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Four Ways Keep Your Building Flu-Free

This week, 46 states reported widespread flu activity, and it’s going to continue for at least several weeks, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates. We asked Cushman & Wakefield’s Jim Whelan—who manages 3.5M SF for a global financial institution in Midtown Manhattan—the steps his buildings are taking to help stop the spread.

1) Provide hand sanitizer in common areas.


Buildings in his portfolio provide Purell stations in every elevator bank and the lobby. “This is what tenants are most appreciative of,” says Jim—they want the option of being able to easily cleanse their hands after touching elevator buttons or coming in from public transportation.

2) Clean high-touch areas more frequently.


The picture from the CDC, above, shows a sneeze in progress and how far the droplets actually spread; the center says studies show that the influenza virus can survive on surfaces between two and eight hours. When there’s a flu or illness outbreak, Jim’s team makes sure to more frequently clean highly trafficked areas, including doorknobs, handsets and bathroom faucets. He also recommends that tenants increase the frequency of cleaning high-touch surfaces for their individual offices and workstations. It helps when they're proactive as well, he says.

3) Keep tabs on the air.


Jim says it's standard practice at his properties to proactively perform indoor air-quality testing with a focus on humidity levels—if those drop below 30%, it can cause sinus issues and other health problems for occupants.

4) Train staff on proper use of various cleaning materials.

Jim says staff is trained on how to use each product the most effective way in order to prevent the spread of germs. The CDC says flu viruses can be destroyed by heat (167-212°F) and certain chemicals (including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents, iodine-based antiseptics and alcohols), provided they're used in proper concentrations for a sufficient length of time.

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