Companies are being urged to make sure I.T. Equipment is professionally cleaned and disinfected as staff return to the office after lockdowns.

Trafford-based TechDisinfect says firms need to put the safety and wellbeing of employees first as office working makes a comeback over the coming months.

The company, founded by Urmston-based businessman Karim Samani in 2019, specialises in the professional disinfection of IT devices using its own high-grade anti-bacterial products.

Karim, who himself became ill because of dirty and unhygienic office equipment, says most employers take office cleaning seriously. But properly disinfecting items such as computers, keyboards, laptops and printers etc are often an after-thought.

Hidden dangers lurk in our tech, with lab tests carried out by the company revealing evidence of harmful spreadable infections such as Coronavirus, Norovirus, Salmonella, Listeria, Swine Flu and more.

Over the last year, the firm has secured support from GC Business Growth Hub, part of The Growth Company and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and additional support from Cheshire and Warrington Growth Hub.

The support has enabled the firm to overhaul its digital marketing strategy, helping it to prepare for an anticipated upsurge in business as lockdown restrictions end and staff return to the office.

Karim said: “Professionally cleaning office IT equipment is something most employers sadly don’t think about. Time and resources are devoted to cleaning most areas of the office – but for some reason we neglect the machines we spend eight hours a day using.

“Covid-19 should be a wake-up call for us all that we can no longer ignore the hidden threats to staff safety and wellbeing in our workplace. Just tip a keyboard upside down and you will see the nasties that are lurking in there. Our own expert cleaners have found everything from food and crumbs to maggots and dead bugs.

“That’s just the dangers we can see though. Look under a microscope and you will see even more threats to our health from a huge range of bacteria and pathogens.”

Karim, a former finance controller for blue chip firms including ITV, Ford and Schneider Electric, started TechDisinfect back in 2019 after he developed long-term allergies from using unclean office IT equipment especially ‘hot desking’

Karim adds: “I would travel around company offices hotdesking and began to notice how filthy the equipment were. When I found myself getting sick that was when I hit on the idea of a company which would professionally disinfect I.T. equipment, help reduce the risk to staff, help reduce absenteeism and maintain I.T. equipment on a regular basis for them to always look pristine.

Also, the company will raise awareness to stop organisations throwing away working but tired looking I.T. equipment to reduce impact on environment through plastic wastage.

So, after doing the in-depth research and gaining the confidence to succeed. I quit my job and founded TechDisinfect.”

The Covid-19 pandemic initially saw the company lose customers as offices closed and staff switched to working from home.

But the firm took swift action – securing a £25,000 business loan from the GC Business Growth Hub, as well as the services of the Hub’s innovation team, to help plan for the future.

A new website, improved social media presence and enhanced digital marketing helped the firm to bounce back and even take on more staff. A better customer relationship management system has helped TechDisinfect win new orders and retain existing customers.

Yvonne Grady, Head of Innovation at GC Business Growth Hub, said: “The pandemic posed significant challenges for TechDisinfect but it has emerged from the crisis not just surviving but thriving.

“The firm took the opportunity to review its whole digital strategy and is now better placed to win new business and retain existing customers.

“The company’s new approach to marketing its services focuses strongly on all the benefits of professional IT equipment cleaning – for staff health and safety and more. That means convincing customers of the knock-on benefits such as improved productivity, reduced staff absenteeism, giving equipment a new lease of life and even improving workplace morale.

“Promoting these benefits, many of which can save firms money, will of course be vital for TechDisinfect and its customers as we leave the pandemic behind us. It now has the right digital strategy in place to do that.”

The support from the GC Business Growth Hub helped TechDisinfect to safeguard two jobs during the pandemic and recruit four new team members. The firm hopes to grow its workforce in the coming months and expand the business through a franchising model nationwide.

Traffic to the firm’s new website soared by more than 30%, while turnover and profit are also up 45% and 15% respectively. Business has also been secured from 15 new clients.

The firm’s own bespoke disinfection products are lab-tested for EN14476 and many other tests to effectively kill Coronavirus, MERS-CoV, Norovirus and other pathogens from all types of I.T. equipment in all settings.

TechDisinfect is now working to further develop these products for the commercial as well as domestic market as the part of their growth strategy and expansion.

They have won the trade mark for TechDisinfect and have also been the area finalist for Wellbeing Award by the Federation of Small Businesses in 2020 in the Northwest.