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Coronavirus Reopening: How to Mitigate the Risk of COVID-19 in Your Workplace
Posted on August 28, 2020
In the turbulent times of Covid-19, business need to make critical decisions quickly. As we all learn to navigate our new “normal” with the Covid-19 pandemic, Greenhouse remains invested in working in tandem with our New York City business community to safeguard the health of their workforce. Contact Us Today!
In late 2019, SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes the illness known as COVID-19 — began spreading person-to-person, primarily through respiratory droplets produced as someone with the virus talks, coughs, or sneezes in proximity to others.
While it is less common, touching surfaces with traces of the virus is also known as another means for transmission, and there is published research into how long the SARS-CoV-2 lasts on different surfaces. However, how long SARS-CoV-2 remains infectious on these surfaces is still unknown.
So far, two major studies have been published testing how long SARS-CoV-2 stays on surfaces:
The second study was featured in The Lancet, which analyzed droplets containing a controlled amount of virus placed onto a surface.
Since March, health officials have stressed regular cleaning and disinfection of all kinds of surfaces that we touch routinely to fight the spreadCOVID-19 and regularly cleaning one's hands. With that in mind, we'll summarize how long coronavirus can live on surfaces based on these studies' findings.
How long does coronavirus live on surfaces?
Plastic (3-7 days)
Common Surfaces: Food packaging, water bottles, and milk containers, credit cards, remote controls, light switches, computer keyboards and mouses, ATM buttons.
The NEJM study detected the virus on plastic for up to 3 days while the Lancet detected the virus on plastic for up to 7 days.
Stainless Steel (3-7 days)
Common Surfaces: door handles, refrigerators, handrails, keys, cutlery, pots and pans, industrial equipment.
While the NEJM article found that the virus could remain on stainless steel after three days, researchers for the Lancet article detected it for up to 7 days.
Copper (Up to 4 days)
Common Surfaces: Coins, cookware, jewelry, electrical wires.
Paper (Up to 4 days)
Common Surfaces: Paper, money, stationery, magazines and newspapers, tissues, towels, toilet paper.
The Lancet study found that the virus could last three days on printed paper, while on other paper types such as money, it could last four days.
Glass (Up to 4 days)
Common Surfaces: Windows, mirrors, drinkware, screens for TVs, computers, and phones.
Cardboard (Up to 24 hrs)
Common Surfaces: Food packaging, shipping boxes.
With the information of how long the coronavirus lasts on various surfaces from these studies, it is a good idea for homes and businesses to appropriately clean and disinfect high-touch surface areas, such as kitchen or break room counters, fridges, and sinks, dining tables, doorknobs and workspaces on a set schedule.
If you're looking for more information and tips on the most effective ways to keep your surfaces clean, contact Greenhouse Eco-Cleaning today.
Once we are able to safely return to work, we'll need to consider how we regularly clean our offices and workplace facilities in ways we may not have thought of before the coronavirus (COVID-19) upended our everyday work and life routines. While anxiety about returning and sharing workspaces with co-workers is certainly understandable, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has suggested several important strategies for space-hygiene that we can adopt to promote safe, clean offices.
Along with observing social distancing, encouraging face coverings and practicing proper hygiene (regular hand washing) as part of following the CDC guidelines, this office cleaning checklist will help you update cleaning practices for your everyday work routine and a healthy work environment.
Get the Right Cleaning Tools
There are several important cleaning tools every office should have depending on different situations, such as routine cleaning, deep cleaning, or disinfection. The CDC suggests often using green cleaners and soap and water solutions for routine cleaning of surfaces, while stronger disinfectants can be used more for eradicating viruses or bacteria, particularly in spaces where a co-worker has shown signs of illness for instance. Here are a few items to mark on your checklist:
PPE — maintain stocks of face masks, nitrile gloves, hand sanitizer and cleaning solutions for all employees and staff onsite.
For disinfection, stock appropriately-rated respirator masks and protective gowns
Office Cleaning Procedures
Along with updated cleaning routines, various public health organizations have suggested a few other strategies for keeping employees safe in addition to a modified cleaning routine. Some of these suggestions include:
Consider staggering work shift schedules where employees rotate (A/B shifts) coming into the office. This will not only limit contact and possible spread of illness but accommodate cleaning schedules and limited workstations.
Keep necessary cleaning supplies stocked, labeled and accessible in high-traffic areas, such as disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and paper towels etc.
Encourage employees to use the office’s cleaning supplies to wipe down surfaces in their personal workstation.
Provide a channel for employees to suggest improvements in space-hygiene as well as request cleaning supplies and services.
Consider touchless office upgrades that reduce contact at high-touch areas such as technology for touchless access into the office, as well as motion-sensing lights, towel dispensers, soap and hand sanitizer dispensers.
Recommended Office Cleaning Schedules
While every office is different and will have different cleaning needs, there are a few things to consider when it comes to cleaning routines. According to the CDC, “at least daily, clean and disinfect all surfaces that are frequently touched by multiple people.” Such high-touch areas include:
High-touch surface areas typically include:
Bathroom Fixtures such as faucets and toilets
Workstations and workstation electronics
There are times your office may need to escalate its cleaning schedule and regiment during the year in terms of disinfecting surface areas and deep cleaning in the office (upholstery, window treatments, and carpets). That could include:
Should a significant outbreak of transmissible illness/rise in COVID-19 cases occur in your region
After any relatively large office meetings
During peak flu season in late fall/winter
Should an employee report they have a transmissible illness
Finally, any business should identify a professional cleaning company that can meet the demands of your business's cleaning needs to ensure you maintain a safe and sanitary workplace every day. They should be able to provide deep cleaning of your office spaces before your business’s re-opening and be able to continue ongoing decontamination cleaning as needed, as well as thorough routine office cleaning each day.
For more tips and details on recommended office cleaning schedules for COVID-19, or to schedule a consultation with our specialists, contact Greenhouse today.
In the turbulent times of Covid-19, business need to make critical decisions quickly. As we all learn to navigate our new "normal" with the Covid-19 pandemic, Greenhouse remains invested in working in tandem with our New York City business community to safeguard the health of their workforce. Contact Us Today!
Boxes, tape and bubble wrap, oh my! If you have a move on the horizon or have experienced one in the recent past, you understand well that the act of moving doesn’t lend itself to eco-friendly living at first blush. So much packaging can make the least green of us shudder. Rest assured, you can remain environmentally conscious and stay committed to controlling the waste during your move, while also keeping your transport emissions down. Just follow these simple tips:
Box smart. According to Move.com, the average move uses about 60 boxes (see infographic below). That adds up to a whole lot of trees over time. Keep usage down by getting the word out about your move as early as you can. If you know folks who are making a move before yours, ask them to save all their packaging, including bubble wrap and protective packing paper, so you can reuse it during your own move.
Choose box alternatives. Before you buy new boxes for your move, make sure you’ve exhausted all possible resources for box alternatives. Pack in empty large plastic bins you own, borrow from friends or ask your mover if they supply or rent reusable bins. Not only is this a great green option, it takes some of the work off your plate as movers drop bins off ahead of time and take them away after the move. No need to break down boxes or recycle them, you can move on to decorating your new home.
Fuel emissions. The size and distance of your move makes all the difference when it comes to emission of CO2. When interviewing moving companies, be on the lookout for green options such as these:
Fuel type—ask each company what type of fuel they use. Many organizations have converted trucks to biodiesel fuel, an upgrade that helps reduce your move’s carbon footprint.
Car shipping—if you’re moving an automobile, price out both truck and rail shipping options. Train transport can represent huge savings to you and lighten the moving truck’s load on the road.
Clean out before you move—whatever you can do to reduce the number of goods you plan to move will make a big impact on related emissions. Don’t pack mindlessly and hurriedly, instead, think about items you can donate before making your move.
Get things clean. Make sure you leave your old space clean and healthy for the next inhabitants. Use eco-friendly cleaning products for floors, countertops, and windows or hire an eco-friendly cleaning company—like us!—to come in and take care of dirt, dust, and debris. Grab this great online checklist from our friends at MakeSpace for all your pre- and post-cleaning tasks.
Talk to us: Have you made an environmentally conscious move in recent months? Share what you learned and your best tips for other readers below.