Guidelines and regulations may look a little different across the country, but with the vaccine rolling out, lockdown may begin to lift soon, with staff starting to trickle back into the workplace. If your offices are back in use, you’ll be well aware that things need to be done a little differently to keep workers as safe as possible.

You’ve almost certainly made plenty of adjustments to your physical workplace already. From limiting the number of staff on-site and preventing hotdesking, to implementing a more rigorous cleaning rota, there are any number of adaptations and considerations you’ll have needed to put in place. You can find the Health and Safety Executive’s guide to making your workplace COVID-secure here, as well as post we’ve written: COVID-19 Cleaning: How to Return to the Office Safely as Lockdown Eases.

In this post, we’ll be exploring measures and extra precautions employers can take in order to make workplace kitchens more COVID-safe. Some offices have banned the use of communal kitchens altogether, as these shared spaces feature high-touch surfaces and a higher likelihood of reduced hand hygiene. If you are keeping your office kitchen open, the following steps could help reduce the risks.

1. Locate hand sanitiser at the entrance and exit

Set up a hand sanitising station at the entrance and exit of the kitchen. This will help ensure your employees’ hands are clean when they enter and exit the area.

2. Set a capacity limit

This may depend on the size of the kitchen, but you may also want to consider the risk of cross contamination between staff sharing surfaces even in a larger space. Many businesses currently operate a “one in, one out” policy in shared kitchens to help alleviate this risk.

3. Establish a routine (and display it clearly)

Ensure your staff know exactly how to make use of your communal kitchen safely. Rules could include:

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after using the kitchen (make sure thorough hand washing instructions are clearly displayed by the sink, and that antibacterial soap is provided).
  • Always wear a mask when using the kitchen (this will prevent airborne particles from coughs and sneezes settling on surfaces).
  • Wipe down surfaces and any kitchen equipment you use with an antibacterial spray and/or disposable wipes, before and after use (make sure that antibacterial spray and/or disposable wipes are available for this purpose).

4. Limit the facilities

You may decide to limit the use of your workplace kitchen facilities. You may, for example, decide to encourage staff to only bring cold lunches to work, which don’t require refrigeration or heating. This step will allow you to take “high touch” equipment – such as fridges and microwaves – out of use, reducing the number of touch points in the kitchen.

5. Increase cleaning thoroughness and frequency

Boosting your kitchen cleaning rota could help reduce risks even further. You may decide to arrange an additional clean after high traffic times, such as lunch hour and coffee hour. You may also choose to work with your cleaning provider to develop a more rigorous regular cleaning regimen for your workplace kitchen.

With over 40 years of workplace cleaning experience, The Abbey Cleaning Service offers meticulous commercial cleaning services, which can help keep workplaces safe – even in these unprecedented times. To update your cleaning rota, or to discuss your office cleaning needs, contact our team of expert cleaners today. Get in touch on 029 2067 9323.