in the office:

1. Handles: That’s all handles, not just toilet handles. It’s doorknobs, cabinets and drawers — even the coffee pot.

2. Kitchens and break rooms: Depending on the size of an office, those microwaves could be used dozens of times a day and the fridge handle pulled open every few minutes. This area is a bigger culprit for germs than the bathroom.

3. Keyboards and your mouse: These can get quite nasty, especially with more eating at desks.

4. Your phone: How many times is a phone shared with colleagues to view a message or image? Lots. While we’re not going to clean your phones, we urge you to be attentive to a device that can harbor more germs than a toilet seat.

5. The desk area: This might be the worst germ- and dirt-harboring culprit. People stay at their desks longer these days due to video meetings and fewer face-to-face interactions, consuming various substances in this small spot throughout the day. Keep in mind that what gets transferred from your desk winds up in common areas.

As spring continues to warm our spaces and lengthen the daylight, do keep in mind that a good way to start the season is with a deep clean and a reminder that a shared space benefits from proactive healthy practices.

Janelle Ward is the owner of Amherst-based Wendi’s Cleaning Service, a commercial cleaning firm that serves southern New Hampshire and the Lakes Region.

Categories: Workplace Advice