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78 Per Cent of People Feel There is a High Risk of Germs in Offices

20 October 2020

Despite COVID secure guidelines for workplaces, three out of four people still feel there is a moderate to high risk of germs in an office building.

A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Kimberly-Clark Professional shows that confidence remains low in these early stages of businesses getting back to work. 

Three out of four people in the UK do not feel safe going back to the workplace, while 86 per cent said they would avoid a location if they didn’t think it was COVID secure.


“Businesses are clearly not doing enough, and people are still scared, so these findings are crucial in guiding our ability to ensure we offer the best advice and solutions.”

–Olena Neznal

Vice President, Kimberly-Clark Professional EMEA



62 Per Cent Want be Visually Reassured by Seeing Cleaning in Action


According to the research, three out of four people (78 per cent) feel there is a moderate to high risk of germs in an office building. When asked what are the most important factors they use to gauge the safety in an office building, 69 per cent want strict social distancing policies enforcement, 51 per cent of people want masks to be a requirement when entering the office, and 70 per cent cited the provision of hygienic hand washing and toilet facilities.

Six out of seven of the most important factors listed were cleaning and hygiene-related, with 62 per cent saying that seeing cleaning in action was important and 58 per cent wanting cleaning and disinfecting procedures communicated clearly.


KCP Infographic

Picture: an infographic displaying all of the survey statistics mentioned in this article, accompanied by graphics of a toilet, a cleaning sign, a person working at a desk, a person washing their hands and a soap dispenser


Washrooms a Key Focus to Combat Hygiene Anxiety


When asked “what are the most important areas to improve hygiene in an office building”, 89 per cent said the washroom is a key area where businesses can do more. 

Three in four thought the condition of the washroom was a reflection of how much the establishment cares about its customers/visitors, while equally 75 per cent thought the condition of the washroom is a reflection of the hygiene standards for the rest of the establishment.

“Only businesses which win the confidence of their employees and customers will thrive, and from this research it is clear that hygiene is now top of the business agenda,” said, Olena Neznal, Vice President at Kimberly-Clark Professional EMEA.

“Businesses are clearly not doing enough, and people are still scared, so these findings are crucial in guiding our ability to ensure we offer the best advice and solutions. There are no shortcuts to workplace hygiene – we need to cover every angle.”



Are Businesses Doing Enough?


Owing to several changes in official guidance in terms of working from home and socialising, a sense of confusion over the rules could be to blame for people’s reticence. Recently, Bureau Veritas recommended that facilities managers employ strict and consistent coronavirus measures – supported with formalised systems and regular monitoring.

Measures such as the rule of six, whilst not applicable in office environments, are clearly having an effect on employee confidence. When this rule came into force, many questioned its logic when they were still being actively encouraged to return to work and other public spaces such as shops and restaurants.

Angela Love, Director at Active Workplace Solutions, a company which specialises in workplace change, foresaw these confidence issues when she told us: “How can I tell my people it is safe to come to work when the government says it isn’t safe to mix with their family and friends? It makes no sense to me and certainly won’t to them.”

Picture: a photograph of sinks in an office washroom

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 20 October 2020


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