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Ozone? UV Radiation? Find the Most Effective Way to Disinfect Your Office

Article November 11, 2020

Article

Whether you’re out at the office or working from home, regular disinfection can save you lots of worries. What can you use for cleaning at the workplace if you don’t want to turn to chemicals?

Thanks to It-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, workplace disinfection is getting unprecedented attention – and today’s extreme demand for cleaning services is one proof of that. “In connection with the first wave of the epidemic, we registered a jump in interest of roughly 200 percent. Currently by a few dozen percent more,” confirms Aneta Malinová from the global services company Atalian.

Alexandra Tomášková, Executive Vice President Operations Hungary&Czech Republic at Skanska Commercial Development Europe, likewise notes that the coronavirus pandemic has brought health topics to the fore. “We’re focusing on areas like air conditioning, the layout of interior spaces for future space plans, and e.g. also various types of disinfection, whether overall of for individual desks,” she noted in a recent interview.

New Methods

For office buildings, with their high concentrations of people, the strictest of safety rules usually apply. Regular cleaning with disinfectants and frequent cleaning of shared spaces should absolutely be matters of course.

But right here is where new technologies can pitch in. These include ozone and UV light. Hospitals, airlines, and more are already using both of these (with the aid of robots) for disinfection. And as PlaceTech.net has noted, they are both guaranteed microorganism killers. 

According to Technet.cz, ozone’s advantages, besides strong microbicidal effectiveness, include its ability to reach every last corner, truly disinfecting a space in its entirety. With ultraviolet radiation, meanwhile, you must carefully ensure sufficient exposure for the individual spaces. Yet on the other hand, since it works by damaging DNA, it can handle bacteria and mites just as well as viruses.

VIDEO: Cleaning without chemicals, just with the ozone at workspace. Source: ENGIE Innovation

Among the other cleaning options, PlaceTech.net also mentions an ultrasonic system based on dry fog. But you should leave approaches like these to the experts: in the hands of a layman, they can do more harm than good. “For disinfecting spaces, you always need to use the most efficient method, with a view to the spaces’ size, organization, and height, but also for example the presence of people or flowers,” notes Atalian’s Aneta Malinová.

Air conditioning equipment can be an important ally in the fight against the spread of infection too. If air is not regularly ventilated away, viruses endure in it and will spread out to distances of two meters and even more, notes Linsey Marr, a virologist with years of experience, in an article by The New York Times.

Modern office buildings are at an advantage in this respect, especially if they bring in fresh air from outside instead of circulating the interior air. Skanska, for example, has been emphasizing air quality in its projects for a long time. Special attention to air conditioning is also a part of its Care For Life Office Concept, which it created to help tenants with a safe return to their office buildings throughout Central and Eastern Europe.

Small Companies

If your company occupies only a few rooms or uses an older building, rule number one should be regular air exchange; this can even be as ordinary as opening a window. Despite the fact that this is less and less pleasant as the days grow colder.

Meanwhile, technology can help out in these smaller spaces too. You can filter the air using portable cleaners purchased in an ordinary store and simply placed in a room and plugged in.

“A virus doesn’t travel through the air on its own. It enters the air inside droplets,” notes Marr as she explains why we don’t have to try to stop viruses themselves. For this reason, according to experts’ recommendations, every filter with a quality level of at least MERV 13 should be able to deal with the coronavirus.

Even a small company can then use further options for disinfection. It all just depends on their budget and experts’ recommendations.

All Clean at Home?

If you’re working from home, you have the advantage of full control over who and what can get into your “office.” Good hygiene after coming in from outside is the foundation of maintaining a clean environment here. Before you touch any surfaces, people, or pets, wash your hands with soap and warm water. If you used your phone outdoors, disinfect that too.

Even with all this, it can’t hurt to disinfect your desk once in a while too. As the World Health Organization points out, instead of spraying every surface overall with a cleaner, it’s better to coat a rag or a paper towel with it and wipe the surface with that. And pay special attention to surfaces you touch frequently, like your keyboard and mouse.