We are all moving towards a greener lifestyle at home, but what happens when we walk into the office? Toxic household cleaning chemicals are well documented, along with their dangers and damage to the environment. Ethical shoppers are spending extra time in grocery store aisles, choosing eco-friendly cleaning products to put in their trolley/cart, but is the same care taken when fulfilling office cleaning practices?
If you’re an office manager or facilities manager in charge of the office cleaning contract, you should be adding environmental targets to your tender and contract process. It’s no longer a ‘nice to have’ on a commercial cleaning pitch, rather a necessity as we all evolve and become more aware of the dangers that lurk due to poor office cleaning practices.
Whether you work in a small office, or a large commercial building, we have seven eco-friendly office cleaning tips to make your day in the office cleaner, greener and healthier for you and your co-workers.
1. Steam is a superhero
When booking a cleaner to do the annual carpet clean or deep clean of the bathrooms, make sure they use the power of pure steam. Steam cleaning is one of the safest and most eco-friendly ways to deep clean. It also takes away the need for abrasive, toxic chemicals which pollute water systems and can harm your health.
2. Cleaning chemical check
If you employ an office cleaner, it’s unlikely you’ve taken the time to see what’s in those little spray bottles as they spray and wipe desks and equipment. It’s time to find out exactly what chemicals your cleaner is using. Whether it’s a local, self-employed cleaner, or a coordinated team across several floors, you need to understand what is being brought into your workplace. Smart marketing and buzzwords such as ‘all natural’, or ‘eco-friendly’ can fool you and do not mean you have a safe cleaning product. Do a search in your country for an approved body, such as GECA in Australia or Green Seal in the United States. That way, you can be sure the products used are safe, and your cleaner isn’t exposed either!
3. People power
Seek out an office cleaner who is passionate about green cleaning and can demonstrate eco-friendly office practices. Any cleaner can promise the earth and tell you what you want to hear when it comes to pitching for business, but a little sleuthing can reveal all. Ask for references and ask specifically about green practices. Check out the company to see if they are accredited and can provide evidence of eco-friendly cleaning. Staff should be trained with the environment in mind, and their equipment and cleaning chemicals should reflect their promises.
4. War on office waste
Reducing the amount of rubbish cluttering desks and heading to landfill will benefit your office in many ways. Ban single-use plastic from the office and switch plastic water bottles for filtered water taps and jugs for meetings. Encourage or purchase corporate reusable cups, like KeepCups, for your daily coffee and encourage people to swap throw away plastic food containers for re-usable glass ones.
As you reduce what’s hitting the garbage bin, work with your cleaner on separating and recycling waste where possible.
5. Furniture for the future
Old commercial office furniture and distinct finishes need extra care and chemical treatment to clean. As you upgrade and update your desks and other office furniture, choose products which are ethically sourced and manufactured, requiring only a damp microfiber cloth to wipe clean. You’ll create a comfortable, contemporary working environment without the need for overpowering cleaning sprays, gels and polishes.
6. Education will engage
Engage your co-workers and ask them to come with their ideas and initiatives on how to reduce waste, or clean and maintain an office in an eco-friendly way. If people feel part of the process, they are more likely to embrace it. Remember to share your good work with your customers too! It’s a great way to advertise your eco-friendly values, and you may even gain a few new customers from promoting your eco-friendly stance.
7. Air quality affects cleaning
Check out your office air conditioner and windows. Are they a haven for dust particles continually being churned out across the office floor and landing like powdery snow across your office? Clean, fresh air is necessary for the health and wellbeing of staff and cleaning and regular maintenance are essential. Clogged air vents can spread strange smells around the office and crank up the power needed to keep the air turning. Taking care of your office, airflow reduces your power bills and enables you to breathe fresher, cleaner, greener air in your office.
Adding plants to the office may not clean surfaces, but certainly helps to clean the air and bring a new feeling of general health and wellbeing. They also make your office quite literally greener!
Author bio: Lara Blanco is a culture happiness centric individual with the belief that happy teams make happy customers, which in turn makes everyone happy. She also knows a thing or two about cleaning 🙂