The COVID-19 pandemic has completely transformed the way that we view hygiene, cleaning and safety in our everyday lives, both in private spaces and public. The demand for new solutions and products that promote easy and efficient hygiene and make social distancing feel more natural, is on the rise, and will only increase as we slowly move out of the ongoing crisis and return to our, though significantly changed, ‘normal’ lives.
Across the world, we have changed tact with each new health development and piece of safety advice, working hard to incorporate these changes into our daily lives in the least disruptive way possible; fashion face masks and hand-sanitiser lanyards for easy access, are key examples.
But as we, with cautious hope, begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is worth questioning whether these practises are here to stay; crucially, whether the pandemic has indeed changed our way of thinking in terms of hygiene and safety in every aspect of daily life.
Inevitably, there will be marked ‘danger zones’ as our social interactions in public increase, people return to their offices and public transport usage swells, and it will be more important than ever that the vigilant cleanliness practices we are seeing now remain of the utmost importance to all of us; employers, workers, customers, friends. In our homes, in the workplace, in the supermarket, in restaurants, in airports, our pre-pandemic cleaning routines will no longer be sufficient to guarantee the safety, or the trust and confidence, of others.
In terms of personal hygiene, the use of hand-sanitiser, face masks in public places indoors and two metre social distancing in queues and public places are practices that are unlikely to disappear quickly, not least because they have been so engrained into our lives and are now simply second nature. It would seem odd, even dangerous, to suddenly stop these practices that we have been reassured are the easiest way of keeping healthy for so many months.
The practice of staying at home from work or school when you are unwell, even with a simple cold, will also likely continue as a normal practice, protecting others from illness. With all of us so rehearsed at home-working, normal working practice will hardly be disrupted if employees can easily continue their work when not in the office.
As well as personal hygiene, heightened standards of cleanliness for businesses will be crucial for their survival in the post-pandemic world. Industries will need to prove an impressive and thorough cleaning strategy, involving more regular and more thorough cleaning routines across every aspect of their business.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, public awareness of hygiene practices has been, inevitably, raised, meaning that businesses will need to be very public about the actions that are taking for the safety of their employees and customers, in order to ensure their trust.
TFL, for example, have already begun advertising their use of hospital-grade anti-viral disinfectant across all of their network several times a day. For many industries, this new regime will include the employment of newly-developed technology to assist the efficiency and quality of cleaning, and to ensure the trust of their employees and customers.
In high footfall areas the use of UVC systems is becoming increasing popular, for large-scale, rapid disinfecting. We are likely to see this kind of technology in airports and train stations, where the close contact between passengers, equipment, and staff is unavoidable. Frequent touchpoints such as handrails, check-in counters, luggage trays, public seating areas and payment terminals will all require additional measures to ensure their safety. For example, the world leader in airport security, NUCTECH have produced a a UV-C Tray Disinfection Module, that has been in use in China since March 2020. The module is specially designed to clean luggage trays at airport security checkpoints and can eliminate 99.9% of viruses and bacteria automatically. You can read more about NUCTECH’s new technology here.
The development of technology such as this is a prime example of a safe, fast and cost-effective way of keeping passengers and staff safe, and, crucially, reinforces the confidence of passengers as they travel.
It is this public confidence that will be the key to survival across the board in this looming post-pandemic world.