As a property manager, it’s your responsibility to provide your tenants with a clean work environment, but have you considered offering them a healthier work environment? Yes, cleanliness is important, but there’s more to maintaining a healthful workplace than merely cleaning it. Here are some of the things you should consider if you’ve decided to create a healthier work environment for the people who occupy your office.
Why Make a Healthier Work Environment a Priority?
The main people affected by an unsanitary or unhealthy work environment are the employees who work in the building. Roughly $225 billion is lost each year due to worker illness and injury, according to the CDC’s 2015 report. Cold and flu are responsible for 3-8% of the loss in performance, while exposure to plain old dust will disrupt employees’ cognitive skills by 2-6%. As a property manager, you might believe that this doesn’t directly concern you; however, if your tenant is unable to pay their rent due to a decrease in their sales or output, it becomes your immediate concern.
Not only is a clean and healthy office good for the employees’ health, but it’s also good for morale. A dirty office that’s making the occupants ill is far less attractive to tenants. In addition to the health issues, statistics show that 94% of people would avoid a business in the future if the restrooms they visited were dirty. If your tenants have clients visiting their offices, and these visitors find dirty restrooms, the tenant could lose business. When it becomes time to renew the lease, it’s possible that you might find it difficult to find tenants to occupy your space.
Going Beyond Cleaning to Make a Healthier Work Environment
When making your building healthier for its occupants, it’s vital that you go beyond surface cleaning and focus on certain areas in need of sanitizing. While cleaning removes dirt and debris that’s visible to the naked eye, sanitizing will kill microscopic organisms that can be found on surfaces.
It’s important that you focus on “hot spots” when you sanitize the office. These are the places that are frequently touched throughout the day, and they’re prime spots for germs and viruses. These spots include:
- Doorknobs and push plates
- Light switches
- Computer mice
- Refrigerator and microwave door handles
Restrooms are Key
The restroom can be ground zero for a major outbreak of illness within your office, so it’s vital that you keep them properly disinfected. Here are a few tips to help you understand what your cleaning company should be doing to maintain a healthier work environment for your tenants and their employees.
- Pre-clean the restroom’s surfaces. Before applying a sanitizer or disinfectant to the toilets, sinks, and countertops, cleaning technicians should clean the surfaces. They can use an all-purpose cleaner, or better yet, a “green cleaning” product that is healthier for the environment. Next they should apply the sanitizer or disinfectant to the surfaces, giving them sufficient dwell time according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Choose cleaning products wisely. If your cleaning company is not using the best product for the job, it’s possible that you won’t get the maximum effect from the product. They should read the labels carefully, so they know the length of contact time needed to kill the maximum number of pathogens.
- Make hand washing a breeze. As you probably know, one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection is hand washing. It’s vital that your cleaning company make it as easy as possible for tenants to wash their hands regularly, checking the inventory of soap and paper towels to be sure that nobody will be left in the lurch when they attend to their hand hygiene.
Clean Air Will Create a Healthier Work Environment
Your tenants spend a big chunk of their waking hours indoors, and most of these indoor hours are probably spent within your building. It’s important that you give them clean air to breathe that’s free of pollutants. The pollutants that float in the air are mostly invisible to the naked eye, but they can have a big impact on the well-being of your building’s occupants. These pollutants can include allergens, viruses, dust, mold spores, and volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.
How do you improve your indoor air quality, or IAQ? According to the EPA, there are three methods that are particularly effective. These are air purification, source control, and ventilation. How do you incorporate these methods into your office building? Here are a few suggestions:
Purchase air purifiers. Assess your building to determine which areas have the highest number of IAQ problems. Some common spots might include restrooms, locker rooms, or even common areas such as conference rooms or lobbies. If you’re investing in commercial-grade air purifiers, they’ll directly remove contaminants from the air, eliminating common complaints about odors or germs. Invest in HEPA filters and you’ll go as far as removing contagious airborne pathogens, increasing the health factor.
Increase ventilation with an HVAC system. While some say that HVAC systems actually spread germs from room to room, if the HVAC is used in tandem with commercial air purifiers this risk is mitigated. Ventilation is vital, as it prevents the buildup of the more harmful airborne particles, which will increase the productivity of the office instantly.
Ensure your cleaning technicians are using vacuum cleaners with Hepa filters. Most back pack vacuums have filters built into the vacuum, and the soil collected is contained within a hard-case canister. Many upright vacuums have also been re-designed with hepa filtration filters. But many cleaning companies are still using the old upright vacuums with a cloth bag, which allows the fine particles collected to be released back into the air. Check with your cleaning company to verify that they are using vacuum cleaners that are designed for keeping the soil collected contained within the vacuum.
As you can see, a healthier work environment is a win/win for everyone. Your tenants and their employees will feel better and work more efficiently, and your reputation as a landlord who is concerned with the health and well-being of their tenants will ensure that you won’t be stuck with unoccupied office space. If you’d like professional assistance to be sure that your current cleaning company is cleaning your building with the health of your occupants in mind, contact us today. We’d love to help.