As though grey skies over London, cold rain flooding the streets, short daylight hours, and freezing temperatures were not enough for anyone to deal with, the weather at this time of year can also make keeping your commercial premises clean and safe into a much larger challenge than usual. Fallen leaves can blow in from the street. Mud and rain water make the floors dirty and treacherous, as wet feet trudge them through the door. The office abounds with dripping coats and umbrellas, Tissues and packets of cold relief medicine litter the desks of your workers. The increased intake of hot beverages correlates with an increased rate of spillages and stains. Looking around, you think to yourself “things cannot get worse”, just as the clogged drainpipe overflows and mucky water floods the entrance way to the building.

Winter weather is a problem that all business owners must face, but the effort required to maintain a clean, happy, productive office in these conditions can be significantly lessened, just by employing six simple strategies.

1. Keep the Doors Closed

In order to stop flurries of falling autumn leaves blowing into the office, simply ensure that doors and windows are kept shut. Dried leaves can make a real mess as they crumble easily underfoot. The floor can quickly become covered in tiny broken up bits of leaf. Closing the doors and windows will not only ensure that leaves do not blow in, but it will also save money on heating bills. The downside is that dust can quickly build up, and with less ventilation this can be bad for employees’ health. Commercial cleaning services should be brought in at least once a month throughout autumn and winter thoroughly eradicate dust.

2. Lay Out Welcome Mats

Welcome mats provide an excellent first line of defence against mud and water, preventing floors from becoming both unsightly and dangerously slippery. Choose mats made of absorbent material, but ones which can be easily cleaned.

3. Provide Coat and Umbrella Stands

Putting coat stands by the door, as well as some sort a container into which umbrellas can be deposited on entering the building, will also work to reduce the amount of water brought in from outside. This will have numerous beneficial effects. Not only will floors be clean and dry, but so will desks, chairs and documents. Staff, having left their outer garments at the door, wil arrive at their desks ready to work.

4. Instigate a Clean Desk Policy

Employees bring all sorts of extra paraphernalia aimed at helping them deal with the cold weather into work during winter: from tissues, pills and medicine bottles to hand-warmers, alcohol wipes and masks. This is on top of festive items, such as Christmas cards and novelty gifts. All this can cause workspaces to become cluttered, thereby reducing productivity and efficiency. Giving each employee a tray, box or draw in which to store their items and insist that desks are kept clean can do a lot to prevent this. Small desktop bins for things like used teabags and tissues can also be beneficial, as long as employees are asked to empty them into the main bin on a daily basis.

5. Cup Lids and Holders

The easiest way to prevent hot drink spillages is to provide cups with lids. These could be disposable paper cups, or even thermos lidded mugs. You may consider buying the latter in bulk and offering them to staff at a reduced cost, in order to minimise expense. Mug holders on desks can also prove to be a good idea, particularly if made from something grippy and absorbent.

6. Clear the Drains

The last piece of the puzzle, one that is all too often overlooked, is to ensure that external drains are kept free of leaves and debris. A build up can cause water to overflow, leading to floods and all the associated problems. Find out who is responsible for this task in your building; it may be a property management company, the landlord or yourself. If the responsibility falls to you, it is wise to contact a professional commercial cleaning service to carry out the work.