In addition to the flexibility in work arrangements, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a much larger emphasis on more stringent cleaning methods. As a result, regular disinfection and cleaning have now become an invaluable part of workplace operations.
With the restructuring of workplaces for a post-COVID-19 environment have also come efforts to pursue sustainability in the office. However, most of the efforts that are being discussed are focused on the day-to-day operations involving how employees accomplish their tasks.
Making these daily operations more environmentally friendly is a significant improvement for any organization, of course. But one aspect that often gets overlooked in the shift to sustainable practices is the cleaning methods the workplace adopts.
Suppose your office is truly in the pursuit of sustainability. In that case, it should shift to green everyday sanitation practices and avail of commercial cleaning services that use green methods for workplace disinfection and deep cleaning.
What Counts as “Green” Cleaning?
Simply put, green practices involve using cleaning products that are better for people and the environment. This usually means that a cleaner will not have harmful chemicals as part of its ingredients.
Some of the most common ingredients you should avoid are phosphates, chlorine, and ammonia. In addition, some products contain formaldehyde, which is possibly linked to certain types of cancers.
You will usually tell if a product is good for you and the planet by the labels and certifications on the packaging. Some of the most common labels you should be on the lookout for are the following:
- Safer Choice – The United States Environmental Protection Agency uses this certification for products that they have deemed safer for humans and the environment.
- Green Seal – This certification is a pioneer in the U.S. If a product gets the Green Seal, that means it has passed four sustainability standards: safety for human health, climate preservation, clean water promotion, and waste minimization.
- ECOLOGO – Done by Underwriters Laboratories, the ECOLOGO certification covers cleaning products, detergents, product packaging, office products, personal care items, and more. They certify products that have a minimized impact on the environment.
Finding these labels on your office cleaning products is a good sign that you abide by good environmental standards. If you are unsure about some products that your workplace currently uses, there are resources available online that provide reviews on products currently in the market.
With these in mind, remember that just because a product says it is “environmentally friendly” does not automatically mean it is. Always double-check the seals and ingredients of a product before using it.
How to Get the Whole Team Onboard
Green cleaning starts with using actual eco-friendly products to perform your office’s disinfection and sanitation procedures. However, that is just the beginning. To stay clean and green, your employees need to be on the same page regarding their product choices and practices.
1. Inform them of the benefits and consequences.
Your team will be unwilling to switch to something that they do not understand. Have conversations with employees about the importance of going green and how it positively impacts not just the planet but your business practices as a whole. Explain how sustainability helps you cut costs in the long run, too.
For instance, if you are running a small business, you could also learn to make your cleaning products from home items such as baking soda and vinegar. These offer benefits as the knowledge can be applied to their respective households.
In addition to the benefits, they should also know the consequences of continuing to disregard environmental concerns. Educate and be informed about the effects of excessive paper usage, energy use, and unsafe cleaning products.
2. Supply shared cleaning products for employee use.
In addition to ensuring that everyone is informed about the importance of sustainable practices, you can also allot some of your budget for communal cleaning and disinfection products.
An example is by using green hand soaps and sanitizers for your office comfort rooms. You can also make disinfectant wipes and the like available for employees to use in their cubicles.
When these products are visible and readily available in the workplace, employees will have an easier time adjusting to this change in practice. Allowing them to try these products themselves can be much more convincing than just telling them that green methods are better.
One reservation people have for switching to green cleaning products is the perceived higher costs. However, this is not always the case, as there are many products available at competitive prices that also work as all-around cleaners, reducing the number of products you usually buy for workplace cleaning.