Return to Work Checklist: Get your Building Prepared to Open Again
For businesses that may have been mostly or fully remote, there are a few things that need to be checked before opening the office back up. If your building has been closed for a while, then you may be subject to a few potential hazards that you might not think about, especially if you’re not there looking at it every day. ServiceMaster is here to help. We put together this checklist for a few things to check out before having people back in the office.
Check for mold
Mold is a huge issue for buildings that have been closed off for a while. Even if you have not had a water leak, the moisture in the air is enough to cause significant mold growth especially during humid summer months. If your HVAC was turned down or off to minimize energy consumption during the building’s closure, there is a good probability that mold developed during that period.
While not all mold is dangerous, there are some kinds, like black mold, that are particularly dangerous because they can lead to respiratory problems for the employees or visitors in your facility. We can refer you to a certified industrial hygienist third party to test your air and develop a cleaning protocol, if needed, for mold remediation services.
During the winter months, your building is at a much higher risk for pipes bursting. Before you head back into the office, make sure your pipes are all in great shape and there are no leaks or standing water anywhere. Take a close look at all exposed piping for cracks and damage. Look for any dripping water and turn on faucets to check for leaks along the pipes. Don’t forget to uncover any pipes you wrapped to keep warm during the cold weather to check them out, too.
Check your HVAC
It’s always a good idea to have your HVAC inspected every year, but if your building has been vacant for a while, then now’s the perfect time. You should check the entire HVAC system, including changing your air filters and checking the cleanliness and functionality of all vents and ducts. Aside from making sure everything is in working order, you want to clear any blockages, like debris and accumulated dust. Ductwork can be tricky, so if you’re not sure about doing it yourself, you should invest in a professional cleaning.
Check for any other winter damage
Your pipes and HVAC are going to be your main areas of focus, but if you’re in an area that gets pretty serious winter weather, then there should be a few more things to check out. If applicable, check your gutters, roof, windows, foundation, and yard for any damage. You want your gutters to be clear of debris, including snow and, and water shouldn’t pool excessively on the ground, either. Check your roof for damage, like missing shingles or leaks, and pooling water. Clear debris away from any vents. Look your windows over for any cracks in the panes, broken seals, and torn screens. Shovel snow away from your building and make sure water can’t seep in through any foundation cracks. Like we mentioned earlier, mold could be a huge issue for your facility and any of these problems could lead to water damage and mold growth.
Clean and disinfect all surface areas
Make sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces before allowing people back in the building to rid the area of any dirt, dust, bacteria, etc. If you had mold growth anywhere in your facility you don’t want mold spores to transfer to building occupants and cause health issues. You may also want to consider regular professional cleaning services to prevent mold growth in the future and to keep your employees safe and healthy from viruses and other pathogens when they’re back in the building.
It’s important that your building is at it’s best when your employees return to full- or part-time in-person work. Water damage and mold growth are not only hazardous to your facility’s structure, but also to the health of your employees. If you experience any water damage or mold growth or find yourself in need of a professional cleaning, give ServiceMaster a call. Our top priority is the health and safety of your employees. We want to help get you back to business as usual as quickly as possible.
One of the best ways to prepare for disaster is with an Emergency Response Plan. Having a plan in place not only makes you a top priority for our team at ServiceMaster but gives us all the information we need to minimize damage and business downtime.