‘Is it safe?’ That’s the question countless employees around the world are asking themselves as they re-enter their workplaces after months of working from home. PURE SPACE, a new product from ISS, aims to help employees reconnect with their work environments, by ensuring a hygienic, safe place to work.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the way people work and live. In one country after another, employees have been sent home in order to reduce the risk of infection. ‘Social distancing’ has now become synonymous with ‘safety’. The resulting disconnect has been both physical and emotional. PURE SPACE is designed to repair this disruption, so employees can feel they are returning to a safe work environment.
Making places safe again
The challenge is two-fold. Companies need to re-establish the physical connection, by bringing employees back to a work environment that meets a higher standard of hygiene. And they need to restore the emotional connection, by building employees’ confidence in the safety of their workplace.
PURE SPACE addresses both of those challenges in three ways:
- By prioritising hygiene and removing sources of cross-infection through standardised, third-party verified processes and procedures
- By providing objective ways of measuring cleaning efficacy
- By making cleaning activities more visible for employees
Prioritising hygiene for high-touch surfaces
PURE SPACE focuses on maximising hygiene and removing sources of cross-infection. Standard cleaning products tend to focus on visible cleanliness and task frequency – for example, how often the floors are cleaned or how clean they look – but not place as much emphasis on cleaning high-touch surface areas and making sure they are free of microorganisms.
However, research indicates that a virus applied to a high-contact surface, such as a doorknob or a tabletop, can infect 40-60% of the people within a workplace within two to four hours.
PURE SPACE analyses all traffic and touchpoints, identifies high-touch surfaces and tailors the hygiene plan to the environment. That includes using the right cleaning products to ensure that high-touch areas remain safe for hours after they have been disinfected. As Joseph Nazareth, Head of ISS Group Health, Safety, and Quality, explains, “We’ve taken inspiration from the years of experience we have working in clean room environments, hospitals and healthcare organisations, where hygiene and disinfection are more important. With PURE SPACE, we’re taking those requirements and transferring them to the office environment.”
Additionally, the processes, procedures and training used in PURE SPACE have all been verified by DNV GL, one of the world’s leading risk management and quality assurance certification bodies. “Our goal is to increase employees’ trust in the cleanliness of their work environment by taking the right approach to hygiene and disinfection. Using methods that are validated by an objective third-party helps us to accomplish that goal,” Joseph says.
From “It looks clean” to “I know it’s clean”
PURE SPACE also helps to restore employee confidence by providing visible, scientific proof that a space is clean.
“We tend to judge the output of a legacy cleaning service with our eyes,” says Joseph. “With PURE SPACE, we use science and technology to test and validate cleanliness.”
PURE SPACE uses ATP technology to scientifically measure the outcome of cleaning. ATP stands for Adenosine triphosphate, a molecule found only in and around living cells, and can therefore be used to measure the concentration of microorganisms and the level of hygiene. “With this technology, we’re moving from a subjective assessment of cleaning to an objective assessment, using a proven scientific measurement,” Joseph explains. This factual, evidence-based method helps dispel any doubts that an area is clean and ready for working.
Visibility leads to peace of mind
Communication is another key factor in setting employees’ minds at ease. The results of the ATP testing are made available to employees, so they can see the scores and know what’s happened in their area of the building. This open communication helps to reassure employees, enabling them to feel relaxed and capable of achieving their purpose within their work environment.
In addition to the ATP score, there are other visible signs that help restore employees’ confidence in the safety of their workspace.
“Historically, cleaning has been something that happened after employees had gone home,” says Joseph. “PURE SPACE happens during the day, while people are at the office, so they can actually see it being done.” This marked focus on hygiene has the added benefit of encouraging employees to modify their own behaviour, so that they contribute to keeping the workplace safe for everyone.
Same high standard across all locations
For global companies – or companies with several offices – PURE SPACE offers standardisation across all locations. So staff can be confident that, wherever they work, the same high standard of hygiene has been implemented.
“By implementing the same product across buildings, regions and geographies, we can then measure it on a cross-country, globalised basis. This allows us to upgrade it faster, and to test its efficacy in its broadest sense on a standard product. In this way, we can move and change over time, as insights develop into the best way of doing this,” Joseph says.
More than a pandemic solution
While PURE SPACE has been developed to address a very specific situation, Joseph believes that many of the components will live on after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
“While many of these programme elements are developed with the coronavirus in mind, they are also related to a larger discussion of how we create a healthier work environment and how we can support healthier building concepts. I believe we have the opportunity to improve people’s well-being in a broader sense, not just because they are healthier, but also because they have a greater peace of mind.”