How to promote employee hand hygiene at work

How to Promote Employee Hand Hygiene at Work

Tom Wojtkun


By Thom Wojtkun

National Account Director, Commercial Real Estate

Winter is here, and office workers should remember that practicing good hand hygiene is one of the most effective measures they can take to guard against spreading illness and infection. The cold weather brings on the sniffles and sneezes—making the office seem like an obstacle course filled with germs that can cause illness.

Cases of “presenteeism” are common—almost 70% of working Americans say they don’t take a day off when they’re sick.1 Among these presentees, a majority say they try to cover up their symptoms at work.

Whether you’re encouraging a sick colleague to go home or trying to keep your distance from anyone who looks ill, it’s important to take preventive measures to limit the risk of picking up germs through contact with shared surfaces or objects.

Start With the Restroom

Enabling employees to practice advanced hand hygiene behavior starts with having the right products available throughout the office so they can clean and sanitize their hands quickly and conveniently. Soap and water in the restroom forms the foundation—virtually all offices have these in place. However, refillable bulk soap containers can actually become contaminated with germs over time, and post-wash contact with door handles (or wiping your hands on your pants) can re-contaminate the hands.

Placing PURELL® Advanced Hand Sanitizer outside of the restroom door helps ensure everyone has one last chance to clean their hands before going back to work, stepping out for lunch or heading home for the night.

Provide Hand Hygiene Options Throughout Your Work Areas

Many of the times when employees need to clean or sanitize their hands today occur outside the restroom—in work areas, conference rooms, and throughout the office. Accordingly, the right products need to be available so people can reduce the risk of either catching or spreading germs to others.

Making PURELL™ products available throughout work areas helps your employees develop good hand hygiene habits that will help them stay healthy and productive every day. The ability to turn these habits into sustainable year-round behavior is one of the most important elements of any wellness solution, which is why it’s so important to give employees trusted hand hygiene products.

PURELL™ Products: Proven to be Effective, Trusted by Employees

In an outcome study conducted at Medical Mutual of Ohio, employees at two intervention sites participated in the PURELL™ Advanced Workforce Solution while employees at a third site were designated as a control group. Among the intervention group, which had PURELL® Advanced Hand Sanitizer and PURELL® Hand Sanitizing Wipes available throughout the office, 88% of employees said they liked the PURELL™ products—and 80% said the program positively affected their impression of their employer.

More importantly, implementation of the PURELL™ Advanced Workforce Solution™ was associated with statistically significant reductions in employee absenteeism and healthcare claims related to hand hygiene-preventable illnesses. Specifically, absenteeism in the intervention group was 13% lower than the previous year, and relevant healthcare claims were 24% lower in the intervention group, compared to the control group.

These concrete results—healthier employees, better perception of the company—stand out at a time when employers and analysts are examining the cost-effectiveness of wellness programs.

Employees feel good when they can be productive at work and collaborate with others without being afraid of germs. The PURELL™ Advanced Workforce Solution™ can help.

1. Wakefield Research conducted a nationally representative survey between Jan. 22 and Feb. 2, 2015, among 1,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and older. The margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is +/- 3.1 percentage points. Survey sponsored by GOJO Industries.

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