Let's get back to work, but let's do it safely...
Remember when the pandemic first kicked off and we were told to flee our offices and adapt to a life working from the sofa, making specialty coffees and pretending to find it funny when your boss changed their Zoom background to Bangkok. Ahh, those crazy days.
Thankfully, they're behind us and most people are returning to the workplace. It's a strange one, especially when you haven't seen your desk for almost half-a-year and your office chair has had time to return to it's normal form; one without your bottom indented into it. For better or worse, your old setup could be exactly as you left it -- untidy.
That bits fine. What isn't, however, is the fact our office desks are actually hotbeds for germs, which isn't ideal during the Covid-19 pandemic. That's why it's so important to keep your desk as clean and tidy and hygienically sounds as possible to prevent any diseases spreading around your workplace.
And to help you do this, here are the best ways to clean your office desk and chair during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as a few tips on how often to clean and what to clean with.
Preparation Is Key
Before you even think about dousing a cloth in some disinfectant solution, you need to have a game plan because, let's be honest, cleaning a messy desk is never fun, and going into that without a plan of action is just going to make it more complicated than it definitely needs to be.
So, to kick things off, start by putting any rubbish on your desk in the bin and anything that can be recycled into the recycling bin. Just make sure nothing is important and, if it is, either don't bin it or make sure you shred it first.
Once you've done that, you need to tee yourself up for a deep clean, which means removing everything from your desk so that you can ego to town on every inch of your workspace. Folders, pen pots, fidget spinners, the photo of your kids, the dead plant, everything -- including what's in your drawers too. Do this and you can get your deep clean on without any annoying hiccups.
Safety First, Always
A lot of people think it's enough to just turn off any electronics, but that's not the case because most electronics still carry a small electronic current even when they're on standby and, well, that can raise the risks pretty high when you combine it with cleaning products. So make sure you unplug everything too.
That said, it's not just safety we have in mind here; it's also convenience because it's a lot easier to clean when there's a thousand wires leading from the back of your desk to your monitors, keyboard, computer mice, lava lamp and everything else. So unplug to make life easier and safer.
What To Clean With: Wipes Or Soap
The simple answer is both, and here's how to do that correctly and efficiently. Armed with a pack of alcohol-based, antibacterial disinfectant wipes, start by thoroughly wiping down all the office equipment laying around on your desk, such as your pens, staplers, scissors, calculator and whatnot. Once you've done that, move onto those slightly less-touched items, like your desk lamp and plant pots and photo frames, making sure you wipe them all over and then leave them to dry for at least five minutes before you put them back on your desk.
In short, disinfectant wipes are your best bet. However, for those items that are an awkward shape to clean with a wipe, soak them in warm, soapy water instead, and then leave them to dry. Things like your desk organiser, pen pot, plastic paper filer etc.
Time To Disinfect Your Office Desk
After you've cleared your desk of office tidbits and popped them all elsewhere to dry, now is the time to deep clean every part of your desk's surface, starting with a dry cloth so that there's no dust left. Once that’s done, try and remember where you left your disinfectant wipes (they'll be in the place you look) and start cleaning every inch of your workspace, focussing on any areas that you touch a lot, which is typically the edges of your desk, your drawer handles and the areas surrounding your keyboard and mouse. When you've done this, set your stopwatch to five minutes and let your desk dry.
Cleaning Your Office Chair
Unlike your desk which is almost-certainly a hard surface, all office chairs are different, meaning how you clean it will totally depend on the type of upholstery you're dealing with. So make sure you start by checking the label that's almost-always stitched to bottom of the seat. This label should have a bunch of cleaning instructions and tell you what sort of products are safe to be used on it.
If your tag says water-based products are fine, grab your Henry Hoover and vacuum the seat to get rid of any nasty whoknowswhats before you attack it with an easy solution of warm water and dish soap. Of course, you'll want to spot check it to make sure no damage is done but, presuming everything looks hunky dory, apply your cleaning solution using a cloth and some gently pressure.
If, however, your office chair is so posh it says 'dry-clean only' on the label, your best move is to invest in a specialised dry-cleaning solution, which is to say a solution that's not water-based. Amazon is a pretty good bet for this sort of thing, but if you want to support your local businesses (because you're a hero), try heading over to your nearest furniture store or, failing that, an office supply shop. Once applied and left to do its thing for the allotted time, start up your Henry hoover again and get rid of any excess cleaning product.
Clean Thoroughly & Clean Often
The working world is still in a bit of a topsy turvy state where remote working a few days a week is now the norm. However, if you’re one of those people that's back at your desk every day of the working week, you should be looking to clean and disinfect your desk once every fortnight -- and still sanitising your frequently touched equipment at least once a day. Here's how to do that:
Get into the habit of spending a couple of minutes each evening (before you head home) wiping down your desk and equipment with a disinfectant wipe.
Add a regular cleaning slot to your calendar that reminds you to spend five to ten minutes cleaning and tidying your desk on a set day each week. What day is totally up to you but, for reasons of productivity, we recommend getting your clean on every Monday morning so that you have a clean desk for the rest of the week.
As for deep cleans, this only needs to be done once a month, but to keep up with it and, well, not seem like the crazed one in the office, try making it a team-wide thing at the start of every month, where everyone in your team gets involved with clearing their workspaces before thoroughly wiping down every inch of their desk and their computer bits.
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