Most of us wouldn’t have comprehended terms like ‘social distancing’ or ‘flattening the curve’ 18 months ago, and the concept of wearing face masks in public – or being unable to even go out in public – would have seemed ridiculous. However, fast forward to early 2021 and beyond, and these things have become part of the fabric of all our lives.
So much so that, looking back on old news reports or our favourite family films, featuring large crowds of people mixing, it seems almost unbelievable now that it was normal to take no precautions whatsoever in such situations.
While the restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and save lives were undoubtedly significant, they also reflected the kind of hygiene best practice we, at Elliott’s, have been championing for years.
We’ve always worked hard to bring home to owners and managers of businesses, offices and hospitality venues the importance of good hygiene. Because we understand what a dramatic difference basic good practice and personal hygiene guidelines for employees can make to costly staff absences resulting in lost productivity.
While COVID-19 has brought many fresh problems and continued uncertainty, it has also brought some important reminders that outstanding hygiene and cleanliness are always a good idea, pandemic or not. We take a look at some of the key takeaways from the experiences of the past 18 months, and our suggestions for turning these to your ongoing advantage.
Hand hygiene is possibly the most important lesson of them all, and reminders about regular and effective handwashing formed the centrepiece of most countries’ advisories to help prevent COVID’s spread. It’s such a straightforward step every individual can do, and has potentially the most impact on how much all manner of transmissable illnesses can spread.
So, we’d advise anyone who owns any kind of business or organisation to continue to hammer home this message to their staff and customers – and, importantly, to continue making the facilities available for people to keep their hands sparkling clean.
As we’re all now familiar with hearing, handwashing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or using a minimum of 60 per cent alcohol-based hand sanitisers when soap and water are not available, is the first line of defence against infection. In fact, GP surveillance data has shown that increased handwashing over the past 18 months has reduced cases of everything from the common cold, to the flu and other respiratory disorders. In August 2020, it was shown that there were only 5.7 cases of common cold per 100 000 people, so promoting handwashing within your organisation is a definite no-brainer.
Right chemicals for the job
The next positive change we can take forward into the post-COVID world is the chemicals we use to clean. It’s important to ensure they are certified as protecting against COVID-19 and other viruses, as well as typical germs and bacteria, to ensure you protect everyone involved with your organisation, 100 per cent. At Elliott’s, we put our many years of experience and established supply chains to good use to adapt as the pandemic unfolded, and ensure we provided our customers with European standards-compliant antiviral cleaning products, tested to EN14476 and EN1276 standards; as well as high-strength virucidal chemicals.
And we believe such products are here to stay, with more waves of COVID-19 likely, and the potential for other viruses to emerge in the future, too.
Ace of space
COVID-19 has also forced us all to rethink the flow of people around our premises, and the amount of space and fresh air we create around each person. Many hospitality venues, in particular, have found ingenious new ways of creating additional areas to enable their customers to spread out more – such as making additional seating available outside where possible. Although, with restrictions now lifted in the UK, it’s no longer the law that restaurants and cafes seat customers two metres apart, we’d urge venues to continue utilising all of their additional space.
That’s because, COVID aside, giving people more space to spread out, and the choice of indoor or outdoor seating, helps to ensure a more pleasant customer experience. And it makes business sense too – with recent research by the Simons Advisory Group suggesting that adding outdoor seating areas can increase a restaurant’s total revenue by up to 30 per cent. No wonder, then, that the McKinsey research group has also predicted that this blended service will represent the ‘next normal’ for outlets going forward.
The overarching lesson the last 18 months has taught us is that we must think clean and continue to use our common sense to keep everyone safe and maintain business continuity. We must be proactive, rather than reactive, and go above and beyond ticking a box when it comes to cleanliness.
Would you like some expert help with perfecting your hygiene management plan? Call us on 01482 327580 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, no-obligation chat.