Business owners are navigating uncharted territory with the impact of COVID disrupting office life. Simple everyday tasks such as getting a hot drink or making lunch at work now present more challenges in light of the risks of Coronavirus. Whilst things are undoubtedly going to be different during the coming months or years until a vaccine is developed, there are some vital procedures you can put in place to help make your office as safe as possible. We’ve pulled together the best advice on what you need to keep your office kitchen and breakout areas operating smoothly during the pandemic.
The office kitchen
Returning to the office after working from home is likely to cause anxiety in some people, so it’s important to be mindful of this and consider everyone’s concerns during this period of transition. The easiest way to address this is quite simply to talk. Open and honest communication is vital in keeping your team feeling confident and comfortable in the workplace.
As long as you keep things clean, there’s certainly no reason to keep kitchens or breakout areas closed during the pandemic and they present no greater threat than other high touch and high traffic areas in the office. However, cleaning and sanitisation are going to be your new main priorities in the office kitchen and breakout areas for the foreseeable future.
The kitchen can be a hotbed for germs and you’ll probably be surprised to know that your office kettle harbours more germs than your loo seat! The average bacterial reading of a kettle handle is 2,483, in comparison to only 220 for a toilet seat, so it might be time to think about ditching the kettle and opting for a safer office coffee machine. The same survey found other shocking readings of bacteria – 1,746 on the rim of a used mug and 1,592 on a fridge door handle – proving the necessity to keep things extra clean in the kitchen area.
What to do…
Thankfully there are lots of things you can do to mitigate the risks of contamination in the office. Firstly, make sure that your team continues to socially distance by 2m and encourage excellent hand hygiene. The latter can be achieved by providing portable hand washing stations and hand sanitiser throughout the office. It’s a great idea to place a hand sanitiser dispenser next to doors so people can quickly and easily sanitise their hands before using frequent touchpoints like door handles. You can also issue your team with an antimicrobial door opening tool that negates the need to touch door handles or press things like coffee or water machine buttons or levers.
Along with frequent hand washing, there are lots of fantastic cleaning products that are proven to kill Coronavirus, and after just 30 seconds’ contact these cleaning agents kill 99.9999% of all known pathogens. Upping your cleaning routine across the whole office is important, so expect to wipe areas down frequently. ULV office misting is a fantastic solution to sanitise hard to reach areas in workspaces and sanitise entire rooms safely and effectively in minutes.
A worrying poll of 1,000 workers revealed that 80 percent of people working in an office wouldn’t think to wash their hands before making drinks for colleagues and in another survey, it was revealed that a staggering 60% of people don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Both of these studies were carried out pre-Covid so we should assume that hand hygiene has improved overall, however, this is no time to be complacent, so employees should consider putting up posters in the kitchen to remind people.
In another survey, more than half believed tea rounds would not survive the pandemic and one in four said they would not want a colleague making them a drink. So for now, it’s best to make your own drink and not share kitchen items like cups, mugs and cutlery.
There are options to make your office drinks safer and more convenient so for example, adding an antimicrobial self-adhesive touchscreen onto your coffee machine gives an added layer of protection or using the Jura JOE app coffee machine app to order coffee.
For water machines, you can easily install a foot switch so you don’t need to touch the machine with your hands. And the clever team over at Borg & Overstrom have developed a game-changing Bluetooth app so you can now pour refreshing filtered still or sparkling hot and cold water straight from the tap simply by using your phone.
However you choose to mitigate risks, it’s proven that office coffee and quality water are perks that teams generally appreciate and they both contribute to overall health, hydration and happiness at work.
Get in touch
Of course always be sure to keep up to date and follow the official government guidelines for offices, and if anyone has Coronavirus symptoms, they must stay away from the workplace and get tested. For further advice or for products that can help to keep your workplace safe and running smoothly, please contact our friendly expert team on 020 7553 7900.