Office-based businesses must act now to restore their premises for work

premises, connected workplace interior design

With the stay-at-home orders soon to be lifted in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, businesses should be planning to have a restoration clean of their premises in advance of employees re-entering the workplace.

In New South Wales, most office workers have been working from home since around June. That means most commercial premises have been closed for up to four months.

Commercial premises are no different to residential properties. If an office has been shut for an extended period of time, there will be a range of hazards.

  • There will be a build-up of dust, including on and around the air vents.
  • The air quality will be poor as the air will be stale.
  • The water in the faucets, ice machines, drinking fountains, decorative water features and toilets will be stagnant.
  • Mould could be present.
  • The fridges and cupboards may contain expired or rotten items. There could even be evidence of pests.

Restoration rescue

A restoration clean is not a legislative requirement, but it is occupational health and safety best practice. And, while many people will be enthusiastic about returning to the office, others may be resistant or even feeling anxious. Employers can help their workforce to overcome any negative feelings by ensuring their workplace is clean, fresh and welcoming.

We saw high demand for these services when the 2020 lockdown lifted – especially in Victoria where businesses had been closed for 11 weeks. That experience showed that with everything going on, many businesses overlooked the need to prepare their premises for re-entry. They wrongly assumed that as their premises had been cleaned prior to being closed, they would still be clean when they were reopened.

That’s obviously not the case. In preparation for the stay-at-home orders being lifted, employers should consider the health and safety and welfare of their employees by scheduling a restoration clean as close as possible to the date they expect their premises to re-open.

Restoration clean checklist

  1. Remove cobwebs.
  2. Dust high areas and difficult to reach places including cabinets and ceilings.
  3. Clean air vents and ceiling light diffusers.
  4. Wipe-down horizonal surfaces including desks, tables, bench tops and cabinets.
  5. Dust computer screens and keyboards.
  6. Wipe-down all high touch points including telephone handsets, door handles, handrails, lifts and reception areas.
  7. Full clean of kitchens, splash backs and appliances including microwaves, refrigerators and ovens.
  8. Full clean of bathrooms and end of trip facilities (showers, locker rooms).
  9. Vacuum.
  10. Mop and/or buff vinyl and hard flooring.
  11. Clean BBQs or other outside amenities and areas including tables and chairs.
  12. Steam clean chairs and soft furnishings.
  13. Clean carpets.
  14. Strip and reseal hard floors