Now more than ever, humans look to businesses to help us feel safe as things settle into a new normal. But how do we decide which situations feel safe?

As sensory creatures, we look for signs we can see, smell, hear, and feel.


of customers still want control of cleaning and look to companies to provide sanitation items


of customers want contactless car rental pickup and returns; 24% of them want this to be permanent


of frontline hotel employees want a daily report of cleaning activities

The three elements of safety

Our safety and cleanliness survey uncovered three elements that companies should prioritize to rebuild trust and enhance the safety experience:

  1. Safety essentials: The “basics,” such as wearing masks, providing hand sanitizer, and cleaning surfaces regularly
  2. Dialed-up control: Customers and employees want choices to help them take control of their experiences
  3. Heightened transparency: Using the right activities (tangible vs. intangible, seen vs. unseen) at the right time

Safety you can sense

Humans look for tangible signals that they can conspicuously sense to help them make a judgment on how safe they perceive a situation to be.

indoor outdoor

Environmental context (indoor or outdoor)

people density

Visual density and volume of other people

time icon

Amount of time spent in a single location

visible changes during covid

Visible physical changes (e.g. plexiglass barriers)

Perceived ventilation quality

Perceived ventilation quality

Smell of environment

Smell of environment

Safety for employees

In a survey of 3,000 employees, three patterns stood out when thinking about the return to work:

  • They predominantly prefer to work remotely 
  • They desire frequent and relevant communication, specifically around the precautions taken for their health 
  • They want agency to access information, make decisions for themselves, and engage in a digital experience

Take our research to go

Download the good stuff

Safety and cleanliness–make it or break it.

Open for business: What employers need to know and do to bring employees back to work

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Customer-led Marketing
Deloitte Consulting LLP

Customer-led Marketing
Deloitte Consulting LLP

Organization Transformation
Deloitte Consulting LLP