With legal restrictions on mask wearing, social distancing and everything else having been dropped on Monday 19th July – the expectation has been shifted on to the individual to show responsibility on these matters.
And, with working from home advice also ending, an increase in the number of people working from offices is expected, with a rise almost certain.
So, 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 due nearly 18 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 (just look at TFL) 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.
Following on from his piece on Fogging last year in Tomorrow’s FM Magazine, James Nayler looks at the difference between Fogging and Electrostatic Spraying, the PPE required, and which option should be used when…
A lot of businesses are now taking extra precautionary steps to ensure the spread of Coronavirus is reduced. After a thorough clean of potentially contaminated surfaces, we are seeing fogging or electrostatic spraying applied more regularly than before.
So, what are the differences? And how do we decide which one to use?
The basic principle of fogging is to reach high level surfaces, the undersides of surfaces, ceilings and other areas that can sometimes be missed or overlooked. A fog has to consist of tiny micron particles that are less dense than the air around it, which naturally allows the fog to rise and target the high-level surfaces.
We are regularly asked questions by customers around fogging, with the most common being, “What are the PPE requirements whilst I am fogging?”, and the answers vary substantially depending on the type of machine is use.
A fogging machine can be either a stand-alone piece of equipment or a handheld device. If using the stand-alone option, the machine is left in the middle of a room and does not require the need to be moved. This type of machine is isolated by a source of power (either electric or pneumatic) from outside the room and will run for the programmed time.
Unfortunately, a lot of people are mis-lead into believing they need head to toe PPE when fogging this way, and you do not! The reason being is – if conducted properly – you are not in the room whilst the fogging is taking place, nor for at least 60 minutes post fog.
However, with a handheld application, PPE requirements are much greater as the user is in the same room as the fog, therefore, putting themselves at greater risk of contact with the sanitiser by ways of inhale, ingest, skin and/or eyes. As a minimum, we would recommend suitable eye, body, hand, and respiratory protection. You will be able to find advice on PPE from your local provider.
When a room is fogged, windows should be sealed, electronic equipment isolated and bagged off, and all doors should remain closed. A more detailed summary of fogging can be found within the ‘Facts About Fogging’ piece found in the August edition of Tomorrow’s FM.
The application and PPE requirements are very similar to that when carrying out handheld fogging.
The basis of Electrostatic Spraying is similar to fogging, but there is an important additional process that takes place. At the tip of the sprayer, as the sanitiser leaves, it is positively charged with an electrode.
As nearly every surface that we aim to sanitise has a negative charge, the positive charge that is applied therefore means that the negative surface magnetically attracts the positively charged sanitiser. This in turn causes a “wrap around” affect, almost guaranteeing complete surface coverage.
The diagram below shows this:
Compare that to a handheld fog, that is not positively charged, directed at the same surface:
Electrostatic Spraying vs Fogging
If targeting specific areas in-between client meetings, such as tables & chairs, or individual toilet cubicles throughout the day, then electrostatic spraying would be the preferred option as this method is prone to less atomisation of sanitiser and is a lesser risk to those in the same vicinity.
Fogging, however, is better suited to those areas that are vacant after hours, such as office buildings, restaurants, gyms etc. The benefits of fogging ensure complete sanitiser coverage of all surfaces rather than specifics.
It is important that you choose the correct form of disinfection for your business, and the health of your employees and customers. Take extra precaution when risk assessing the environment to be sanitised before deciding. In either application, the efficacy of the sanitiser is the same.