Woman wearing a facemask and rubber gloves peering through curtains
Woman wearing a facemask and rubber gloves peering through curtains

Do You Have #Fogo?

2 September 2020

The Instagram term #FOMO… the fear of missing out has been flipped on its head during and post-COVID, everyone is now talking about #FOGO – the fear of going out.

At the height of the pandemic, the world did what it was told and stayed home, but as lockdown relaxed, we started to see some light at the end of the tunnel with hospitality and holidays back on the menu for some.

Now lockdown has been eased – albeit with a requirement to stay in our own country or adhere to quarantine rules on return – businesses and employees are returning to the office. For some there is a desire to remain working from home, for others working from home just isn’t an option so they must return to the workplace.

Enter #FOGO – the fear of going out.

Even with lockdown lifted, people are still in fear of the COVID-19 virus, they fear public transport and fear their place of work, why? As a direct result of their being exposed to groups of people in an indoor environment that they have no control over.

So how can we alleviate the fear? Firstly, we need to know the cause…

According to www.verywellmind.com “Sometimes fear stems from real threats, but it can also originate from imagined dangers” – we imagine the outcome of the real threat that is COVID-19 and it alters the way in which we interact with society and go about our pre-COVID normal ways of working and socialising.

The team at CODA also believes fear lies in the unknown, the unseen and for people returning to the workplace, that fear is in the unknown about the quality of the indoor environment in which they are to work in.

So back to the question, how do we alleviate the fear? The fear of going out (of their homes) and going into the workplace. We have to showcase the safety of the internal environment and the environment that they are being exposed to.

CIBSE’s ‘Emerging From Lockdown’ guidance

One way of doing this is by adhering to CIBSE’s ‘Emerging From Lockdown’ guidance, which demonstrates a number of measures businesses need to put in place to ensure it is safe to re-occupy buildings. The operation and maintenance of HVAC systems is high on the agenda when making buildings COVID-secure and managing indoor air quality (IAQ).

IoT solutions with software, apps and dashboards like our CODA platform do just that. From the monitoring and management of the building systems such as heating, air conditioning and lighting as well as occupancy management for accessibility of shared spaces such as lifts and canteens, devices can control the internal environment to ensure the building is COVID-secure and safe to work.

What we then need to do is showcase this in real-time to the building occupier. When returning to work, if a colleague can see – on entering the building – that the internal air quality is safe, the fear of the unknown and the fear of the real threat (COVID-19) is reduced as they can see and they know, that the building in which they are entering into is COVID-secure.

Digital technologies that offer visibility of data and validate internal air quality whether in an office block, hotel, restaurant, whether at a railway station or on public transport – knowing the quality of the internal environment you are walking into can eradicate this new #FOGO and help us come out of lockdown and eradicate our fear.