Editor’s note: FM Perspectives are industry op-eds. The views expressed are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect those of Facilities Management Advisor.
It’s 2024 and we can safely say that public spaces are back—or, more accurately, the “public is back in spaces!” Though COVID and the flu season are in full effect, people have been back at malls, hotels, museums, and other public spaces for some time—and the likelihood of mass mask adoption or lockdowns is slim. This, however, does not mean that people are taking the necessary precautions to limit infection risk, which is why building owners and operators can offer the public ways to prevent the spread of illnesses. One solution that has gained popularity is the integration of ultraviolet (UV) cell phone disinfection systems in public spaces.
You Can Find It in the Water
UV disinfection harnesses the power of ultraviolet light to eliminate harmful pathogens that accumulate on different surfaces. UV disinfection has come a long way from its origins, as it was originally used to treat wastewater and to purify water before bottling. It’s a simple, yet effective, method that goes beyond the limitations of traditional cleaning methods, as it can be very useful in disinfecting everyday items such as cell phones, wallets, and keys. Cell phones alone have over 25,000 harmful bacteria per 1 sq. in., which is dirtier than a toilet seat. If business owners and facilities managers were more aware of this fact, UV disinfection would likely be among the most requested amenities everywhere.
Public Facilities and UV
Public and mass transit hubs (train stations, rest areas, bus stations, airports) are usually bustling with activity and shared surfaces. People often put phones on the counters while buying something, or they put their personal belongings on the counters in the restrooms while they’re washing their hands. Implementing UV disinfection systems in these environments contributes to a healthier setting by reducing the risk of cross-contamination, all while sending a strong message about a facility/business’ commitment to the well-being of its patrons. It’s not just about cleanliness; it’s about actively fostering a safer space for everyone.
Prioritizing Hygiene for Consumers
Consumers are more health-conscious than ever. Businesses that prioritize hygiene (and do so in a unique way) stand to reap multiple benefits and outcomes. Offering UV disinfection services is not merely a practical step; it’s a statement of responsibility and care. Businesses are more likely to be viewed positively after they’re seen trying to safeguard their customers’ health. Establishing these services is an investment in building trust, which results in customer loyalty and positive reviews, recommendations, and brand awareness.
Best Practices for Implementation
The decision to implement UV disinfection systems should be well thought out. A business owner and/or facilities manager should consider the high-traffic areas of their locations where personal belongings, such as cell phones, are frequently used. They should also assess the appropriate system size that will seamlessly incorporate into existing operations. Many business locations have already begun integrating these disinfection systems in areas of high traffic while, in turn, the patrons of those businesses have proven to have higher customer satisfaction feedback.
The integration of UV phone disinfection systems in public spaces is more than a hygiene measure; it’s a holistic approach to public health and consumer satisfaction. As businesses navigate the challenges of heightened health concerns, the adoption of UV disinfection becomes a strategic imperative. By embracing this innovative solution, businesses not only contribute to a cleaner and safer world, but also position themselves as leaders in prioritizing the well-being of their customers.
Chris Allen is the CEO of iCleanse, a provider of rapid phone disinfection stations that incorporate Digital Out-Of-Home (DOOH) advertising.