An office is to be shared. It’s a workplace unlike many others, where colleagues, clients, visitors, and friends work side by side and experience their working day together. In the office there are highs and lows, and sharing the space with others isn’t always easy. But hopefully, it’s mostly fun.
One group of uninvited guests it’s never good to share your workplace with though, are pests.
Pests are never welcome. Cockroaches, mice, or flies are unsavory little creatures that aren’t suggestive of a healthy environment. They can affect people’s health with droppings and urine, spread diseases, bring in fleas, chew cables, and are generally unpleasant to be around. Added to this, pests will cost you money!
To reduce the likelihood of getting a rodent or roach infestation, here are some tips to keep the office clean. Not only for pest free but stress free too.
Keep Cleaning Cupboards Stocked
When sharing an office space, it’s important to make sure that everybody is involved in the cleaning chores. Making sure that everyone takes responsibility to clean creates a positive and equal place in which to work. Having your cleaning cupboards always full and ready is the best way to ensure cleaning is shared.
There are no excuses! When the colleague who never pulls his or her weight in sprucing up the place and getting rid of that smell is asked to clean, they’ll never be able to claim that there is nothing to clean with. With a stocked cleaning armory, any emergencies that occur – a spillage that will stain or slippery liquids on tiled floors for example – will be easy to deal with. When food is cleaned up, there are far fewer juicy tidbits for mice or roaches to feast on.
Cleaning items should include:
- A vacuum cleaner, mop and bucket, dustpan and brush
- Disinfectant wipes for surface areas, all-purpose cleaners
- Air freshener
Organize Your Workspace
Are you the type of person that always has to pick up a pile of folders to find an important piece of paper that you’re sure you saw only a few minutes ago? Do you routinely find items of food under a pile of work that you suspect has lain there for months? If the answer is yes, then maybe it’s time to make an effort to keep your workspace more organized.
The benefits of keeping a well-organized workspace are many.
Efficiency is hugely improved with a clean and tidy workspace. Rather than spending precious time hunting down equipment, you’ll know where it is when you need it.
By tidying your desk you also limit distractions. Working to a deadline is far easier to do if you’re not procrastinating by rearranging your post-it notes and paperclips! Have them all in order and you’ll have no excuse to do them later.
And stress relief! An unfortunate consequence of untidiness and the time wasting it brings is heightened stress levels. Never being able to find something you need, forever having to order papers or information before working on them, and generally wasting time, all add up to extra stress.
The final benefit of keeping your workspace clean and tidy is that you’re less likely to leave delicious leftovers for pests, rodent or otherwise!
Empty Those Trash Cans!
Hands up those of you who enjoy taking out the trash? No, not a single hand was raised. This is not a shock. Emptying the trash can be a messy, arduous endeavor. Or, it can be a quick, if a little joyless, afternoon task. That all depends on how you and your colleagues at the office decide to schedule it.
It isn’t surprising that taking out the trash regularly is an important factor in a clean and pest-free office. Yet it is surprising how frequently standards slip. Once bins are left overnight, they become a bigger problem to deal with.
The best way to guarantee the removal of trash is to set a schedule and put it up somewhere everybody can see. Agree on the schedule beforehand so that colleagues understand they’ll be expected to stick to it, and to check whether everyone agrees.
Keep an Eye Out for Telltale Signs
Pests leave unmistakable signs that can alert you to their presence.
Rodents leave droppings that when fresh are dark and moist but dry out and crumble easily if they’re left for a few hours or days. If you’ve got a mice or rat problem, you’ll know about it. Droppings are usually seen in drawers or cupboards or near to trash cans and dumpsters where food is easily available. If you see droppings, it’s time to take further action.
Cockroaches are usually found out because a person sees them. They’re ultra-fast and very good at hiding, so though you may spot one darting about you’ll likely lose sight of it soon after. But there are other unmistakable signs too, like droppings or eggs. Cockroaches are difficult to get rid of so if you see these signs, then take action quickly!
A Drastic Measure: The Use of Pesticides
Pesticides aren’t pleasant and we’re not advocating their use as anything other than an unfortunate and fought against last resort. Some are, of course, poisonous, and so best practice before using pesticides is to get rid of any food or drinks around your desk and alert your colleagues that you’re about to use it. Always read the directions before applying.
Open windows in any rooms that you use pesticides in too. It isn’t usually a good idea to breathe in their fumes and so opening a window will ensure the room is aired quickly.
Some pesticides are less harmful to both the environment and ourselves than others. Natural pesticides are a good first port of call to lessen the impact on your office but keep it free of pesky pest.
Using pesticides for rodents can entail (see what I did there?) further considerations, for example, if poison is put down, then pets cannot be allowed in the area. This is best discussed with professionals prior to putting it down.