Why we need to embrace health technology in the workplace


By Graham Mimms, Co – founder of Safe Surface Sensor

Coronavirus has immeasurably reshaped the way we interact with the world. Whether that be with friends, colleagues, or day to day services, as a society we have become increasingly conscious of the need to maintain rigorous hygiene standards if we are to avoid viruses such as Covid-19 tearing through society.

A preoccupation with counteracting the spread of covid-19 means that businesses need to find ways to ensure their staff feel safe. With testing programmes underway to ensure employee safety, businesses also need to start to look at hygiene technology.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the NHS proved just how quickly technology can be embraced when faced with an emergency. In the UK online medical consultations rose from just 2% in early March to 80% in April, with nearly 9 in 10 GP prescriptions also being issued electronically. As the burden on the health service gradually eases, the business sector now needs to look at how they can use innovative technology to prevent another health crisis.

Workplaces have never been an outstanding example of hygienic practises, with a 2012 study from New York finding that there were 500 forms of bacteria in the average office environment. Before covid-19 this was not considered an issue, but in a pandemic ridden world, inadequate hygiene will not suffice.  

The way in which the NHS embraced digital services was admirable and it should be used as an example for the office spaces. Embracing health technology will demonstrates a company’s commitment to keeping Covid safe and help tackle the current dearth of staff confidence in office hygiene protocols.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, attitudes have drastically changed regarding the effectiveness of cleaning. Reports suggest that half of employees do not believe that the usual day to day cleaning practices provide adequate protection from viruses, underlying the reassurance required by the public before they begin using offices, theatres, and public transport in the same way they once would have done.

The biggest issue lies with the government not offering a standard protocol as there needs to be a blanket approach for the level of hygiene. This is particularly true for offices, as staff need to feel comfortable that their environment is safe and that their employer is taking necessary steps to reduce the risk of transmission.  

The UK’s undisputed success in rolling out the vaccine, alongside a proficient testing regime has meant that our public health response has been somewhat pigeonholed. A return to the days of “hands, face, space” might see further spikes in consumer confidence when accessing services, however, the defining attribute of businesses which thrive post-pandemic, will be those who are able to demonstrate their covid-compliance.

This means we need to turn to hygiene tech, that is innovative and has the ability to provide the public with confidence that not only their office is safe but also that’s bars, theatres, planes or trains they may be using are all adequately disinfected.

One such solution is Safe Surface Sensor. Using “bio-sensing technology”, sensors are placed on a surfaces in public areas where the transmission of Covid-19 may occur before being sanitised. The area is then sprayed using a fogging system, which disperses a fine mist which is then left to evaporate, killing viruses in the air and on surfaces. The sensors detect whether the area has been adequately disinfected and results are uploaded to a central database.

With hygiene technology like this, the control is put back in the hands of staff members, who can then make an informed decision as to whether they want to enter a given workspace. The impact that this could have on employee confidence is self-evident, and we would urge the government and companies across the private sector to seriously consider the adoption of such technology.

As a nation, we are entering a new phase in the fight against covid-19 – one that is underpinned by the need to ensure that the economy can bounce back as quickly as possible. The reopening of offices and the removal of the ‘work from home recommendation’ is essential here, particularly if we are going to provide another boost to surrounding restaurants and shops. Yet this will only happen once individuals feel comfortable that they are in variably safe and covid-free surroundings and here, hygiene technology is essential.



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