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How to keep your staff and business safe when returning to the office

As restrictions start to lift and businesses around the world adapt to new ways of working, getting back to the office safely comes with challenges. The coronavirus pandemic has put public health concerns firmly into the spotlight and increased awareness of the risks that bacteria and viruses present. When offices re-open, workers expect hygiene practices to be in place that protect their health and safety.

Facilities managers need to consider how they can minimise risk to help avoid employee illnesses and the potential for building closures while contamination incidents are resolved. Encouraging high hygiene standards in offices is critical and any pest or hygiene problems that have arisen during lockdown also need to be addressed.

If you’re returning to work soon, there are ongoing measures that can be put in place to safeguard your colleagues, premises and equipment as part of a ‘new normal’ and in the event of a further lockdown period.

Download our FREE ebook to discover how you can protect your people and premises with better hygiene and pest control – now and in the future

How are offices at risk?

Empty office as a result of covid 19

Office environments provide ideal conditions for bacteria and viruses to spread and illnesses to take hold. Pest issues may also pose serious, often unseen, health risks, in addition to the significant damage to office buildings and equipment they can cause.

Pests and poor hygiene can cause health problems

Every 60 seconds, a working adult touches as many as 30 objects that may be contaminated by bacteria or viruses that cause infectious diseases.[1] Due to how easily germ transmission can occur, viruses can spread through an office within hours of a single contamination incident.

Every precaution should be taken to reduce the spread of germs in office environments. This can include a disinfection service as an immediate step to get your business back up and running and the implementation of good hygiene practices and solutions to help you safeguard for the future. It can also involve adopting pest management strategies as pests can facilitate the spread of germs in the following ways.

  • Rats and mice are known to spread more than 35 diseases and are associated with serious illnesses, such as leptospirosis. Rodents carry ectoparasites (parasites that live on the outside of their host), which can contain infectious pathogens that cause health concerns such as Lyme disease.
  • Birds carry over 60 diseases that can infect humans in their faeces or feathers or that are harboured in their nests.
  • Crawling and flying insects can spread illnesses and trigger allergies and asthma.
  • Pests can cause medical problems by biting humans.
  • Crawling and flying insects can spread illnesses and trigger allergies and asthma.
  • Pests can cause medical problems by biting humans.


Pests can impact business

Rats entering empty offices

Pest infestations are another source of illness and can result in additional costs.

  • Pests can cause damage by gnawing equipment or materials – nearly half (49%) of reported electrical equipment damage is caused by rodents[2]. They can also cause substantial damage to office buildings themselves, leading to expensive repair costs.

  • If employees or visitors notice infestations, pests can cause negative feelings and reputational harm – 70% of firms cite loss of reputation due to pest infestations as a concern or a high concern[3].
  • If pest infestations escalate, they can substantially raise cleaning costs.
  • By causing illnesses and incidents that lead to office closures, pests can impact your business’s operations. In a survey, 55% of businesses reported losing at least one working day per year as a result of infestation.[4]

The hotspots to consider in your office

Office hygiene hot spots

Risk hotspots in offices include:

  • frequently touched objects, such as door handles or kettles, where germs are transferred to surfaces
  • communal areas, such as meeting rooms and washrooms, where high footfall and close contact between employees makes the spread of germs easier
  • entry points around your building where pests can gain access
  • storage areas where pests can harbour
  • anywhere food is stored or consumed that could attract pests, cause contamination and result in foodborne illness; this includes canteens or left-over food on desks
  • The floor plan below details further risk hotspots in offices.

[1] Dr Charles Gerba, University of Arizona
[2] The Business Impact of Pests, Rentokil and CEBR Research by Option Matters, 2015
[3] The Business Impact of Pests – Legislative Markets, Rentokil, 2016
[4] The Business Impact of Pests, Rentokil and CEBR Research by Option Matters, 2015

Adjusting to the new world: Keeping you safe now and in the future

A range of services to help protect your employees and business in this new COVID-19 world.

  • Recovery pest control services to eliminate any pest issues that may have occurred during closure.
  • Integrated hygiene services for safer, working environments. This includes hand hygiene, air purification and surface hygiene.
  • Proactive pest and hygiene services to safeguard your business and provide employee reassurance and peace of mind. Protecting your people and premises now and in the future.
Find out more

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