Who is Responsible For The Cleanliness Of An Office?
Many offices across the country have spent the last few months getting to grips with the return to the office following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the summer. While lots of companies have implemented a hybrid model that includes working from home, many still wish to make use of their office space.
With this in mind, it’s important to seriously consider office cleaning and hygiene. As a society, we’re more hygiene conscious than ever before, and employees will rightly expect a certain level of cleanliness in the workplace.
In this article, we’ll take a look at who is ultimately responsible for workplace cleaning, and how you can encourage your workforce to support your cleanliness efforts.
Is it a legal requirement for an employer to clean an office?
While there is no direct law that focuses specifically on cleanliness, employment law dictates that all employers have a duty of care for their staff. The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) states that all workplaces must do everything reasonably practical to ensure a safe and healthy workplace, and this includes maintaining its cleanliness. If you don’t abide by this office health and safety legislation and are found to have breached the regulations, you could face hefty fines or even prison time.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an extra strand to office health and safety. Now, offices must ensure their staff are as safe as possible from the virus. The government has provided guidance on how to do this including creating a COVID-19 risk assessment, social distancing, hand sanitiser, regular office cleaning and ventilation.
Plus, if any staff members need to self-isolate as advised by NHS Track and Trace, this should be accommodated.
Who is responsible for the cleanliness of an office?
While the overall health and safety, and therefore cleanliness, of office space falls on you as the employer, it doesn’t hurt to encourage a bit of autonomy when it comes to workstation cleaning.
In the age of hot desking, where different people may be sitting at the same desk, it’s only courteous for the space to be left in a clean and tidy condition. Encourage employees to conduct their own office desk cleaning at the end of each day which can involve wiping down desks and computer equipment, tidying away paperwork and washing any mugs, plates and cutlery.
Not only will this individual workstation cleaning reduce the risk of COVID or any other virus being passed on, but it’ll provide a great impression to any guests or clients and instil a positive workplace culture.
Ultimately, you as the employer will be responsible for the overall hygiene and cleanliness of your office. In order to help keep things in order, you can put together workplace cleaning policies such as cleaning rotas for communal areas (like kitchens) among staff and supply cleaning materials such as sprays and wipes to encourage people to clean up after themselves.
Many businesses also hire professional cleaning services to help them stay on top of things.
When it comes to your building’s exterior, it can be a little more complicated to determine who is responsible. If you own the building then, again, this responsibility falls on you. However, if you lease the space then your landlord will be the one who foots the bill if your exterior needs any repairs, maintenance or cleaning.
How can you motivate employees to keep an office clean?
Responsibility may be down to you as the employer, but that doesn’t mean staff can’t do their bit to ensure the environment is as hygienic and pleasant as possible. In the wake of the pandemic, the first thing you should do is to encourage proper hand-washing. This is the best way to tackle any virus, and appropriate signage can be placed in bathroom areas so everyone understands the best way to wash their hands.
Implementing an office hygiene policy is also a good way to make sure everyone understands the basics, and this will make staff aware of their own hygiene behaviour. As previously mentioned, creating some kind of cleaning schedule or rota for communal areas is a great way to encourage a clean office.
Finally, make sure all your staff have been supplied with appropriate storage space. This could be drawers, filing cabinets or shelving where paperwork can be stored. This will mean your office is less cluttered and should motivate staff to be cleaner and tidier across the board.
At Scott & Sons, we understand the importance of workplace cleaning. As well as keeping staff healthy, it fosters a positive working environment that can help your business achieve its goals. That’s why we offer a fantastic office cleaning service across St Albans, Watford and Hemel Hempstead that can be tailored exactly to your office space. Utilising our 40 years of experience in the industry, we offer everything from regular visits to one-off deep cleans. As well as carpet cleaning, window cleaning and more, our office cleaning service includes coronavirus cleaning, ensuring your office is safe for everyone.
To find out more, get in touch with the team at Scott & Sons today.