Our latest blog looks at five office hygiene and wellness measures you can employ this year to create smarter, healthier workplaces during and after the pandemic.
For many people, 2020 turned the work environment on its head. But in fact, the world of work has been changing for a while now. Technological advances, remote work, wellness initiatives – every day there was something new. Just keeping up with whether open offices were innovative and trendy, or overrated and unproductive was a full-time job. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic came along and accelerated that shift even further.
Now, more than ever, employees need to know that the company they work for is taking the proper precautions to keep them safe. The things people are looking for in an employer are shifting – just like the workplace itself. Beanbag chairs and an on-site barber aren’t necessarily what people are looking for right now, and brands need to be aware of this.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to revamp their office wellness and hygiene policies, and tenants and employees are more aware of health and safety than ever, so it’s likely that workplaces will never go back to exactly how they were before the pandemic – but perhaps that’s for the best. It’s time for businesses to put the wellness needs of colleagues front and centre, and to display a new and improved commitment to creating smarter, healthier working environments.
Here are our top five recommendations for creating healthier workplaces during and after the pandemic:
1. Focus on indoor air quality for enhanced office wellness
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), studies of exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor levels of pollutants can be two to five times higher than outdoor levels. Research commissioned by Rentokil Initial in March 2021 found that 64% of respondents were more concerned about the air quality in indoor environments now than they were prior to the pandemic. As a result of these concerns, 59% of consumers believe air purification systems should be mandatory in public buildings and educational facilities.
Add to this the fact that it is conventionally accepted now that COVID-19 can be transmitted through the air, and you have a situation in which employees who may be debating whether or not to come back to the workplace are understandably concerned about the quality of the indoor air in their workspaces.
Ambius is a proud distributor of the VIRUSKILLER Air-Purifier range, the only air purifier proven to kill 99.9999% of viruses with a single air pass, including Coronavirus*. You can read more about the Viruskiller range and how they work in our previous blog post.
2. Create a culture of rigorous hand hygiene
While we can’t actually make people wash their hands well, properly, or on a regular basis, we can create a culture in which rigorous hand hygiene protocols are endorsed and encouraged. Placing mobile hand sanitiser units around your building is a good way to remind people to sanitize often, and placing hand sanitiser dispensers in “high traffic” areas and throughout the entire building can significantly reduce the risk of spread.
High traffic areas include:
- Break rooms
- Common areas
- Communal work areas
- Meeting rooms
- Reception areas
Make sure that there are always adequate hand drying options as well (for after washing), as wet hands can spread up to 1000 times more germs than dry hands. Use posters and educational material to constantly remind colleagues of the importance of good hand hygiene.
Visit the Resources page on our sister site, Insights, for a large collection of free downloadable hygiene posters that you can print and display internally to drive hygiene compliance.
3. Take cleaning and disinfection seriously for enhance office hygiene
It’s important to understand the difference between cleaning and disinfection and to have schedules for both. You can read a post we wrote about the distinction here.
Because cleaning alone does not kill germs, high traffic areas should receive more than just daily cleaning. Traditional spray and wipe-down cleaning methods can help remove dirt and reduce pathogens from a surface, it can also miss up to 50% of germs on surfaces. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces but killing germs remaining on a surface after cleaning further reduces any risk of spreading infection.
4. Enforce social distancing with plants, modular partitions, and green wall dividers
Employees will be looking for visual cues that the workplace is safe and that improvements have been made. Interior landscaping is the perfect opportunity to create both a visually stunning and socially distanced design.
Plants, modular partitions, and green wall dividers are functional and versatile, and in addition to social distancing, plants provide many other wellness benefits in the workplace. Studies show that the presence of plants helps to reduce the number of sick days and helps employees view their workplace more positively.
5. Premium scenting
Creating a space that employees want to come back to is particularly important at the moment. While employees want the reassurance that offices and workspaces are being regularly and thoroughly cleaned, they may not necessarily want to spend time in an environment that smells like disinfectant. Installing an air purifying solution such as VIRUSKILLER™ in your workplace will give employees peace of mind and alleviate anxiety around indoor air quality, but why not go one step further and actually create an environment they actually look forward to visiting? Premium scenting can do just that.
Premium scenting harnesses the power of scent to enhance the mood of the occupants in the room, be it for the purpose of improving productivity or to give customers an experience that leaves your brand positively fixed in their memory as soon as they exit your doors.
We’re here to help you plan for whatever challenges come your way. To learn more about the office hygiene and wellness solutions we’ve discussed here, as well as additional ways to create smarter, healthier spaces, contact Ambius today.