Employees Look for Pandemic Hygiene Protocols to Become Permanent
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans were made keenly aware of the significance of hygiene. Seemingly simple, everyday actions—frequently washing hands, using sanitizers, cleaning surfaces and the refraining from social norms (such as shaking hands)—had to be adapted almost religiously to guard against contagion.
We can safely say such practices went a long way in helping contain the spread. What is interesting, however, is that after 18 months of incorporating these practices into our daily lives, they’ve become habits. A diehard habit.
Enhanced Hygiene is Here to Stay
Revealed in a survey by Essity, a leading global hygiene and health company, 84% of Americans are likely to continue the enhanced hygiene protocols—even after the pandemic has long receded in the rearview mirror. Beyond the homestead, 86% of Americans are expecting these hygienic practices to be maintained at all the public places they are starting to revisit: Healthcare facilities. Restaurants. Hotels. Theaters. Fitness centers. Retail stores. Sports arenas. Museums. But after having worked remotely for more than a year, 65% of employed Americans remain concerned about the cleanliness and hygiene of the office when they return.
What Employees Want
Getting employees back to the workplace has been presenting a challenge in industries and facilities across the board. Whatever concerns employees may harbor, a hygienic work environment need not be one of them.
Fortunately, that is one of the easiest concerns to overcome. It’s a matter of mindfulness: understanding what employees are expecting, continually staying in touch with them about those expectations, addressing them to their complete satisfaction, and always being open to suggestions.
The heartening news is, 84% of Americans who’ve worked in an office previous to the pandemic have good faith that their employers will be creating a clean, safe environment for them. Even so, 58% would like to see an increase in the implementation of cleaning and sanitizing practices. Taking their cues from COVID-19, here are some of the measures employees would like to see:
Increased cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting.
The differences are important to note:
- Cleaning removes dust, debris, and dirt from a surface by scrubbing, washing, and rinsing.
- Sanitizing reduces the bacteria identified on the product’s label on surfaces.
- Disinfecting destroys or inactivates both the bacteria and viruses identified on the product’s label (like influenza and rhinovirus) on hard, non-poroussurfaces.
Hand sanitizer stations. These could be placed outside restrooms, in breakrooms, near elevators, in kitchens, at cafeteria entrances, near cash registers, at building entrances, and in lobbies—to name a few.
Hands-free restroom fixtures. Think motion-activated paper towel and soap dispensers. Employees and guests also appreciate the placement of an open trash receptacle by the restroom door when exiting, so they can touch the door handle with a paper towel and then easily drop it in the trash.
Increased communication and signage on safety and cleanliness protocols. Straightforward or expressed with humor, informing employees of what is being done in the name of safety will allay concerns. Also, gentle reminders of how employees can maintain a clean, safe workplace help to reinforce best practices and ensure that everyone is doing their part.
Higher-capacity paper towel dispensers in common areas and in bathrooms. Spills and messes can happen anywhere in an office, from the bathroom to the conference room, to one’s own desk space. Having enough paper towels handy means having one less stressor.
Yes, old habits can change!
Of the many things COVID has spotlighted, it’s one’s own pre-pandemic behavior. Personal hygiene habits, for better or for worse, were brought into sharp relief. Changing those old habits may have been a bit of a nuisance at first, but it was quickly realized to be a very small price to pay if it meant preventing not only oneself from contracting the virus, but also family, friends, and colleagues.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, most reassuring is how those good habits are being carried through into the workplace. As employees return to the office, they take notice of positive changes in their co-workers’ behavior, engendering an “all-in-this-together” vibe as everyone does their due diligence in maintaining a healthy, safe environment for one another. Impressive stats support this:
- 57% are using hand sanitizer more often
- 53% are washing hands more frequently
- 51% are not engaging in the once “automatic” gesture of shaking hands
- 41% are sanitizing and 37% are washing their hands after coughing or sneezing
- 36% are washing or sanitizing their hands after touching public surfaces, with 35% washing hands for a longer duration
- 34% are wearing gloves to touch public surfaces
- 31% are drying hand with a towel/paper towel vs. air drying
- 30% are using other objects to touch public surfaces (elevator buttons, keypads, etc.)
Getting down to the nitty-gritty: Miller's can help.
Whether it’s custodians, facility management, or office workers themselves, everyone can pitch in and easily be an active participant of the “clean team”—as long as the right products are available and conveniently at everyone’s disposal. Providing you with a one-stop-shop for all the previously mentioned products and more is what Miller’s does. That, and helping you devise a plan to decide what’s best for your situation at a cost that will be aligned with your budget.
Making these changes or enhancements in your office or facility can go a long way in hastening employees’ return to work, and give them peace of mind when they do.
Pssst. Here’s the “clean” little secret in all of this...
During the pandemic, fastidious hygiene habits have been correlated to the dramatic drop in colds and flu during the 2020-21 winter season. Making these habits permanent in the workplace could very well have that same healthy effect in cold and flu seasons to come.
Contact your Miller’s representative today. Together and once and for all, let’s get every health, safety and hygiene concern clean off the table
“Concerns About Office Cleanliness and Hygiene Measures Weigh on American Workers as Many Begin Returning to the Office” https://www.essityusa.com/media/us-news/2021/backtobusiness/
“What Hygiene Measures Make Employees Feel Confident and Safe Returning to the Workplace?” https://www.essityusa.com/Images/Essity-Back-To-Business-Sutvey-Infographic-2021_tcm341-118554.pdf
“Flu Cases Decline Dramatically This Season” https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/articles/flu-cases-decline-dramatically-this-season
What’s the Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting?” https://www.clorox.com/resources/coronavirus/whats-the-difference-between-cleaning-sanitizing-and-disinfecting/