Materiality and Cleaning in the New Work Environment

Posted 28 July 2020 / 1 minute read time

Now, more than ever, cleanability in the workplace is in the forefront of everyone’s mind. The way the world thinks about cleaning is different, and we’re rolling up our sleeves to help provide as much information and support as we can. To get people back in the office we all know that cleaning and sanitizing will be of the up most importance in preventing the spread of Covid as well as peace of mind for employees.

Over the last few weeks many manufacturers have introduced screens that be added to existing desks and workstations to provide not only a barrier but also an ease of cleanability in the workplace. (see our blog post on covid workplace ideas: https://www.mbifurniture.com/covid-workplace-ideas/) Many of the new solutions for space division are available in non-porous surfaces such as resin, TFL, polycarbonate, etc. However, this can cause the workplace to become very rigid, so people are also evaluating bleach-cleanable approved materials like PET and certain fabrics to bring some softness, warmth and acoustic qualities back in the division of space. One example of how Covid is shifting the materiality of products is the changing the mesh on Kimball’s Joya task chair to a bleach-cleanable version so the back can be wiped down.

As we continue to learn through this pandemic, test labs are staying at the forefront of new developments. We are seeing more cleaners that are focusing on eliminating the risk of COVID-19. For example, two forms of Lysol are now approved to kill COVID-19. (Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist)

We are diligently looking at additional materials such as polyurethane arm caps, PVC edge banding, as well as any new product that is different than our current material.

We are also focused on the topic of accumulative cleaning. Hospitals already had this issue, but expect it to get worse and will likely be an issue in all environments. The test lab is gathering information about this topic and will have additional information on which materials need additional testing and how they affect the surface over time.

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