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Seven ways to encourage better occupier hygiene

22 May 2020

Businesses are gearing up to reopen after the Government released its first details on how the UK would emerge from the lockdown.

Construction and manufacturing businesses are already operating again, while other businesses are on standby to reopen from 1 July, should it be safe to do so.

As part of the reopening of the economy, the Government has also shared guidance on workplace cleanliness and hygiene. Strict programmes will need to be implemented to ensure that workplaces are safe. Building occupiers will also need to be educated and communicated with to make sure they adhere to the new rules. 

Here are seven ideas for encouraging better occupier hygiene.

‘Wash your hands’ signs should be installed all around a building, and be bigger and bolder than usual so they cannot be missed. When it comes to such a fundamental aspect of hygiene, there’s no such thing has having too many visual reminders. Consider regularly changing any signage so it doesn’t become like wallpaper and be ignored. 

Another visual cue are labels, which are a great way to identify high-risk areas such as door handles, stairway rails and light switches. They can act as a prompt for building users to wash their hands after being in a high-risk area, and remind cleaning teams that a deep clean is required at those points.

Install hand sanitation stations
Installing hand sanitation stations throughout the workplace, and especially near high-risk areas, will make it easy for people to stay hygienic and reduce the strain on bathroom hygiene facilities. The risk of contamination can be reduced dramatically by conveniently placed sanitation stations.

Tape and labels on floor
Visual cues are always the most impactful when trying to encourage and reinforce a new behaviour. Putting tape down and labels at 2m intervals in higher footfall areas, such as checkouts and communal areas, will make it easy for people to socially distance. Supermarkets have already implemented this so building users may even expect it in their workplace.

Create one-way systems
It might not be possible to implement in every part of a building, but it’s worth creating a one-way system where possible. Extra entrances and exits can also be opened in a building to help. Anything that reduces the frequency of people coming into close contact is worth doing.

Designate staff to certain equipment and tasks
Limit multiple people coming into contact with the same equipment to reduce the risk of contamination. For example, one person could be designated to manage the printer whenever necessary. If possible, identify equipment which is never or very rarely used and remove it completely. Motion-sensor lights can be installed to avoid the need for light switches, but if not then designate one member of staff to touch switches.

Regular comms
Clear and regular communication is a must to maintaining excellent workplace hygiene. Hold regular staff meetings to remind everyone of good hygiene practices and the roles they all have to play. Where necessary, train staff on how to deal with customers, particularly in situations where a customer may not want to adhere to the rules in place. Use social media and emails to explain to customers how and why you are keeping high hygiene standards in your building. Take the approach that it’s better to over communicate than not enough – the situation we’re in demands it.

These steps should provide a strong foundation to excellent workplace hygiene. For more ideas and support, visit https://www.sitemark.co.uk/resources/