New survey unveils public expectations of hand sanitisation in public spaces post Covid-19

A new study from Rubbermaid Commercial Products (RCP) reveals the public’s expectations for hand sanitiser provisions in public spaces. Conducted during the summer of 2020 as businesses began to reopen after lockdown, the findings from the survey show how businesses can effectively demonstrate their commitment to public health and safety, by protecting staff and customers with appropriate solutions that people want to use.

The survey discovered that, overwhelmingly, the public want to use touch free dispensers. 93% say that this is their preferred way of dispensing hand sanitiser. This feeds into continental messaging around hand sanitisation and the risk associated with touch. People want to keep their hands sanitised and if they can do so in a way that eliminates touch, then that’s what they prefer to do.

Typically, perhaps linked to the wider governmental approach, 75% of people want the security of alcohol-based hand sanitiser. However, the remaining 25% prefer alcohol-free sanitiser, which means, depending on the type of facility and associated risk factors, facilities should implement the approach that’s right for them.

The public are also clear that facilities they go to, for work or personal reasons, should have sanitiser. We asked respondents to describe a venue with no hand sanitiser provisions. The most common words were unsafe, unclean and dangerous. Two of these words relate to safety, indicating people consider such facilities a personal risk. In describing the individuals that run such a facility, the top words were irresponsible, careless and cheap. These are not perceptions that businesses should be aiming for from their customers.

The research also found that 72% would avoid using hand sanitiser if it looked unclean or unhygienic. This leads to two possible outcomes for facilities with suboptimal provisions. Either members of the public will not use the sanitiser, potentially spreading germs throughout, or they will bypass a venue entirely and go somewhere that provides it in an aesthetically pleasing way.

This is likely to reflect a coming change in public perception. Throughout lockdown and the beginning of the reopening phase, the public have focused on facilities that have hand sanitiser. But increasingly, as more facilities implement hand hygiene solutions, the focus will shift from the existence of provisions, to the quality of provisions on offer.

Implementing a higher quality hand hygiene solution must also extend beyond entryway deployment. 53% of respondents expect to see hand hygiene provisions placed throughout a venue. Entryways are a natural bottleneck for hand hygiene provisions, particularly when they are also exits, but provisions placed throughout a facility allow for continued vigilance as well as continual reassurance. Seeing hand sanitiser provisions throughout a space can provide a sense of safety for the public, 79% of respondents said hand sanitiser provision was the most important factor in their safety in a location other than home.

Paul Jakeway, head of marketing RCP, EMEA, said: “Businesses that wish to encourage customers back to their facilities should be mindful of the expectations of those customers. Deploying alcohol or alcohol-free hand sanitiser in touch-free dispensers, on stands or walls at key touch points throughout a facility reassures customers, putting businesses ahead of their competitors who are still offering substandard provisions.”

Facilities that wish to reassure staff and customers need to re-evaluate the hand hygiene provisions they offer considering these survey results. The time is now to upgrade, to protect people by exceeding their expectations and to attain a competitive advantage over facilities that overlook the importance of those expectations.

RCP hand hygiene dispensers and refills are designed to create safer, healthier environments for every facility. Durable, touch free and manual, with a lifetime warranty, they are available in a variety of sizes and deployment methods to meet the varied needs of a facility. Alongside their range of alcohol and alcohol-free hand sanitiser, and soap refills, once deployed, they exceed the expectations of staff and customers. RCP look closer at hand hygiene, the design in every drop, the science in every solution, for complete confidence. By paying attention to the little things, RCP take time to build tougher and smarter solutions for the real world. Hygiene first, partners always.