Hygiene services post-COVID-19

27 April 2020

Post-COVID-19, the hygiene services market will change as end-users start to become aware of how businesses support their environments. Oliver Johnson, managing director, Zenith Washroom Solutions, explains how the industry needs to work to address their concerns in a clear and concise manner.

Many moons ago, at school, one of our teachers would set a 100 question general knowledge test over the summer. We would have all the questions which we would need to research ourselves and, once we had compiled this knowledge, we would need to commit it to memory. The top three would get book tokens and we all returned with our brains switched on again.

There is one question that always sticks in my mind - to name where we would see a specific brand in school (hint: famous multinational hygiene services brand with a female name). Curiously, many of the 200 children at the school did not know where they would find it, even though they were face to face with this name each day.

This is an interesting point to ponder right now. Our customers know our names and brands, it is their job.

What of the end users? How aware are they of our role in their day-to-day hygiene? Even when we brand, how much do they care to notice?

Brand recognition will change

These end users only know a tiny number of our businesses by name. Really, it is only the huge multinational brands that have wide recognition.

This is all about to change.

Right now our end users are debating their hygiene on a moment-to-moment basis. They are becoming educated and aware of us. They will emerge with a new set of needs which we, as an industry, have been supporting silently for decades. Now they will need to know what we are doing. In short, our world is about to become more competitive than ever.

One of the most recognised items for our end-users is the cleaning checklist stationed near the exit in many facilities. It would be prudent to push to brand these and move towards a strict set of guidelines.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has already issued its instructions for effective hygiene in the workplace in a post-COVID-19 world:

  • Ventilate the area well with fresh air for a minimum of one hour
  • Clean thoroughly with a neutral detergent
  • Decontaminate surfaces using a disinfectant effective against viruses
  • They urge a specific focus on key touch points including: door-knobs, armrests, lift buttons, handrails, switches, taps, pads, desks, mice and keyboards
  • Further to this, for spaces with both public users and employees, they recommend using two sets of cleaning materials for 'mixed” environments and “employee only” environments
  • Clean all washrooms with disinfectant effective against viruses, such as .1% sodium hypochlorite or other viricidal products
  • Staff removing PPE should take great care to clean themselves thoroughly before redressing in non-PPE clothing stored separate and isolated.

Enhancing air cleanliness

One of the key suggestions is to enhance air cleanliness in high traffic environments. An easy way to realise this solution is to employ ultraviolet technology. UV kills up to 99.99% of airborne viruses and, through this, a reduction in surface-borne viruses too. 

Along with viruses, these systems also reduce bacteria resulting in naturally cleaner smelling environments and reduced mould issues. This allows for reduced cleaning and maintenance windows, resulting in a low whole life cost. These cost savings can be realised in ducting, extraction, ice creation and in standalone system too.

With such technology installed in an environment we need to utilise clear, branded, messaging to support our customers own cleaning messages. These messages pass knowledge down to the end user, increasing their confidence in these environments.

Co-branded checklists allow us to demonstrate increased diligence in providing a virus free environment. This supports our customers and enables their end users to associate our names with the highest levels of hygiene.

Now is the time to capitalise on the increased awareness in environmental hygiene. This can be achieved by offering point of use information in a simple, accessible, manner. Zenith Washrooms is ready to support its customers in implementing a new, customer focussed, set of hygiene messages. This will help them restart their businesses quickly and confidently in our post-COVID-19 world.