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By Dr. Lisa Ackerley
After two years of remote and hybrid working, many Americans are eager to return to offices – but germ concern remains widespread, and employees want their employers to enable a “safe” return to work.
A March 2022 survey commissioned by Reckitt’s Lysol Pro Solutions and conducted by Suzy™¹ found that 77% of American office workers currently feel positive about going into the communal workplace. However, employees expressed heightened concern over the spread of illness-causing germs, with only 32% rating their company’s health and safety measures as excellent.²
The survey underscores the importance of an effective and well-enforced office hygiene program to help protect and inspire confidence among employees.
If you are an employer or facilities manager, what steps can you take to prepare your office to welcome back employees safely?
Continue to prioritize protection against germs
The office environment, where groups of people share spaces, can be a major source of bacterial and viral transmission. Understanding where and when to direct cleaning and disinfection measures is critical.
Germs typically spread via hands to and from surfaces such as keyboards and work surfaces, particularly when people are hot-desking. In addition, offices contain many other shared items and surfaces such as door handles, bannisters, photocopiers, meeting room tables, kitchen surfaces, and equipment.
Disinfection is key to helping break the chain of germ transmission via surfaces – and it must be combined with good hand hygiene and actively encouraging employees to stay home when sick. But worryingly, the survey revealed 29% of office workers experienced pressure from their management to come into the office while sick during the pandemic.¹ Nearly half (47%) even admit to knowingly not following their office hygiene protocols.¹
A comprehensive plan that includes empowering your employees
Employers need a robust cleaning and disinfection regimen that is both backed by comprehensive protocols and engages employees to participate in the office hygiene experience.
The survey found that 58% want their employer to provide them with disinfectant sprays and wipes.¹ However, only 40% said their employer is providing or planning to provide disinfecting solutions.¹
Employees want to play a role in disinfection and are looking for solutions to help protect themselves and their co-workers in the office, including the necessary products and education.
Partnering with specialists
Employers and facilities managers can turn to experts such as Lysol Pro Solutions to help protect employees in the office. Lysol Pro Solutions has drawn on its deep understanding of how people move and interact within a space – with a focus on high tough, high traffic areas within those spaces – to design solutions to help protect people outside of the home.
Through its heritage and legacy of research and development, Lysol Pro Solutions has successfully deployed its solutions across industries. Drawing on science-based targeted hygiene, which helps determine where, when, and how germs spread, Lysol Pro Solutions recommends the appropriate products and protocols to create protected spaces.
Employers and employees alike want to return to offices, and employees are turning to businesses to help protect them as much as possible. A comprehensive program which reinforces enhanced disinfection measures and employee-empowered hygiene not only helps protect the business, but also puts in place a culture of care at the office.
¹ Survey conducted by Suzy™ in March 2022 and commissioned by Lysol Pro Solutions. It received 954 responses from office workers across the US with an equal male/female split.
² Based on respondents that selected top 1 box: Excellent
Dr. Lisa Ackerley is Director, Medical and Scientific Engagement, Hygiene at Lysol Pro Solutions.