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Facilities Management Journal March 2017

FMJ.CO.UK WASHROOMS FOCUS MARCH 2017 39 Ask employees to name their biggest bugbears about workplace washrooms and you’ll hear about empty soap dispensers, loo paper strewn across the floor, or half-full, smelly urinals. Some might suggest there are more important things to worry about in the workplace, but the fact is washroom hygiene is no trivial matter. There really is an onus on bosses to establish a workplace washroom that is at least on a par with the facilities they enjoy at home. Aft er all, if the boss doesn’t care about the calibre of the washrooms, what else are they turning a blind eye to? It’s also a fact that poor bathroom hygiene impacts on staff productivity and attendance. Most of the working population spend a large amount of their time at work, so creating a comfortable and convenient environment for them should be a priority. Properly equipped and functional washrooms have a role in preventing sickness and reducing the spread of infections. A study of off ice workers by Cogent Research in 2013 found that 78 per cent of respondents associated germs with the workplace toilets, while 69 per cent suspected toilet door handles. Further research published in Medical Construction and Design in 2013 suggests that 73 per cent of the business community believe that a bad toilet environment indicates poor overall management. The Elevated Washroom Online Survey of 1,000 off ice workers, carried out by Global Marketing in 2014, revealed that 71 per cent thought an off ice washroom reflects on the facilities manager. Around 80 per cent of FMs appreciated that their off ice restrooms influence tenants’ satisfaction. BACK TO BASICS The facilities manager plays a vital role in ensuring a decent washroom experience for staff . There’s no need for flashy designer basins or state-of-the-art music systems. It’s about getting the basics right and ensuring the off ice washroom is clean, inviting, and fresh-smelling. This is all the more pertinent given that RICS research has found that facilities managers spend over half their time on operational issues, such as dealing with customer complaints. So how do you maintain the highest possible standards while continuously striving to improve the bathroom experience? According to the research in Medical Construction and Design, the leading washroom complaints are: bad smells (82 per cent), clogged or not-flushed toilets (79 per cent) and a dirty, unkempt overall appearance (73 per cent). The best way to reduce such complaints is to prevent them from arising. That means providing high-quality washroom consumables and tackling maintenance issues promptly. The typical off ice worker visits the washroom three to four times a day. Within an average-sized facility, that equals more than 1.1 million annual satisfaction or complaint opportunities. For FMs, this represents an opportunity to significantly improve client satisfaction with the premises. ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS We recommend taking a three-stage approach to discover, compare and improve washroom standards. The first question FMs


Facilities Management Journal March 2017
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