Many Oklahomans are not only ready to return to the office, they also want to make sure that space is as safe as possible for staff and customers.
“While we have been sheltering in place, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces in our homes has been second nature. These same practices also must be put to work once people return to the office,” said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Extension housing and consumer specialist. “Not only do you need to wipe down your own office space, it’s especially important with shared spaces such as conference and break rooms, water fountains, door handles, countertops and furniture in public waiting areas. Be sure to hit all of the high-touch surfaces in your office.”
Electronics are common in office spaces, and it is likely employees have their own computers, touch screens, telephones, keyboards and other equipment. However, Peek said those devices should still be wiped down on a regular basis.
“Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfecting. If that information is not available, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70 percent alcohol,” she said. “Whatever you do, don’t spray cleaners directly on electronic equipment. Instead, spray a soft cloth with a disinfectant cleaner and wipe down the equipment.”
Before reopening to the public, clean surfaces with soap and water, then use a disinfectant. Peek said the soap and water helps reduce the number of germs and other contaminants on the surface. Once the office has reopened, wipe down these surfaces several times each day.
Peek said to follow the directions on all cleaners and disinfectants being used. For those who still may be having trouble finding products locally, diluted household bleach will work instead – she suggested 4 teaspoons of bleach to each quart of tap water. Avoid using scented bleach as it does not disinfect. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle for easy application.
For those businesses with a lot of public traffic, Peek said to make a point to regularly wipe down countertops where customers are conducting business, as well as the doorknobs/handles to the main entrance.
“Before reopening your doors to the public, develop and implement your cleaning and safety plan,” Peek said. “Once you’ve opened, the plan may need some adjustments. Just remember, the key here is providing a safe place not only for your customers, but your employees, as well.”
More COVID-19 information is available from OSU Extension.