These are unprecedented times as we all try to navigate our way through the coronavirus pandemic that is causing upheaval in businesses, homes, schools, and agencies across the globe. Extraordinary measures are in place to control the spread of the virus, including self-isolation, social distancing and cleaning measures like frequent hand washing.
The latter, of course, extends to business furnishings, which in practical terms needs to be sturdy enough to withstand frequent cleanings.
It’s important to remember that this coronavirus pandemic will pass, and business and personal life will get back to normal routines. But even when it does, one of the lessons being learned is the absolute necessity of safeguarding workplaces, employees, and clients from any future outbreaks, including the seasonal flu which has its own perils.
Did you know data shows that more than 12,000 Canadians are hospitalized due to complications from seasonal flu, with 3,500 deaths, each year? Even when the current crisis passes, another strain of coronavirus may emerge putting people at risk, especially infants, young children, and elderly people. The importance of vigilance will be more pronounced than ever, including the use of business furnishings that can withstand regular cleanings.
Research the Availability of Sturdy and Easy-To-Clean Business Furnishings
Here are some tips for keeping business furnishings clean and safeguarding the health of employees and customers:
- At the start of the process, research what is available and purchase business furnishings that are both sturdy and easy to clean. Materials that are easy to clean include vinyl, plastic, and mesh chairs. If you go for leather, make sure you use a cleaner specifically designed for that material. Fabric chairs might present more of a cleaning challenge as well.
- For desks, glass, plastic, laminate and wood veneer are relatively simple to maintain. For laminate, soap and water with a microfibre cloth will do the trick. Try not to use ammonia-based cleaners on laminate and veneer surfaces, as these chemicals can damage the surface, leaving a cloudy look. Whatever the material, ensure it can be cleaned regularly and thoroughly.
- Fabrics used for upholstered business furniture need to be fluid resistant, non-porous, with the ability to withstand very strong disinfectants.
- When choosing a design, avoid business furnishings with lots of groves and curves, which makes it difficult to clean–lots of places for viruses to hide.
- Again, furniture should be sturdy enough to withstand a variety of use-and-abuse demands.
Remember Employee Needs When Purchasing Business Furnishings
While focusing on the maintenance aspects of office furniture, let’s not forget the needs of your employees, which include:
- Comfort: Employees spend a lot of time at their work stations, and you want them to be comfortable as this eases stress levels, providing wellness and productivity benefits. Make sure your purchases are employee-centric.
- Ergonomics: One size does not fit all when it comes to acquiring ergonomic business furnishings. Rather, obtain equipment that is adjustable to fit all prospective users. Include features like adjustable chairs with adjustable armrests, and desk that are also adjustable. If the chair is not adjustable, a footrest is recommended.
- Flexible office furnishings: Once, employees remained seated for most of the day, behind rigid desks. Now, flexible desks can be raised or lowered, depending on whether the employee wants to sit or stand.
In light of the coronavirus, other viruses that might emerge, and ongoing risks like the seasonable flu, employers will want to invest in business furnishings that are easy to clean, sturdy, and built for comfort and flexibility. At POI, we have a range of brands, including Steelcase, Global, and many others to meet your needs. Contact POI today.