How to Keep Your Workspace Clean When Telecommuting

The advent and accessibility of high-speed internet, coupled with the growth of information- and communication-based industries, have made it possible and even practical for many employees to work remotely. And today, as COVID-19 (coronavirus 2019) swiftly spreads across the globe, telecommuting isn’t just convenient -- it’s essential. The benefits of remote work include reducing the time, cost, and emissions required to commute, increasing flexibility, and, of course, preventing the spread of infectious diseases.

Still, telecommuting comes with several challenges as well. Workplace culture can suffer from a lack of physical community, employees may feel isolated and out of the loop, and some might lack the self-discipline to get all their work done outside of the office. Employees who telecommute also lack the benefits of coming to an office that has been properly maintained by commercial cleaning services. And during this pandemic, working in a sanitary environment is more important than ever, even if you’re not surrounded by your coworkers.

Here’s how to keep your workspace clean when telecommuting.

Where are You Working?

By now, most authorities have either strongly insisted if not mandated that employees in “non-essential” industries only work from home (if the business can accommodate this transition). In other words, while you might enjoy working at a local cafe or library, as of now, your workplace should be your place of residence. The plus side of this is that by keeping your home clean, you simultaneously keep your workspace clean.

Social Distancing Doesn’t Get You Off the Hook When it Comes to Cleaning

You might think that working from home rids you of the responsibility of cleaning. While it’s true that keeping your distance from others during this pandemic helps reduce the rate of spread of COVID-19, this virus, as well as other diseases, can still make their way to your home office. And if you don’t act as your own home cleaning services, for the time being, you increase your chances of getting sick. Here’s how this scenario could happen:

  • You run out of groceries or realize you need certain supplies to work from home.
  • You travel to the nearest open store to get what you need.
  • You stay away from other customers but touch various surfaces as you fill your basket or cart.
  • Germs are transferred from the surface to your hands.
  • You grab your phone, transferring germs to its surface, and put it back in your pocket.
  • You pay for your items and go home.
  • You wash your hands thoroughly.
  • You grab your phone again (not having cleaned it) and then begin typing on your keyboard
  • You touch your face, etc.
  • The germs from the store, which ended up on your phone and then your keyboard, finally land on your face and possibly enter your body, even after you washed your hands thoroughly.

Because COVID-19 and other diseases can survive on various surfaces for prolonged periods of time, this chain of events is entirely possible. So, how can you prevent this from happening to you?

Wash Your Hands Properly and Regularly

While it’s possible to fall ill even after washing your hands (as shown above), proper handwashing is crucial for lowering your chances of infection. Best practices for washing your hands include:

  • Washing hands after:
    • Using the bathroom
    • Preparing food
    • Eating
    • Coughing/sneezing
    • Cleaning messes
    • Changing diapers
    • Cleaning up after pets
    • Touching money and foreign surfaces
  • Washing hands before:
    • Preparing food
    • Eating
  • Proper technique:
    • Wetting hands with warm water
    • Using effective soap product (containing moisturizer to promote skin health)
    • Rubbing hands together, scrubbing all areas (i.e. between fingers, under fingernails, etc.) for at least 15-20 seconds
    • Rinsing thoroughly
    • Drying hands with a clean towel
    • Turning off faucet using a towel, not directly contacting with hands

Use Effective Disinfectant Products on Surfaces

Keeping your hands thoroughly cleaned helps ensure that germs don’t end up on your frequently-touched surfaces in your home office, such as your desk, keyboard, computer monitor, phone, etc. Still, recontamination may occur when touching these objects, so cleaning and disinfecting them directly is also a key component of proper home office cleaning.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a helpful list of disinfecting products that eliminate or nullify various pathogens, including coronavirus. Make sure your workspace is equipped with proper cleaning products such as these, and use them as directed on the label. Proper and safe usage might require personal protection equipment (PPE) or other considerations.

Be Accountable for Yourself

Quality commercial cleaning companies have various programs in place to ensure compliance and bolster accountability among cleaning staff. When telecommuting and caring for your own workspace, though, you must take on this responsibility for yourself. This compliance monitoring protocol won’t be formal, but you can formalize it by creating a schedule that keeps you on top of your cleaning and disinfecting routine. If this seems like a waste of time and effort, remember your reasons for doing it in the first place. You want to stay healthy and keep those around you healthy as well. The more you can do, the better.

The freedom you gain from telecommuting is both a blessing and a curse, and a large chunk of the population must suddenly adapt. While you might not have personal janitorial services to maintain your home office, you can learn to take on these duties yourself. The Budd Group has decades of experience cleaning and disinfecting facilities of all kinds, so if you need advice on keeping your workspace clean when telecommuting, we’re more than happy to help.

To learn more about our services, our people, and our mission, give us a call today at 800-221-8158.

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