Cleaning up and clearing out – a practical guide to office shutdown

With so much going on at the moment it’s difficult to stop and think about what you need to do next. But as so many businesses decide to shut down this week to protect their staff from Covid-19, there’s even more to consider to ensure that the office is safe, secure and a healthy place for staff to return to when all of this is over.

As NGI is in exactly the same boat, we thought we’d share the steps that we’ve considered this weekend to ensure an efficient office shutdown. It’s a quick and easy checklist to help you save precious time. It isn’t exhaustive, so if you can see anything we’ve missed, please do comment and share your thoughts.

Desks and personal work spaces

Since GDPR came into play in 2018, we’re all working in paperless offices aren’t we? OK, maybe not entirely paperless offices. So it’s worth doing a sweep of any papers/documents that you plan to leave behind when you switch to home-working and shredding anything with sensitive or confidential information on it.

It’s also worth considering what computer equipment you need. If you already work from a laptop, then that’s great. But if you’re used to working on two screens, it’s worth seeing if these are easily transferable as this will be hugely helpful if we need to home-work for several weeks (which is looking very likely!) Similarly, you might want to consider taking any wrist or foot rests you use, or perhaps even transporting your office chair if you have problems with a bad back for example.

Desk plants will need regular watering, and you’ll probably need some stationery, so grab them as well. Additionally, as we’re not likely to be seeing family and friends for the foreseeable, you might want to take your favourite framed desk photos back home to keep your spirits up during the working day.

The staff kitchen

Nobody wants to return to an office that reeks to high heaven of moldy food. It’s worth getting everything out of the fridge, asking staff to collect anything they want to take with them, and then giving the fridge a good clean.

If there’s a lot of non-perishable food left in the kitchen, consider contacting local food banks and community kitchens to see if they’d like to take it.

Office admin

Make a list of what needs cancelling. Here’s a starter for 10:

– Milk
– Newspapers and magazines (you might re-divert these to somebody’s home address if there’s a communications team needing to stay up to speed with the headlines)
– Post – can this be diverted or can one member of staff safely collect it on a regular basis?

Other things to consider in the admin to-do list are notifying insurance companies about the fact the office will be empty to ensure you are still covered should anything happen while you’re away, and buying in a supply of stamps because nobody is going to want to take the franking machine home with them!

The techy stuff

You’ve probably got at least one member of the team who’s more IT literate than others. It’s therefore worth asking them to take responsibility for doing a last sweep of electrical and tech equipment. Is everything switched off? Does the IT department or IT support company need to be consulted? Do phones need to be diverted? Do staff need to be educated on how to do this themselves?

Miscellaneous things that might just prove invaluable someone…

Did you previously stock up on hand sanitisers? Have you got a large supply of hand soaps, toilet rolls or cleaning products? It’s worth contacting a local GP surgery or residential charity to see if they could take them. As they say, every little helps and it’s the little things that are proving invaluable at the moment judging by the empty shelves in the supermarkets.

We hope this is helpful and, should you have any further tips, please share them in the comments section.

For anything else on Covid-19, please check out our online hub where we hope you’ll find useful information and updates.

Stay safe everyone.