It was a great reputational outcome for TfL. And for us, because we carry out electrostatic spraying of 75% of London buses.

Our experience tells me the reassurance provided by effective disinfection cleaning could prove essential to persuading people to return to offices and other high functioning workplaces in 2021.

Many people place huge hopes on vaccines. But their true effectiveness is not yet clear. Others will refuse to be vaccinated. It could be a year before full benefits begin to be realised.

New attitudes to hygiene The pandemic has also changed our attitudes to hygiene, probably for good. Matt Hancock’s vision for preventing illness adds weight to my conviction.

Employees, customers and the public in general will demand cleaner, more hygienic spaces. A pivot towards mass testing for contagious illness will only embed that trend.

“Employees, customers and the public in general will demand

cleaner, more hygienic spaces. A pivot towards mass testing for

contagious illness will only embed that trend.”

The testing system could identify individuals at risk and infection hotspots. A key response is very likely to be specialist disinfection, a process that reassures staff, customers and wider stakeholders.

This new approach will have to operate in tandem with other changes to everyday practice, also triggered by COVID-19. One is our approach to hygiene and cleaning.

As a national emergency soft FM service provider, SafeGroup has been at the forefront of the frontline in the fight against COVID-19 through cleaning and disinfection.

From the moment the pandemic started, our teams have been helping airports, hospitals, schools, public transport providers and many other organisations, public and private, stay operational.

We can use electrostatic disinfection sprays, ozone treatment and ultraviolet systems to quickly and effectively decontaminate spaces. Then keep them safe through on-going treatment.

The benefit of COVID-19 cleaning was demonstrated when Channel 4’s Dispatches tested trains and buses for COVID-19 and found no traces. It praised Transport for London’s decontamination programme.

The current test and trace system is already driving this process. Before COVID-19, people struggled on at work or recovered in secret at home. Test and trace has changed that dynamic.

Combining testing systems with mobile working apps could take this a step further. It will be possible to track how infection spreads through work and public spaces and devise appropriate cleaning and social distancing counter-measures in real-time.

We are already talking to a leading asset tracking and social distancing app developer about how we can incorporate such an approach in more responsive delivery of disinfection cleaning.

There will no doubt be pushback against the health secretary’s vision. Personal freedoms and best use of resources will come into play.

But we, as a business, are ready to talk to anyone about how our expertise can help develop new ideas in infection control. More effective, smarter and better targeted disinfection cleaning is here to stay. TOMORROW’S FM | 41

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