How can we better redesign offices and premises in the wake of COVID-19?

Advice published from the World Health Organisation (WHO) specifies that those who can work from home should continue to do so for the foreseeable future to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and allow for easier social distancing for those who can’t work from home.

New guidance has been published from the Government to help get Britain back to work safely, but that’s going to be no easy task. Practical guidelines published in May 2020 to make workplaces as safe as possible and give people confidence to go back to work during coronavirus pandemic involve the re-design of office and retail spaces. Developed in consultation with 250 businesses, unions, industry leaders as well as devolved administrations, up to an extra £14 million has been made available for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for extra call centre employees, inspectors and equipment which shows the scale of the mammoth task involved.

Like you, we’ve been hard at work considering the design of our offices to make sure all staff who do come into work can safely socially distance and looked to Government guidance and our knowledge of cleaning to explore what offices and retail spaces need to take into account:

 

Working from home

All reasonable steps should be taken by employers to help people work from home. But for those who cannot work from home and whose workplace has not been told to close, our message is clear: you should go to work. Staff should speak to their employer about when their workplace will open.

Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions

This guidance operates within current health and safety employment and equalities legislation and employers will need to carry out COVID-19 risk assessments in consultation with their workers or trade unions, to establish what guidelines to put in place. If possible, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website and all businesses with over 50 employees are expected to do so.

Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible

Employers should re-design workspaces to maintain 2 metre distances between people by staggering start times, creating one way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, or changing seating layouts in break rooms.

Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk

Employers should look into putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising the number of people in contact with one another, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other.


Reinforcing cleaning processes

Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. Employers should provide hand washing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points.

A downloadable notice is included in the documents, which employers should display in their workplaces to show their employees, customers and other visitors to their workplace, that they have followed this guidance.

If your staff are working and observing social distancing right now, you can book APM Cleaning and Repair to come into your commercial premises to carry out a deep clean for added peace of mind.

All our work is guaranteed, just call us on 0191 273 4600 and a member of our team will be happy to help you.

Ask The Experts: The Do’s and Don’ts of Disinfecting

The business of cleaning is often one overlooked as a largely unskilled job done by an unskilled workforce, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

There are approximately 1.63 million workers in the cleaning sector, making up around five per cent of the UK workforce. Cleaning provides a vital service for the nation, ensuring that our workplaces, hospitals, transport and public spaces are clean and safe to use. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, cleaners have become essential key workers putting themselves in the frontline of the fight to help keep hospitals, Extra Care facilities, factories and warehouses open.

Managing Director of APM Cleaning and author of cleaning manual series The Business of Cleaning; Samantha Read is keen to acknowledge and promote the high level of knowledge and commitment required from APM staff to ensure high standards of cleaning and infection control procedures are carried out – something she feels has been overlooked by society in the past. The rigorous training staff undergo on infection control, COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations), manual handling, dementia friendly training and safeguarding demonstrates the importance that cleaners should know what they are doing and be well trained.

 

Do understand how disinfecting works

Here at APM, we have assessed the most effective means of cleaning client facilities followed by electrostatic disinfecting techniques using viricidal product.

The difference between cleaning, sanitising and disinfecting can be explained as follows:

  • Cleaning is the removal of debris from objects/surfaces (Removing soil)
  • Sanitising is the reduction (not killing) or organisms on a surface
  • Disinfecting will kill the microscopic organisms on a surface

Don’t underestimate the space being cleaned

Cleaning in the Serviced Accommodation (SA) industry is not like cleaning in a hotel bedroom or buy-to-let property, in the same way that cleaning Extra Care facilities is not like cleaning an office block. Unfortunately, the reputation of the cleaning services industry suffers as a result of too many inexperienced and untrained cleaners and business owners who believe that cleaning is easy: It really isn’t!

SA properties and Extra Care facilities have multiple bedrooms and also have additional rooms such as kitchens with their cupboards and appliances, lounges, offices, hallways and stairways with high-touch-areas in need of thorough disinfection. Additional items to be cleaned can include throws, rugs, curtains, blinds and other soft furnishings. It also includes cleaning inside kitchen cupboards, oven, fridge freezer etc.

 

Do consider the right type of equipment for the job

A fogging machine is a dispenser that uses air pressure to produce a very fine fog enabling the efficient application of various types of chemical solutions such as bactericides, virucides, pesticides and odour control products.

Foggers have been in use for 50 years or more and are often used to control disease and insects in intensive livestock units such as poultry houses. More recently they have been used on cruise ships and oilrig accommodation units to control norovirus (vomiting bug) and medical facilities for infection control and within food factories. Today, we’re using them with anti-viricidal solutions to kill coronavirus.

These machines have become extremely important in the fight against Corona Virus COVID-19 as they are able to disinfect both small and large areas quickly and effectively with the fine mist accessing every surface of the room in a very short time. The fog particles produced are so fine they float in the air long enough to disinfect upper surfaces.

 

Do trust the experts

If your staff are working and observing social distancing right now, you can book APM Cleaning and Repair to come into your commercial premises to carry out a deep clean for added peace of mind. Or, contact us today to organise your deep clean for your business so your staff are able return to work as lockdown eases.

All our work is guaranteed, just call us on 0191 273 4600 and a member of our team will be happy to help you

APM Cleaning to offer COVID-19 Hygiene Tests

As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting clients with infection control, we are launching a limited number of hygiene tests. Companies can book this service following a successful infection control assessment. This service is open to small businesses (under 50 employees) based in and around Team Valley, Gateshead.

We offer commercial and domestic cleaning services to customers across the north of the country. Cleaning office blocks, Extra Care facilities for local authorities, Social housing communal areas, lobbies and stairways is what we do day in, day out, but in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve seen an increase in queries and concerns from our customers about how to keep themselves and their staff safe.

Testimonials

Karbon Homes has been using APM since June 2019 after they were awarded a cleaning contract to clean some of our premises. Samantha and the team have helped us along the way by arranging prompt carpet cleans and additional deep cleans over and above the client requirements. One thing we especially like is that our requests and queries are dealt with immediately. This is particularly important when you are operating in the social housing sector. Karbon Homes would recommend APM Cleaning & Repair to any company that requires communal cleaning, deep cleaning, or regular cleaning. – Karbon Homes

At the beginning of 2020, APM were awarded the contract to clean the communal areas at a number of our general needs schemes across the organisation. However due to the Covid-19 situation just prior to the start of the contract, we identified that we needed additional cleaning resource to provide essential cleaning within our Sheltered Schemes for older and in many cases vulnerable residents. APM were exceptional. They responded to our additional request immediately,  provided resource at very short notice, and addressed any concerns we had around safety which was paramount. This was in addition to fulfilling their contract, and providing individual deep clean services when requested to an excellent standard. – Castles and Coasts

APM staff are trained to NVQ Level 2 in Infection Control and have recently undergone ATP Testing training and have invested in ATP testing kits to verify our standards. We use these to verify cleaning non-clinical surroundings to the equivalent of 50-100 RLUs (relative light units), which is the standard for NHS public spaces. We also use foggers and a Victory Professional Cordless electrostatic backpack disinfecting sprayer which enables us to cover up to 23,000 square feet on a single tank of fluid. Designed to save time and labour, spray less liquid and cover more surfaces, especially high-touch and hard-to-reach surfaces, this electrostatic disinfecting service kills coronavirus following soil removal.

The Hygiena EnSURE Touch Luminometer ATP Testing kit we use with SureSnap swabs enables us to verify the effectiveness of our deep cleaning processes. All of our team wear suitable PPE whilst on your premises to ensure the strictest safety standards for our staff and yours. Following these tests, we will make further cleaning recommendations and price for future jobs based on test results and company size.

We understand that some businesses may be having cash flow difficulties at present due to the lockdown and pandemic so are happy to offer easy payment plans for those wishing to book a hygiene test or infection control services with us.

To find out more, or book your test please call us on 0191 273 4600 or email [email protected].

The A-Z of APM Cleaning: Our mission, vision for the future and values

The A-Z of APM Cleaning: Our mission, vision for the future and values

Get to know us from the top, to the bottom… 

APM Cleaning is known for the high quality of our work, reliability and professionalism.

Businesses of all shapes and sizes across the North work with us as their supplier of choice for commercial cleaning.

Cleaning is about so much more than a mop and bucket. Infection control (especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic) and science are a big part of how we keep our clients’ premises safe and hygienic.

Did you know we’re highly trained and adaptable professional cleaners who regularly receive training in the latest innovative technology?

Electrostatic spraying technology is just one of the tools in our arsenal in the battle to keep environments safe.

Frequent checks and tests are done on all of our equipment to make sure what we use provides the best results. Cleaning isn’t just about making a space look tidy, it’s lifesaving.

Guaranteed work gives you guaranteed peace of mind. All our work is guaranteed, just call us on 0191 273 4600 and a member of our team will be happy to help.

Helping our staff and clients perform the best they can through honest, hard work in a respectful and friendly way. We loyally support them, treating them fairly at all times, showing tolerance particularly when they are struggling. When we’re able to help others, we love to make a difference.

Investing in new kit regularly is a big part of what makes us the go-to supplier for commercial cleaning in the North. We recently invested in a ATP testing kit. This means we are cleaning non-clinical surroundings to the equivalent of 50-100 RLUs (relative light units), which is the standard for NHS public spaces.

Just like you, our team are doing everything we can to support our community during these unprecedented times. We’ve been reaching out to our valued customers whose homes we clean on a regular basis to see if we can help pick up their groceries or medicines during COVID-19.

Keeping APM Cleaning at the top of its game is Operations Director Sam Read.

Learning on the job is the best way to keep improving and provide a better service for our clients. It’s why we regularly receive high-worth referrals and five star recommendations.

Many of our commercial cleaning clients enjoy the peace of mind that APM Cleaning provide. For example, we come to your premises fully equipped with the correct equipment and a range of required cleaning solutions, so you don’t have to supply expensive cleaning solutions or have your equipment used.

No matter what, the first thing we value above everything is honesty. Accidents can happen. If they do, the first thing we’ll do is acknowledge the fact. Should any of your more valuable items be damaged or broken, we will leave a card behind to admit fault and let you know exactly what’s happened. Then we’ll take care of the hassle of replacing the objects by replacing the object on your behalf, simply obtain a replacement and we’ll reimburse you.

Outstanding customer service, excellent attention to detail, amazing flexibility and responsiveness is what differentiates us from our competitors.

Pandemics are another day at work for us. As key workers, APM Cleaning has signed up to the Infection Prevention Solutions Partnership Programme. It is our intention to utilise the training provided by qualified Infection Control Nurses, alongside a robust quality assurance process, to provide a cleaning service, which will meet and exceed Care Quality Commission (CQC) standards.

Qualified, trained staff with a ‘can do’ attitude coupled with strong supervisory and management teams is our secret to success.

Risk Assessments are part of every single job we do to keep you and our staff safe. 

Subcontracts for many major national development companies have helped us earn an enviable reputation across the North. Our client list ranges from building contractors, property developers, shop fitters, estate and letting agents, private landlords, offices and surgeries.

Training everyone, no matter how long they’ve been with us receive mandatory training on infection control, COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations), manual handling and safeguarding. This is taking place remotely, where possible, via our online training portals during COVID-19.

Understanding your needs is what we’re excellent at. All cleaning will be arranged at a time agreed with you, which means you can carefully plan your schedule and leave the cleaning to us so that you can get on with your day.

Vision and values are important to us as a company so we can focus on being the best we can be and supporting our staff to thrive too.

We are a go-to supplier of cleaning services in the Social Housing Sector in the North of England. We maintain clean properties safely through an honest innovative and technology led approach.

X-ray eyes are what some clients refer to us as having! We tested all of our products with our ATP testing kits and found that chlorine gave the best disinfectant results, so as a business we moved to using chlorine tabs straight away following soil removal. To ensure a spotless finish that meets our high standards, we then clean glass and reflective surfaces a second time to ensure a non-streaky finish.

Your project will always be delivered on time at the agreed specification, whether it is domestic or commercial based.

Zapping germs is only part of what we do. Before every job, our team undertake a risk assessment to see whether a higher level of virus may be present (for example, where unwell individuals have slept in an Extra Care flat.) APM’s cleaners are classed as key workers in this crisis as we clean for Local Authorities in Extra Care facilities and Social Housing Providers developments, which makes us perfectly positioned to come in and give Care homes and offices in the north a deep clean to ensure hygiene levels are acceptable.

Behind The Scenes: The Science behind Fogging to Fight COVID-19

Infection Control cleaning is a new method being adopted by Extra Care facilities, offices and social housing providers across the North hiring us to remove, kill and prevent the things we can’t see, like the coronavirus, from doing more harm.

Fogging Sanitisation is a fast, effective and non-invasive and professional cleaning service that our clients rely on. It’s also one way we’re fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, as more companies require deep cleans to open and maintain a clean and safe workspace for their staff in the coming weeks and months.

Fogging is an ideal solution for combating airborne pathogens and disinfecting large areas that require rapid re-entry of treated areas and minimum disruption like social housing, Extra Care facilities and office space.

It’s important to get rid of germs that lie on the surfaces we can see, but vital to target areas which could be missed or hard to reach, such as underneath tables or spaces between cupboards. This leads to hotspots, where a large volume of bacteria can gather and remain harmful. Using specialist equipment fogging kills germs where they lie and prevents them being transferred from one place to another (known as cross contamination) due to its automated process. With fogging, there are no places for the germs to hide.

 

What’s involved?

  • After a thorough clean, our fogging operatives fill each room with a fine mist of 10-micron particles. As the particles settle onto all the surfaces, a powerful sterilising agent kicks into action killing bacteria, spores and viruses fast.
  • Our fogging machines generate extremely small droplets of specialist disinfectant which settle underneath, on top of and on the sides of objects, soft furnishings, furniture, and hard to reach areas. This efficient process significantly reduces pathogens when compared to manual surface cleaning resulting in a cleaner and safer environment.
  • Our team cover all surfaces within a confined area including crockery, items in kitchens, desk spaces and items on desks in offices and communal area hotspots like light switches and door handles.
  • Electrostatic disinfecting is a way of quickly and evenly coating a surface with a disinfecting This is done by using an electrostatic applicator that gives a negative charge to the disinfecting solution as it exits the nozzle.

 

 

Your business or premises will be ready to reopen or use six hours after the treatment to give you peace of mind that it is completely free of bacteria and virus.