Over the past year, workplaces have had to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic in new ways. Whether companies stayed in office, or had their employees working remotely, the switch back to working in office is coming soon, if it hasn't already. On a daily basis, employees use their hands to write reports, open doors, and shake hands when meeting a new client, and all of these activities expose hands to harmful germs and bacteria.
North Americans spend more time Monday through Friday in the workplace than they do in their own homes. Additionally, around 90% of employees will come to work when they are sick, therefor increasing the risk of spreading harmful germs.
Considering that 80% of all infections are transmitted by hands, it is crucial to implement effective hand hygiene at work.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hand sanitizer is one of the best resources to avoid sickness and germ spreading. By placing hand sanitizer in strategic locations throughout the workplace and other high traffic areas, you can encourage employees to improve their hand hygiene and make the workplace a more safe and healthier working environment.
Key locations to place hand sanitizer
Entrances & Exits
Door handles are a hotspot for germ activity, so it’s wise to place sanitizer at the main entrance and exit doorways to your building, as well as indoor high traffic doorways such as the entrance to restrooms, and shared meeting rooms.
Having people gather from around your building or even from another company, meeting rooms are a high-risk environment when it comes to spreading germs. Place a hand sanitizer station outside the door or on the table for a germ free meeting.
Break rooms and designated eating locations
Hand hygiene is essential where food is prepared or consumed. Shared kitchen facilities and break rooms are shown to be some of the most germ-ridden places in any workplace. It's important not only to keep your hands clean, but also keep a clean space to minimize the risk of illness.
Desks, phones, and computer accessories are key germ transfer points because people touch them so often. Considering that employees spend the majority of their day at their desks where they also eat, drink, cough and sneeze, placing individual hand sanitizers at desks keeps hand hygiene within reach.
Elevators and touchscreens
Elevator buttons and touch screens provide lots of spots for germs to hide, even when they are cleaned regularly. Placing sanitizer on a stand right next to these facilities reduces the likelihood of contamination in the first place.
Choosing the right hand sanitizer
While providing hand sanitizer at key locations throughout the workplace, it is essential to provide the right type of sanitizer. Make sure to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. The higher alcohol percentage will usually translate into higher effectiveness. It’s also best to use sanitizers that contain moisturizing elements to prevent skin dryness, and that are unscented or lightly scented to reduce potential allergic reactions and skin irritations.