Our fickle British climate delivered a record-breaking summer, but that’s clearly finished now. Winter is approaching, and it’s better to prepare than to react. Here, we look at some issues brought by the colder season, and how to plan for them.
Additional challenges for the daily clean
We’re going to focus on some quite specific winter problems, but let’s start with the basics. The weather is worse in winter, meaning the problems associated with the ordinary, daily clean are a little tougher. People are more likely to bring mud and snow in with their footwear, and these problems then compound: the visitor with clean feet may pick up the muck from earlier traffic inside your foyer. Not only does that not give a very good first impression, but the person may also transfer the dirt further into the building.
Talk to your cleaning provider about your regular, scheduled services. You might find, for example, that increasing the frequency or duration of cleaning work around lobbies and entrance areas serves to shield the rest of the building from any build-up of winter grime.
And don’t forget that these issues are about more than unsightliness. Mud and slush means slips and trips. Keep employees and guests safe by ensuring nothing builds up in the first place.
Avoiding winter sickness
Viruses live longer when it’s cold. This is one reason colds and flus are seasonal, but actually the main point is that we simply don’t go out as much. The winter population is indoors more, busily passing along any illnesses they have. The daily sanitising of surfaces isn’t extra challenging in winter, but it is extra important. Keep the workplace free of micro-organisms and reduce the inevitable toll of days lost to sickness, and productivity lost to half-well, struggling workers.
Beyond the daily routine: what is a deep clean?
All cleaning is a mixture of light, regular work, and occasional, more intense activity. It’s up to you to settle on a schedule for services such as deep clean and specialist cleaning, but, again, the tendency of workers to get sick in winter makes it extra valuable to add in any action that will help.
An office without furniture or equipment would present a relatively easy cleaning challenge. Real commercial premises are more complicated, and there are many jobs that would just take too long for the daily clean team. A key focus of deep clean is reaching areas not normally visible, such as:
- Under and behind desks and other furniture
- Under and behind equipment and radiators
- Top surfaces of bookshelves, cabinets, and equipment such as aircon
As well as these invisible spots, a deep clean takes a more thorough approach to the areas cleaned daily. Walls, doors, blinds, and hard floors are scrubbed thoroughly rather than wiped or swept. Carpets and curtains get shampoo rather than a surface treatment.
Note that a deep clean involves laborious work such as moving furniture, so it’s usually scheduled out of hours, often over a weekend.
Dust and allergies
The charity Asthma + Lung UK regards the top triggers for asthma and allergies as, “damp and mould, dust mites, pets and cigarette smoke”, and adds: “Address issues like damp and mould which encourage dust mites.” Smoking isn’t allowed in any enclosed workplace in the UK, and pets are more likely a home than workplace issue, so damp and mould, and the mites that flourish in dust combined with that environment, are essentially the one driving issue for commercial buildings and allergies.
Heat dries things, so we might assume that the air gets drier once the central heating goes on, but in fact the issue is complex. Windows tend to be shut in winter, meaning moisture has nowhere to go. Also, warmer temperatures can cause water to condense into a liquid rather than dry into a solid.
- Keeping dust to a minimum is extra important once the heating goes on
- Address humidity by prevention (desiccants, dehumidifiers) plus quick action to remove damp from surfaces before mould forms
You may also want to consider a seasonal specialist service – for example, a thorough clean-out of the dust within your ventilation system.
Caring for our largest organ
The skin is the largest organ of the body, and it too faces special challenges in winter. We move rapidly from hot to cold environments, which tends to make skin dry, itchy and cracked. It’s harder for an employer to battle this than with allergens, say, but top tips would be:
- Provide employees with moisturiser and plenty of fluids
- Don’t turn the heating up to roasting
Beyond the office walls
Finally, don’t forget the external cleaning implications of winter. Façades are likely to be assailed by worse weather, and any build-up of leaves, water, and the like on rooves or in guttering may cause problems like leaking and water damage.
To discuss your specific winter cleaning and maintenance requirements, please get in touch here.