With a new variant of the Covid virus making it's way to the UK, there is a call from governments and scientists to remain vigilant this winter. But with more people in offices, people able to sit at bars without social distancing and less individuals wearing face masks, will there be more anxiety? And what can companies do to keep both customers and staff from feeling this angst?
Anxiety Still Here
A recent study shows that more than half of the British workforce would be happy to never return to the office, citing a number of reasons for this anxiety.
The study of 1,000 employees who are currently working from home suggested that 39% asked were worried about lack of personal space, 27% concerned about colleagues carrying out hand hygiene and 27% concerned that there was not enough communal cleaning.
It goes on to show that 56% would like their employer to install sanitising pumps, whilst 51% would insist on the employer implementing a daily cleaning regime for communal areas. A further 40% would feel more comfortable if there was a monthly decontamination deep clean as part of their offices cleaning regime.
So, cleaning and sanitisation is clearly at the forefront of people’s minds – and this is likely to continue until cases and circulation of the virus start to decrease.
What Can Employers Do?
Put simply, clean and disinfect thoroughly and effectively – ideally with a sanitiser that contains environmentally responsible ingredients. The level of sanitisers used is highly likely to increase to help battle people’s fears, so if using more it is important that it is less damaging to the environment or the user.
One of the most important aspects to focus on is undoubtedly hand hygiene! With people more likely to be hugging, shaking hands and using touch points again, it needs to be at the top of the agenda. It is vital that touch points are cleaned regularly, and hands are washed frequently. If there isn’t a hand wash sink, then hands need to be disinfected using a hand sanitiser. Again, preferably one made using ingredients that are kinder to the environment and the user.
It sounds simple but keep cleaning procedures and protocols in place. In general, cleaning standards over the last 18 months have improved quite drastically – and now is not the time to revert to how things were. Things like disinfecting touch points regularly and cleaning desks before eating lunch will go a long way to helping cut the potential spread of viruses.
A final, and hugely significant, piece of advice is to be visible when cleaning. This will help to alleviate reopening anxiety considerably – for both customers and employees. With cleaning under the spotlight, whether in offices or hospitality settings, seeing cleaning procedures in action is sure to make customers feel more relaxed, and give employees returning to offices peace of mind.
A Tough Winter Ahead?
It has been widely noted that after months of being in lockdown, the general public’s immune systems aren’t as resilient as they were. Respiratory and flu viruses, as well as norovirus are expected to make a big comeback – meaning following strict cleaning protocols is as important as at any time during the pandemic.
Restrictions may be gone legally, but mask wearing is still strongly advised by the government. And, with Covid cases still on an upwards trend, hand hygiene and the public’s peace of mind are essential for the return to normal life.
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