Pestilence Prevention


Since I left the corporate world I have not kept up with the latest office trends. I’m just back from two days in London feeling unsure about the latest etiquette.

In two offices that I visited I was asked to wait at reception. As I sat there, watching Sky News or Bloomberg on the plasma screen, I noticed something unusual amongst the tidy newspapers on the low table.

Both offices had a bottle of antibacterial hand gel on the table. For the benefit of their visitors. Or rather for the benefit of their staff.

I looked around furtively for a notice. Is it compulsory to sanitise your hands? Is it like walking through disinfected straw during the foot and mouth epidemic?

I was not sure of the procedure. Did everyone wash their hands before picking up a newspaper? What happens if your host arrives when you are mid-way through the gelling process? Perhaps only dirty people clean their hands. It might make me look insecure, or diseased… if I scrub up.

My host arrived. I stood up with a smile and shook hands heartily, in the manner of a clean and healthy person, feeling a bit guilty.

3 Responses to “Pestilence Prevention”

  1. 1 Camilla

    You’ll be delighted to know that Aviva is also installing gell dispensers. the guidance published on Aviva World is as follows:

    “A number of our employees have been diagnosed with Swine Flu, and while this number remains small, we understand that you may be concerned.

    “So, from late next week we’re installing alcohol gel dispensers in all Aviva UK Life and General Insurance sites across the UK. These will be available as you come into the building and in other shared areas. We’re going to keep these available for three months initially and review this regularly in line with Government advice.

    “The gel provides an additional control measure to help reduce the spread of the virus. It doesn’t replace individual responsibility for maintaining good hygiene practice and washing your hands regularly throughout the day, using hot water and soap.”

    Interestingly nothing has appeared in King’s House in Norwich so I assume AGC and Aviva Europe employees are not vulnerable to infection?

    PS. Did I see you in Liverpool St station about 10.30am on Wednesday? Looking worried and towing a suitcase?

    • 2 alexoutside

      Camilla – alcohol gel dispensers sound like an exciting alternative to the coffee machine… So what does it taste like?

      It may well have been me in LST… but I wasn’t unduly worried, that’s just my face. And it was a fairly small case.

  2. 3 jensyrk

    Alex, were the offices you visited both in hospitals? 😀

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