Over the past 18 months we’ve all become increasingly aware of how easily germs can be passed from one person to another. Whether it’s covid, a greek labeled variant, influenza, or just a common cold, some of these will make headlines around the globe while others just make you miserable. Being exposed to any of these infectious diseases could make you miss school or work.
A few years ago, no one would have thought twice about grabbing a shopping cart or shaking someone’s hand. Now people are heavily conscious of germs, shopping carts are being sanitized by a team before shoppers even touch them, masks and gloves are common items to have on hand in purses and pockets, and handshakes have fallen out of favor with the repeated mantra of social distancing and 6 feet apart.
There’s been a heightened focus on frequent hand washing and it’s now uncommon to see restrooms that don’t have motion activated toilets, sinks, soap dispensers, dryers and paper towel dispensers to reduce touching anything with your hands. Now the focal point has shifted from having clean hands to the areas we touch after they’ve been cleaned.
As many areas in our country are preparing to reopen or already have, there is one big question that universities, businesses, schools, and facility managers are pondering: How can we prevent or reduce the spread of any viruses whether now or even in the future?
During the beginning of the pandemic our awareness of touch points grew by epic proportions. The sheer amount of things we touched just to enter a building and get to our office was overwhelming, not to mention the common touch points for hundreds of people entering and exiting. Just stop and visualize everything you touch walking to your office; the door handle to enter, the light switch if you’re the first one there, maybe you stop by the breakroom to put your lunch in the fridge, or grab a coffee from the coffee machine, you open your office door, touch your desk, open your laptop, or even start typing on a keyboard…the list goes on and on.
Everyday, these touch points collect their fair share of microorganisms. However, when someone is infected with a virus, these seemingly harmless touch points become a source of infection and transmission.
Although there are plenty of commonly touched areas, The most common touch point to enter any building is the door handle. As people enter and exit a business the door may be touched hundreds or thousands of times in a week. If someone with germs or a virus on their hands touches that door, that means those hundreds or thousands of touches become possible infections or simply a hot spot for spreading germs.
Reducing touchpoints has been a media hot topic especially with schools getting back to normal and offices slowly coming back to life with in person returns. Bringing large amounts of people into a shared space carries some risks and it is imperative that you help your customers and your Team stay healthy!
This can be a perplexing problem for a business that depends on customers entering and exiting their building to buy their products, or even a property owner whose tenants are needing access in and out of a building. We need to help bridge the gap so our customers and clients feel safe when they get back to business as usual.
By removing frequently touched items, you can help your team reduce the amount of pathogens in the environment and reduce the chance of passing a virus around your Facility or business.
Touchless environments used to be something out of a science fiction novel or even as a special feature in hospitals. Now they are in demand and even considered a necessity in multiple areas of a building. With just a few components, any opening can become touchless and hands free! This ensures that there is zero contact on a surface that could be crawling with bacteria and allows everyone in the facility to have peace of mind that their health and safety is priority.
Either through motion activation or access control (swiping a badge or using your phone to access the door), you can set up your doors so that they swing open without any touches. This will eliminate your touch points, help lessen exposure, and keep your team safe. Not only can this help prevent another pandemic from spreading so quickly, but your customers, who are just as worried as you are, will feel safer, and probably more likely to visit your business or property.
So how can you make your building low touch or touchless? We’ve broken it down into 4 steps!
Use Automatic Door Openers: These can be installed on High Traffic Exterior or Interior Doors and opened by using Motion Activated Buttons or a mobile app. Automatic door openers have already been useful and you’ve probably seen them with ADA push plates. Now, powered automatic door openers can be combined with a touch free wave to open switch or even a mobile pass on your cell phone that allows people to enter and exit without touching door handles.
Leave interior doors open: Doors inside your business (that aren’t a security risk) can be left open! These could be in Breakrooms, Storerooms, Copy rooms, and even hallways. Being able to walk through multiple doors inside your building that you would normally use a handle or knob can help reduce touch points! You can easily do this with a door closer with a hold open arm.
Add Arm or Foot Pulls: For the budget conscious, these low cost additions can be added to restroom doors, conference doors, or any pull to open doors to minimize touching with your hands! Simply use a forearm on an arm pull or your foot to utilize the foot pull!
Add Crashbars: Crashbars are great to allow doors to be opened with a nudge of the hip. No matter if your hands are full or if you just want to minimize another hand touchpoint.
Reduce those touch points in your facility and keep your team and your customers safe! Oh, and don’t forget to wash your hands!
Jessica Lingafelt is a Blogger & Writer at YourNextStrategy.com a digital marketing agency, creating tools to help you grow your business.