COVID Compliant Business Part 3: Cleaning, Hygiene and Health

How do we address the issues of cleaning, hygiene, and health monitoring at COVID standards?


The best way to ensure requirements are met is through the 5S methodology of Shine and Standard Work. Following these practices will save you in an outbreak. The fact is, businesses that have high-quality standards in their products and services are typically working with error rates or defect rates 50% better than their competitors. That makes a huge difference to the profitability of the business and to business continuity.

In the very same vein, having high standards, documented standards including rigorous cleaning, excellent hygiene, and effective health monitoring is going to see a better quality outcome for your business. In the case of COVID, the quality outcome is not being shut down because you have an outbreak. That’s the most crucial thing. So how do we do this?

Visual tools kanban card

Visually communicate cleaning requirements.

One of the things we can do is create standards in the way of what you’d call a single point lesson. Essentially, these are things like simple posters that give very clear instructions and images as to how things should be done. For example, in bathrooms, have big posters on the mirrors around things like ‘Have you washed your hands?’, describing good hand washing technique and the amount of time to be taken to wash, by singing Happy Birthday twice. For meal areas, cordoning off sections so that the right number of people can sit in the room is really important. Making use of visual tools such as taping off one side of a table can help. One of the things I’ve seen done really well in a meals area was having a regular cleaning schedule in force. A double-sided card was used. One side was green, communicating “This table is clean” while the other side was red communicating ” This table is dirty”. When you’d finish using the table, you turn the card over to the red and the cleaner knew to come and clean that table straightaway. They’d then turn that card back over to green, visually communicating that it was ready to use by the next person. Common areas: again, lots of good signage. If you have multiple shifts, working across days and nights, then having good signage around things like separate fridges that they put their food in, separate areas that they eat in, separate ends of a change room, and separate lockers that they make use of can all help.

There are many different ways we can do this. But the key to having things clean safe and healthy is to have good standards. Now let’s talk about the cleaning, you probably going to have to double your cleaning in the interim to make sure that the place stays clean and safe for people. And of course, it goes without saying that includes cleaning things like doors, high touch points, so on.

When it comes to health monitoring, some businesses have gone to the extent of checking temperatures of their people before they come into work. This is particularly good practice. Obviously, they are HR considerations and privacy considerations regarding these sorts of practices, but this is for the greater health and safety of your workforce. So being able to do health monitoring, at the start of the day, every day, is not a bad thing and shows a serious attitude towards keeping the workforce safe. It would be difficult to enforce things like say, finger prick testing for antibodies. However, if you have a workforce that is prepared to volunteer for those kinds of things, then that can work too. It’s all just depends on your workforce.


It’s important from a workforce point of view that they’re collaborating with you on this. As a business owner or business manager, you have a clear understanding strategically of where you need to go with your cleaning, hygiene, health monitoring, But you need to get your workforce involved in helping you come up with the solutions. Then they’re bought into it, and they own it as well. These practices are not being imposed upon them. They’ve created them with you.


Want to know more? Just ask.