I’ve been back working from the office for a week now. Part of the many measures we have put in place at work has been to wear masks when dealing face to face with the public either in the showroom or at properties. The showroom is by appointment only right now, as you can understand, but footfall has been as low as you would expect now anyway.
There has been some debate around masks. The Government guidance is to wear one when going to the shops for example, or where 2m social distancing isn’t possible. The way we’re now carrying out appointments means maintaining 2m distances from people isn’t hard to do. You still get a few people who have no concept of personal space so you need to politely take a step back.
For the appointments I’ve been on so far I have worn a mask when with the customer. And it has been absolutely fine. No dramas at all. Some have decided to wear masks when speaking with me as well, which is absolutely fine as well.
There is evidence that wearing masks helps protect people from catching viruses and other bugs. Though it’s not a perfect solution and can’t guarantee anything. I am seeing more and more people choosing to wear masks in their daily life. Outside my window I see walkers and cyclists wearing them more often now, even though they’re in the open air. The last time I went to the supermarket I would say about half of the people in there were wearing masks, including myself.
I don’t think people are wearing them in the belief that they give you medical immunity from disease. Its more an act of reassurance for the person wearing it, and a sign to others that you care, that you’re showing compassion for the cause. As I said, I have worn one for every appointment since we went back and every single homeowner has been fine with it, some choosing to wear one themselves. Its almost an act of kindness towards the other person.
It’s not about spreading fear. Other societies in other parts of the world have become used to wearing masks for a while now, think of many countries in Asia, and people simply get on with their lives as they would.
Personally, I do find it more reassuring to wear one. I am still very worried about catching the virus, as is my wife, and we certainly don’t want to bring it home. So before I leave the car I put on my mask and gloves before I introduce myself to the customer and explain how we’re going to do the appointment. I would go so far as to say the reactions from customers have been pretty positive, impressed that we’re taking these steps. Some homeowners have commented to me that some companies when visiting are behaving as though the last three months haven’t even happened.
If I were to step into someones home right now, even for a few minutes to measure something upstairs, without a mask or gloves on, I would feel very uncomfortable about it. Both for my own health perspective and the homeowner. Just because we are back to work doesn’t mean this thing has gone away. Its easy to fall into that false sense of security. We’re nowhere near done with this. Which means until there is a vaccine or new effective treatment, we’ll be social distancing and working this way for quite a long time.
It’s not a big deal
The simple fact is that to put on a mask is not a big deal. We’re not talking about the medical grade stuff that is needed on the frontlines. But the more basic versions, or even the self-made ones that my better half is currently making for me with our company logos on. To put a covering over your mouth, to help protect yourself and others is more an act of kindness than anything else.
Wearing a mask isn’t going to lead to the breakdown of society, or kids running scared from other people. Its worked in other countries and I don’t see society falling into civil unrest because of it. We’re fighting a global war against an enemy we cannot see. If there is even a small percentage change downwards in the rate of the spread of this, or any disease, then surely it’s worth a go.
Will it become the norm? Time will only tell. But if you change habits for long enough, even if they were only meant to be temporary, some of them will stick. Many, like myself, will feel safer wearing a mask when out in public or going shopping. And that’s OK. Some won’t, and that’s OK too it’s their choice. They’re already becoming fashion statements. Bands are producing their own for their fans to buy online. Fashion brands already have their own. Even Vista Print are selling them online where you can brand them yourself. When you look at it that way, if it has already made its way to the world of fashion, it’s probably here to stay.
Personally, if this is part of the new normal, I’m OK with it. I feel safer doing business this way, I make my wife feel better about me going to see the general public again, and at the end of the day, this is what it’s all about. Being safe and feeling safe as we find a way to live with this awful disease.
Next week I’ll have my own homemade masks with a slot for disposable filters and our company logo on. They’re nearly ready and will look way better than the standard White or Blue ones I have been wearing so far. I’ll post some pictures to social media to show you what they look like.
In the meantime, be safe out there!
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