UK office workers are likely to spend an incredible 41 hours* in the company washroom each year, with men spending an extra four hours more than women using the bathroom facilities over the course of the year!
The results of a global study of 6,000 office workers (1,000 from the UK) also revealed that one in four UK workers admitted to not washing their hands every time they visit the washroom, ignoring the danger of passing on germs and viruses through handshakes or the surfaces they touch.
The research, combined with Global Handwashing Day taking place today, acts as a reminder that proper handwashing is the most effective way of preventing the spread of germs and disease, particularly ahead of the looming flu and Norovirus season.
Further findings revealed that almost one in 10 (9.8%) of office workers admit to using their mobile to surf the internet and use Twitter while in the washroom, and nearly one in 20 (4.6%) admitted they will read a work document in the washroom, increasing the chance of germs and bacteria spreading across the workforce.
Worryingly, over a quarter (27%) of UK employees admit to not washing their hands every time they visit the washroom, ignoring the danger of passing on germs and viruses through handshakes or the surfaces they touch.
Commenting on the findings, Dr Peter Barratt, technical director, Initial Hygiene said:
“It may sound like a terrible pun but businesses and employees alike can’t just wash their hands of the issue. As the flu and Norovirus season looms on the horizon, we all need to take more responsibility to improve our hand hygiene.”
Despite spending significant amounts of time in the washroom, 40% of UK office workers rated their office washrooms as only average or below average. Well over a third (39%) believes their job satisfaction would be improved with better office hygiene. Many employees are also willing to play their part with 43% believing there is a collective responsibility of all employees to maintain better office hygiene.
Dr Peter Barratt continues:
“Employers need to ensure the right facilities are available as well as providing plenty of soap, sanitising gels and hand drying equipment. It’s a small investment, but as the research shows, improved hygiene in the office can have a big impact on levels of job satisfaction, which in turn helps businesses to succeed.”
Global Handwashing Day is supported by over 200 million people in over 100 countries, and highlights the fact that proper hand washing, with soap or antibacterial products, is the most effective way to reduce the spread of infections.
*UK results, specific to the responses of over 1000 UK office workers surveyed.
Research carried out by independent research company, Opinion Matters, on behalf of Initial Hygiene, in September 2013 Calculated by multiplying the mean number of visits to the washroom each day with the mean length of time (in minutes) per trip to calculate the average amount of time per day. When multiplied against a five day working week and then a 47 week working year (taking into account the average UK holiday allocation of 25 days per year), you have the total time spent per employee each year. Divided by 60 (minutes to hours) gives you the mean amount of time spent per year.