RCP commissioned research report revealed that hand hygiene is now a top three priority for businesses. This is understandable when the safety of staff and customers is vital for a successful reopening.

The desire to reopen facilities, coupled with this new prioritisation, has led to a continuation of the “best of what’s available” approach. Businesses are focusing on right now, rather than the long-term picture.

“When it comes to appearance, 72% say they would not use sanitiser that looks unclean.”

The next six months, and beyond, will see a shift in public attitudes. Their assessment of a facility will change from simply the presence of sanitiser, to the quality of the sanitiser.

The presence of COVID-19 has not tailed off with the decline of lockdown. Not only do cases continue, but also, the need for hand sanitiser. Over the next six months businesses have an opportunity to install better, long term hand hygiene provisions that do their brand and facility justice. Better dispensers and better contents for those dispensers.

The need for hand hygiene provisions

For businesses to protect their customers, visitors and employees, it was important to find out what the public expected. Over the summer, RCP undertook a European Attitudes Towards Hand Hygiene Study. The aim was to determine the public’s hand hygiene views, behaviour and expectations. Armed with this information, facilities can meet the needs of staff, visitors and customers alike.

Initially, we asked about their expectations. What word would they use to describe a facility with no hand hygiene provisions?

Answers fell into two categories; perceptions of the facility and those that run it. In describing the facility, they used unsafe, unclean and dangerous. When labelling operators of the facility, they chose irresponsible, careless and cheap. There were very few positive responses and some that were unfit to print.

The respondents in this study show clear contempt for a lack of hand sanitiser. Within the facility they perceive risk. To the facility’s operators they ascribe disinterest in customer safety and stinginess.

These are not perceptions that any business wishes for its facilities. And they have a measurable impact on foot traffic. Over half of respondents would outright avoid facilities with no hand hygiene provisions.

Hand hygiene requirements

After expectations, we moved on to what types of hand sanitiser respondents preferred.

When it comes to dispensing, respondents overwhelmingly prefer touch-free dispensers (92%). This reflects a general understanding that touch is a potential pathway to infection. A touch-free dispenser allows optimal sanitation and minimal risk for users.

Typically, and perhaps linked to messaging from governing and healthcare bodies, 75% of people want the security of alcohol-based hand sanitiser, with the remainder preferring alcohol-free. Depending on the type of facility and the risk factors that need to be considered, facilities should consider the right approach for them.

We also asked respondents to tell us about how they expect provisions to appear.

The presentation and location of hand sanitiser matters to respondents. When it comes to appearance, 72% say they would not use sanitiser that looks unclean. Issues such as nozzle gunk and dirty containers reduce the likelihood that sanitiser will be used in a facility. There is also a risk that respondents who wouldn’t use a facility’s provisions, would consider this a lack of provisions and avoid the facility altogether.

Since the pandemic began in Europe, the primary location for hand hygiene provisions has been in entryways. In many facilities, where entrances and exits are the same location, this is ideal. Yet, the public expectation is for more. Over half of respondents indicated that they expect provisions throughout a facility.

Hand hygiene product solutions

Across the next six months, businesses hope to stabilise and incorporate COVID-19 as part of everyday operations. Staff, visitors and customers describe facilities without sanitiser in explicitly derogatory terms. They are avoiding unclean solutions, and facilities with no provisions.

The challenge for each facility is deploying a long-term hand hygiene program, basing it on health advice while meeting user expectations and commercial targets.

RCP offers a range of touch-free dispensers that reassure a facility’s customers meeting the standards set by the study. They provide a clean aesthetic that meets visual expectations and are non-touch minimising cross-contamination.

A system of sealed refills offers greater resistance to contamination. Refills are available in several options, including liquid or foam, sanitiser or soap. They have a variety of scents and are available with or without alcohol.

Dispensers also have multiple deployment options. A variety of sizing options means there is an appropriate dispenser for each area of your facility. Wall fixings provide a dedicated solution where hand hygiene is needed. Mobile stations allow dispensers to be deployed throughout your facility, something the public are looking for, even in more difficult spaces.

All RCP dispensers are designed for durability and are backed by a lifetime warranty. TOMORROW’S FM | 51

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