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April 2022

No-touch technology: time to reconsider your approach to hygiene?

Written by Nathalie Leblond
Innovation, Trends and Technology

As businesses and facilities managers search for ways to reduce COVID-19 risks on their premises, going touch-free is a vital step to prevent the spread of infection. Read more about why no-touch is the way forward in the blog post below. 

After the last 2 years, people are much savvier when it comes to hygiene - they understand that a single touch can transmit germs. They accept that good hand hygiene is an essential way of protecting themselves from the person-to-person transmission of illnesses.

That’s because germs can spread easily throughout a building – either via person to person, surface to person or in the air – and hands that touch contaminated surfaces will inevitably transmit germs to other surfaces or directly to people.

Dr Gail Aitken, FRSPH, Head of Consumable Product Development at Rentokil Initial, points out: “Transfer rates after touching a contaminated surface vary by pathogen, pressure, surface porosity and moisture level. Worryingly, they can be as high as 80% after one touch, or as low as 1% seven touches later.

The growing demand for no-touch technology

EFTPOS machine is one of the growing demand for no-touch technology

It wasn’t until 2011 that no-touch technology really made a breakthrough and transformed all of our lives. Apple’s release of Siri made touch-free sexy. More voice-powered technology, such as Google Home and Amazon’s Echo, soon followed and allowed users to transform their homes without moving from the sofa.

Facial recognition lets us unlock our phones and sort our photos, while gesture recognition and touchless sensing are everywhere – recognising the wave of a hand or the presence of a person to trigger an automatic door.

In fact, it’s hard to imagine a world now without no-touch solutions. Contactless cards may have changed the way we shop, but so has COVID-19 – perhaps permanently. At the start of the pandemic, Amazon reported that searches for no-touch products increased by up to 2,000%.

However, research from Initial found that 74% of people said that they are now more concerned that other people’s poor hand hygiene could put their health at risk than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hygiene solutions to reassure customers and employees

Initial experts holding a signature bathroom range product for hygiene solutions

For business and facility managers, maintaining bathroom hygiene (by eliminating the need for contact and, subsequently, the spread of germs) continues to be one of the most problematic areas.

With hygiene in workplaces and public spaces forever at the forefront of our minds, the challenge for businesses and providers of facilities management is to meet the heightened expectations of their customers and employees by introducing hygiene solutions that can reduce contact and risk.

No touch, less contact

Initial's signature bathroom range with built-in sensor for a no-touch hygiene solution

71% of people surveyed agree that they are now more fearful of the spread of germs via the surfaces they touch than before the pandemic.1

With built-in sensor technology, no-touch solutions reduce the number of touchpoints and help to minimise ill-health, staff absenteeism and, ultimately, business costs. Because sensor technology and the introduction of wireless networks have never been more affordable, it’s no surprise that no-touch solutions are everywhere.

As lockdowns ease worldwide, public spaces are opening up again. Initial’s no-touch hygiene solutions are specifically designed for their ability to repel and protect against the spread of germs – no matter the size of your organisation. These include:

  • No-touch soap dispensers, ideal for key hygiene hotspots such as bathrooms, kitchens and food preparation areas, reduce cross-contamination risks, prevent hands from becoming re-contaminated and reassure concerned consumers worried about physically touching hygiene hotspots.
  • No-touch hand sanitisers will help to stop the spread of germs and encourage better habits among staff.
  • No-touch feminine hygiene units have integrated sensor technology that eliminates the need for physical contact when opening or closing the lid.
  • No-touch hand dryers reduce the amount of moisture and microorganisms left after washing and lower the risk of recontamination.

No touch, less risk

Initial's no-touch bathroom soap dispenser reduces the risk of contamination

70% of people surveyed have higher hygiene expectations of themselves because of the COVID-19 pandemic.2

No-touch solutions reduce the number of touchpoints which in turn create safer environments for all. We’re probably all guilty of neglecting simple hygiene practices from time to time. But when a person coughs or sneezes, they produce respiratory droplets that can be inhaled and contaminate the surfaces on which they land. 

If hands then touch these surfaces, germs could be transmitted to other surfaces or directly to people. We touch our faces all of the time without even realising it. But touching our eyes, nose or mouth will most likely transmit these germs into the body.

No-touch solutions placed in and around areas such as entrances and exits, bathrooms and other high-traffic areas will help to reduce risk, keep people safe, encourage better habits and provide visible reassurance to consumers and employees. 

No touch, less worry

The majority of employers (93%) are worried about ensuring that workplace conditions and policies comply with applicable safety and health regulations after lockdown.3

Understandably, people expect to feel protected wherever they go, and believe it’s the responsibility of that business to provide a safe environment. Potential hotspots need to be identified and accounted for to reduce people’s levels of anxiety.

But if customer behaviour is shifting towards safe and contactless operations in response to the greater awareness about hygiene, businesses need to consider that consumers may not wish to return to physical operations—even when it’s deemed safe to do so.

They need to feel safe and reassured, whether you’re an employee or consumer, is now integral to venturing out to a workplace, public venue or place of business. What both consumers and employees need is demonstrable, visible reassurance.

Cleanliness will no longer ease worries. We have always been able to see if something isn’t clean. We cannot, however, see whether something has been made hygienically safe. A recent global consumer sentiment survey from McKinsey recently revealed a serious need for hygiene transparency. 

No-touch solutions offer visible evidence that premises are hygienically safe. This will not only build trust, but it will instill confidence and ease the worries of staff and consumers.

No touch, better experience

Customer in a store flipping through clothes on a rack

Customer experience has emerged as one of the key challenges facing businesses. Times have changed – consumers now have plenty of options available to them. From shopping online to click and collect, there’s little need to venture outside if you don’t want to.

However, shopping online will never deliver the experience that walking into a shop or restaurant, browsing, speaking to a colleague or the uniqueness of a store, bar or eatery can offer. 

To ensure customers and employees feel safe enough to return, businesses need to offer simple, intuitive and reliable experiences and promote the lengths they'll go to in order to provide reassurance. That’s why it makes sense for businesses to reconsider their hygiene solutions to meet the growing demand for no-touch technology.

Companies that invest in the right no-touch technology could build a competitive advantage in serving customers in the future. With Initial, businesses can be confident that they’re providing their employees and customers with the very best no-touch hygiene services to take away any hygiene concerns. 

Reach out to the experts

Initial's experts understanding of hygiene and the emotional and physical impact of poor hygiene

Initial’s understanding of hygiene and the emotional and physical impact of poor hygiene practices has driven us to design and develop attractive, safe and convenient no-touch solutions that have been rigorously tested by our experts.

We offer a wide range of no-touch hygiene services, including the provision and maintenance of products such as soap and hand sanitiser dispensers, hand dryers and feminine hygiene units specifically designed to reduce illness from germ transmission.

“In 2020 alone, for research purposes, we reviewed and tested over 700 sanitisers and disinfectants.” Dr Gail Aitken FRSPH, Head of Consumable Product Development, Rentokil Initial

Using science, research and technology, we meet the needs of the modern world to keep people safe and protected. We’re trusted partners across the globe – experts at helping businesses provide healthy environments where expectations and standards are higher than ever before.

Contact our team to find out more about our no-touch hygiene solutions today.

Contact the Initial team to discuss your hygiene requirements

1. Initial Hygiene UK, Washroom Matters Research 2020
2. Initial Hygiene UK, Air Quality Survey 2021
3. Littler COVID-19 Flash Survey Report, 2020
Nathalie Leblond

Nathalie Leblond

I joined Rentokil Initial South Africa in 2004 as the PA to the MD, and after 6 months maternity leave I re-joined the Company in 2009 as the Marketing Co-ordinator for Rentokil. I'm now the Marketing Communication Manager for Rentokil Initial. I'm still terrified of cockroaches (Americana's only!) but the rest of the creepy crawlies we deal with don't really bug me (see what I did there?), so I guess I'm in the right industry! I am passionate about what we do here at Rentokil Initial and also write for our Hygiene Blog, which can be found at blog.initial.co.za, and our Ambius blog - https://www.ambius.co.za/blog. Life outside of Rentokil Initial mostly revolves around my daughter, who has just turned twelve, and my husband (who is a bit older). I love living in Cape Town and wouldn't trade living here for anywhere else in the world.

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