Written by: Sarah Haley
It’s no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way consumers shop and the way that businesses sell.
The world has changed dramatically since the start of COVID-19 and as things start going back to the way they were pre-pandemic, businesses and consumers will have to adapt once again.
Over the past year, companies and stores have had to adapt to regulations put forth by governments and public health officials as they reopened for business. Consumers have adjusted to mask regulations, plastic barriers, and continuous application of hand sanitizers.
The fear associated with becoming sick from COVID-19 will fade away over time, but the risk of getting sick from other germs won’t.
Carey Jaros, the CEO of Purell parent Gojo Industries said to CNBC in an interview that after the COVID-19 pandemic era, there will be a “new normal” defined by trusted brands and “visible hygiene”. Jaros then went on to define “visible hygiene” as “sanitizer dispensers really in sight anywhere that customers can see them.”
The new trend of sanitation and hand hygiene is one that needs to stay. Not only does good hand hygiene prevent the transmission of viruses and bacteria, but it also helps people feel safe.
In their tips for protecting employee health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the placement of hand sanitizer dispensers near commonly touched surfaces as an alternative if soap and water cannot be readily available. The CDC also recommends that the sanitizer being used contains at least 60% alcohol to ensure proper sanitation.
Properly protecting customers and employees by providing additional sanitation stations will continue to be important in a post-pandemic world. It’s critical now more than ever for businesses to continue promoting good hand hygiene.
Listed here are the top six reasons why encouraging good hand hygiene long-term is good for business.
1. Good hand hygiene helps to eliminate fear
The past year has resulted in consumers becoming concerned about how global health and economies will be impacted long-term from COVID-19. Not only has there been an increase in the prevalence of mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, but also in feelings of worry and fear.
Results from a survey completed by Accenture showed that 82% of consumers are fearful for the health of others, and 64% of consumers are fearful for their own health. Fear cannot be erased automatically, and the upkeep of hand hygiene will help ease fearful people back to normality.
By providing hand sanitizer to customers and clients, you are giving them an extra safety blanket. For those who are scared, it will help them feel more protected and welcomed which will promote positive emotions and make them more inclined to revisit.
2. Good hand hygiene will reduce sick days
A 13-month study performed in Germany looked at the effects of alcohol-based hand disinfectants in the workplace. It was observed that regular application of hand sanitizer seemed to reduce the number of cases of fever and the common cold. This decline in illness caused a reduction in the number of sick days workers took.1
Although having soap and water readily available is the preferred method of hand washing, hand sanitizer is an effective alternative to help reduce the number of sick days employees take.
3. Good hand hygiene keeps people safe and builds trust
It is human nature to feel more comfortable in a safe environment. A Deloitte Digital article, Safety and cleanliness – make it or break it highlights the importance of safety to build trust with customers and employees.
People need to feel reassured that they are in a safe space in order to gain trust and comfortability. The times have changed. The new normal requires extra safety measures to be taken so that staff, customers, friends, and family always feel happy and welcome at all times.
4. Good hand hygiene prevents the spread of germs and disease
It’s easy for germs to spread from one individual to another. Maintaining proper hand hygiene is one of the top ways to prevent employees from getting sick. It also helps to prevent the transfer of microbes to other people and surfaces in the workplace.
The CDC’s website highlights just how critical handwashing is to prevent the transfer of disease within communities. Handwashing helps to reduce respiratory illnesses such as influenza (flu) and colds by 21% and helps to reduce the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 31%. Additionally, good handwashing reduces diarrheal illness by 58% in individuals with weakened immune systems.2
5. Good hand hygiene gives your business a good reputation
In today’s world, it’s important for businesses and brands to have a good image. Consumers have had to deal with various changes in their lives as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Not only do they want to support more local businesses, but they want to support brands that correspond with their beliefs.
Data collected from a Deloitte survey revealed that 39% of consumers will purchase more from brands that responded well to the crisis. Customers want to purchase from stores that match their own morals and make them feel protected.
6. Good hand hygiene stimulates feelings of respect and happiness
When an employee feels respected in their work environment, they are happier.
Happy employees benefit the company in multiple different ways. Not only do happy employees give your business a good image, but they’ll also be more likely to stay longer with the company. Reduced employee turnover rates look good on paper, but they also look good in the eyes of your consumers.
Satisfied employees will have increased productivity, which results in satisfied customers. This is why it’s so vital to respect your employees and keep them happy. They are a direct reflection of how your clients will feel.