For the first time in months, some restaurants, bars, shops and hairdressers are reopening their doors. Lockdowns are easing in parts of the world, but SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) continues to have a significant impact on businesses and serious implications for people’s health and wellbeing.
The safety of employees should be the top priority for any business looking to re-open. While most organisations already have policies in place that support and protect their staff, the pandemic has ensured these are rewritten, underlined, circled and highlighted in thick, luminous marker pen, with ‘incredibly important’ rubber-stamped on top.
More so than ever, employees are hungry for information. They expect to be involved in decisions concerning their wellness and are a lot savvier when it comes to hygiene and safety. They want reassurance that it’s safe to return to work and that their employers are managing health and safety concerns in the correct manner.
Faced by so much pressure to get it right, what can businesses do to maintain a safe work environment for employees and customers?
Respect social distancing
Social distancing – staying away from other people – is a health measure introduced to reduce the spread of infection. For the last few months, many workplaces have been sitting empty. As restrictions ease and employees start returning to their jobs, the workplace environment will suddenly feel like an unfamiliar place.
Open-plan offices will be challenged, hot-desking abandoned, with all kinds of tape, from masking to electrical, instructing employees where they can and cannot be, what they can and cannot touch. Face-to-face meetings will be a thing of the past, staggered working hours will keep numbers in the workplace to a minimum and office kitchens will no longer be the go-to venue for gossip or food.
There’s a reason behind all this, of course. If people stay far enough away from each other it’s more difficult for the disease to spread from person to person. In a poll carried out by Rentokil Initial during the lockdown period, 80 percent of respondents expected to continue following social distancing guidelines when returning to work.
Ensure a high level of hygiene
Researchers at the University of Bristol in England assessed the airborne survival of bacteria in droplets from coughs and sneezes. They determined the average sneeze or cough can send around 100,000 contagious germs into the air at speeds up to 100 miles per hour.
Contaminated hands, meanwhile, can transfer viruses to fourteen other surfaces¹ and, every minute, a working adult might touch as many as thirty objects that may be contaminated by bacteria or viruses, causing infectious disease². With coronavirus able to live on surfaces, such as plastic (72 hours), stainless steel (48 hours) and cardboard (24 hours) ³, stopping the journey of the germ by reducing cross-contamination is crucial.
Our disinfection services sanitise touchpoints, surfaces, equipment and floors with solutions that can kill up to 99.99% of bacteria and viruses.We have a range of sprays and surface wipes that can kill pathogens and provide up to 24-hour protection.
Rentokil Initial’s poll revealed that 88% of respondents were concerned about the risk of the virus spreading via door handles in the workplace. HygienicTouch door handles use silver ion technology to kill 99.99% of bacteria, deposited on the handle’s surface by people’s hands.
Our serviced floor mats capture up to 80% of the microorganisms before they’re spread through the building.
Provide hand hygiene solutions
How many times has someone told you to wash your hands recently? It’s one of the easiest and effective ways to protect yourself, your staff and your customers. While the song a person sings when they’re washing their hands might change from one person to the next, the responsibility for clean hands doesn’t just sit with the individual. Satisfactory washroom conditions and educating people about efficient hand hygiene plays an important part too.
It’s been proven that cleaner, more hygienic facilities encourage better habits amongst staff, and that’s precisely why employers need to think about investing in them. Our innovative hand washing and hand hygiene solutions will minimise the risk of cross-infection.
- No-touch soap dispensers reduce the chance of picking up pathogens and our antibacterial soap can kill 99.99% of bacteria.
- Drying hands properly can reduce bacterial transmission by up to 99%. With paper towel and no-touch paper-roll dispensers available, our range of solutions covers any business needs.
- Hand sanitisers are a great way at stopping germs from spreading. Our formulation is proven to be 99.99% effective against viruses.
Ensure a disinfection programme is in place
With lockdowns easing and businesses beginning to reopen, the concerns of a second wave of infections is understandable. Until we have a vaccine, these fears are unlikely to disappear completely, and that’s why a protocol should be in place as an emergency response to confirmed cases of COVID-19.
If an infected person has been on site, it’s important that you decontaminate as a precautionary measure. Our professional disinfection service teams use the highest level of PPE and comply with safety regulations at all times.
Using a surface disinfectant that can protect from contamination for 24 hours, our highly trained technicians clean all the key touchpoints and surfaces in the building. For rapid disinfection of larger areas, they use ultra-low volume (ULV) disinfection fogging, reaching areas that may be difficult to access using manual cleaning methods.
Any business that requires the use of vehicles will also need to ensure their people and those that depend on their services are protected. Our transport disinfection services, such as touchpoint cleaning, internal fogging and spray and wipe down, have been designed to reduce cross-contamination and reassure staff, customers and visitors that your vehicles have the highest standards of hygiene in place.
Reduce the risk of contamination
With lockdown leaving buildings empty for some time, businesses are also under threat from things that don’t need a reasonable excuse to contravene regulations – pests.
Coronavirus is not spread by pests, but, while the world has been on lockdown, pests haven’t. Pests transmit a large number of diseases and can cause extensive damage to buildings. The usual suspects include rodents, cockroaches, flies and birds.
Safer, healthier and more hygienic: the new world
Rentokil Initial can help your business adjust to the ‘new normal’ and keep your employees and customers safe. We have solutions and services that help mitigate risk, maintain high hygiene standards to reduce germ transmission, eliminate any pest issues and ensure your premises remain pest-free.
What are you waiting for? Get in touch and we’ll send in the experts to survey your building at an appropriate time – following necessary social distance guidelines – to provide recommendations on how to keep your business protected and arrange safeguards for the future.
- Transmission of viruses via contact in a household setting: experiments using bacteriophage strain phiXI174 as a model virus. Journal of Hospital Infection 2000
- Dr. Charles Gerba, University of Arizona
- The New England Journal of Medicine, 2020