A few months ago, the mysterious virus causing pneumonia-like symptoms was heard for the first time in the history of mankind. Today, much of the world has come to a standstill. Over 4 billion people across the globe are maintaining some form of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts have said that the virus may never go away, even with the introduction of vaccines. But, the lockdown will not continue forever. It will be over one day and already countries have started relaxing lockdown rules, including in India. There will come a time (sooner than later) to rejoin work, but given the nature of the coronavirus, everything is going to be different. Offices and other public places will have to follow strict disinfectant guidelines to make it safe for everyone.
When at work, employees make use of their hands to open doors, write up a report, shake hands with a new client and so much more. These activities expose hands to harmful bacteria and germs, which result in productivity loss and a high rate of absenteeism. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world to take hand hygiene seriously, 80% of all common infections were transmitted by hands. The coronavirus simply got added to that ever-growing list and if you still do not take the hygiene of your hands seriously, it will be too late. While the first thought would be to wash hands using water and soap, these are not always available. The next best thing is an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The bottle of sanitizer can be carried in your pocket or kept on your office desk, and you can use it whenever you shake someone’s hand or have been working too long on your system. As a matter of fact, one of the disinfectant guidelines states that offices should place hand sanitization stations to promote a safe and healthy working environment.
Hand sanitizers must be a part of the workplace culture and environment because:
- Alcohol-based sanitizers are known to kill 99.9% germs
- Good hand hygiene promotes good health and reduces absenteeism among employees
- Employees who use hand sanitizer frequently have lower chances of getting sick
- Using a hand sanitizer for 30 seconds kills as much bacteria as washing hands for 2 minutes
When you are selecting hand sanitizer for the office or for your personal use, make sure that the alcohol content is above 60% and not more than 95%. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has more than 60% ethanol or greater than 70% isopropanol.
Important locations for keeping hand sanitizers at office:
Companies that encourage employees to regularly use hand sanitizer have healthier workers. Employees should be encouraged to use hand sanitizer at least 5 times a day. However, with the pandemic still going large and strong, it is suggested that one should use the sanitizer as frequently as possible, especially before and immediately after shaking someone’s hand. The only way that employees will make use of hand sanitizers frequently if it is easily accessible and within their sight. Here are a few key places at an office where hand sanitizers should be placed:
- Entry and exit points – Doorknobs are hotbeds for germs and bacteria. As per CBS News, a single germ-filled door handle can infect half the office within a few hours. So, if a hand sanitization station can be set up near all the entrances and exits, whoever walks through the door is likely to sanitize their hands immediately. This will prevent the spread of infection.
- Desk of every employee – You might think that you have the cleanest hands in the entire office, but germs and bacteria could be crawling all over your desk. It could be that someone else was on your desk, using your computer, mouse and phone. Whatever be the reason, desks are not always the cleanest of places, but to continue working and keeping yourself safe, it is advised that you use a hand sanitizer. Keep one at your desk so that you can use it frequently.
- Cafeterias –Food shouldn’t be consumed with germ-ridden hands. This is why hand sanitizers must be easily available in cafeterias, food rooms or any place in the office where food is consumed. The kitchen and the breakroom is considered to be the most germ-filled place in an office. Even though hand sanitizer is not a replacement to washing hands with soap or water, it can help prevent the spread of diseases when water and soap are not easily available.
- Conference or meeting room – Conference or meeting rooms are generally packed with employees and also other visitors. There is a lot of shaking hands and lot of spit flying when excited employees are giving presentation to impress a new client. There may also be a lot of banging on the table when conversations get heated. This is why one must safeguard their hands from germs and make generous use of sanitizer.
- Outside the bathroom – Inside the bathroom, you can water and soap. You can use that to clean your hands. But, do you think everybody cleans their hands properly? Sadly, not! This is why a bottle of hand sanitizer kept outside the bathroom is a good backup and it helps in making double sure that the employee leaving the bathroom has germ-free hands.
To conclude, you don’t want to fall sick and you don’t want your employees to fall sick. A healthy workforce is crucial for taking the success of your business to the next level. A bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer can do wonders when it comes to fighting germs and it can keep the workplace clean and healthy. So, start working on getting bulk sanitizers and setting up a sanitization station before employees start coming back.