It is fair to say the pandemic has changed everyday life a lot over the past 18 months or so, and many of these changes will likely be here to stay. COVID-19 has raised awareness of our health and hygiene, with measures taken to reduce the chances of transmission expected to remain commonplace when normality finally returns.
Surveying hygiene habits
How hygiene habits have changed during the pandemic is something that was recently explored by banner printing specialist instaprint, which found some noteworthy results from a survey of 1,000 UK employees. Interestingly, 45% of respondents stated they were now more aware of disgusting habits in the workplace as a result of COVID-19. The five habits people deemed to be the most disgusting in an office were:
- Not washing hands after using the toilet (42.9%)
- Coming into work with a cold (37.4%)
- Kiss greetings (32.9%)
- Hugs (27.8%)
- Keeping unwashed exercise clothing in the office (26.5%)
In terms of how hygiene habits have changed, the most notable effect has been the sharp increase in people washing their hands thoroughly and the use of hand sanitiser. Additionally, people are sanitising surfaces and other items that people touch a great deal more than before to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Remote work leads to bad habits
While people have generally become increasingly hygiene-aware, the rise in people working remotely has made them less sanitary in their own homes. A YouGov report found that 29% of people wore fresh clothes less often, 25% were not washing their hair with the same regularity, and 17% were taking fewer showers. With people spending more time at home and socialising less, it is easy to see why personal hygiene habits have slipped. However, this is likely to revert when people start going back into the office and commencing normal life again.
Bad habits pre-COVID
In terms of returning to the office, the instant print survey also looked at the bad habits people had before the pandemic. Handshakes topped the chart with 32.7%, which is unsurprising as it is the most common way to greet someone professionally. This is a behaviour that is sure to return, with only 17.4% wanting it to be banned. Other pre-COVID bad habits people are now aware of include hugs, communal drink rounds, sharing snacks in the office and coming into work with a cough/cold.
The coronavirus pandemic has cast the habits many had in a different light, and they now seem unlikely to return if they cause hygiene concerns. It has been an educational experience for many, and good hygiene habits will likely stick around long after the pandemic, which is something everyone will benefit from the improved lifestyle.