The COVID-19 pandemic drove a sharp decline in the number of people occupying and passing through our facilities. As we look ahead, a recent JLL survey shows that two-thirds of employees plan to be in the office at least 3 days a week once the pandemic is under control.
To ensure a safe and healthy environment when workers and customers return, many facilities have embraced the notion of touchless buildings. Touchless technology reduces both the risk of transmission and the amount of maintenance required in your facilities. Proper cleaning and sanitization are essential safety measures in the post-COVID world. Now more than ever, maintenance needs to be handled in a smart, efficient way.
As you consider the critical components to make your facilities safer, we’ve identified several high-trafficked areas that you should prioritize.
An easy place to start your touchless upgrade is doorways. Hands-free or foot-operated door pulls attach to an existing door and allow users to open with their arm or shoe and not with their hands. These low-tech options, although not technically “touchless,” are inexpensive, can be installed with just a screwdriver, and often come with antimicrobial finishes that inhibit germ growth.
Organizations looking for a truly touchless alternative can deploy infrared touch plates and automatic door openers that activate doors with a simple gesture, like waving your hand. These solutions require a power supply and professional installation; however, it’s likely they can be retrofitted to existing ADA automatic doors for a truly touchless experience.
Even before the pandemic, restrooms were a top complaint at many facilities. What once was a nuisance has become a source of genuine anxiety. As a result, the restroom has become the site of the most frequent upgrades made by JLL customers. Businesses are deploying touchless flush valves, faucets, soap dispensers, and paper towel dispensers to dramatically reduce touches on bathroom surfaces.
We have seen a 154% increase in touchless paper and soap dispenser purchases on the JLL Marketplace and a 300% increase in demand for touchless plumbing solutions over pre-COVID levels. Smart, internet-enabled devices can track restroom usage and consumable levels, alert custodial staff when cleaning is necessary, and even determine if employees are washing their hands. The touchless restroom has become mainstream for wellness-oriented employers and properties.
Touchless cafeterias & breakrooms
Many facilities closed their amenity spaces because of the pandemic, and most remain unopened. JLL research shows, as people return to shared spaces, 49% will expect dedicated areas focused on collaboration and socialization to enhance their experience. To reduce the risk of germ transmission in these shared spaces, many clients are deploying individually wrapped, disposable cutlery, and coffee cups dispensed from systems designed to allow users to take what they need without touching the dispenser.
Water fountains are also being retrofitted with touchless water bottle-filling stations as a breakroom best practice—with a 150% increase in installations of these stations in 2020 (and with a similar increase expected again this year).
With vaccine distribution on the rise, it won’t be long before we see building occupancy rise significantly. If you haven’t yet deployed touchless technologies at your properties, now is the ideal time to do so and show your employees, tenants, and customers that you care about their health and wellness.
Interested in learning more about moving to touchless technology? Contact us today.