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A hands on approach

Charlotte-Branwhite-handhygiene-without-the-pain-FMJ-Oct13With Global Handwashing Day taking place on 15October, Charlotte Branwhite from SCA takes a look at washroom hygiene.

A survey carried out by Tork manufacturer SCA has revealed that 35 per cent of people consider the washrooms at work to be dirty. And 25 per cent of us are nervous about picking up an infection from the washrooms at work. So how can a facilities manager equip the workplace washroom to maximise hygiene, inspire staff confidence and improve the company’s image for visitors?

Most of us spend more time in the workplace than we do anywhere else – even our own homes.

So workplace managers need to provide premises that are both attractive and comfortable in order to keep staff happy.

There are several reasons why it is important to provide comfortable surroundings for the workforce. For one thing it will encourage employees to stay with the company, which means that any valuable investment in training will not go to waste.

A second reason is that a contented member of staff will be more productive and loyal than a disgruntled employee. And with today’s increasing focus on corporate social responsibility, there is a corporate social responsibility obligation on the part of employers to provide staff with pleasant working surroundings.

The workplace also acts as a showcase for the company itself, of course, and provides visitors and customers with that all-important first impression of the organisation and its brand values.

And a good workplace is not only about smart desks, well-equipped workbenches and attractive offices. Attention should also be paid to the washrooms since this is the one area of the workplace that everyone – or at least, nearly everyone – will visit during their working day.

We at Tork have carried out several studies into people’s attitudes about washrooms at work. One, carried out by Easyresearch/Questback, revealed that around 12 per cent of British respondents rarely or never used the toilet at work, preferring to either use a toilet outside the workplace or wait until they return home.

The study, which questioned 2,500 Europeans, showed that 35 per cent of us often think the workplace washroom appears to be dirty, while only 21 per cent feel it always seems clean. And 25 per cent of us are concerned at the possibility of picking up an infection from a workplace washroom. Most employees’ top priority was that the toilets at work should be clean and fresh-smelling, and that liquid soap and paper towels should be provided.

Meanwhile a second survey carried out for SCA by United Minds revealed that a surprising number of people look upon the workplace washroom as a “window” to the company and its performance. A total of 65 per cent of people questioned claimed to pay particular attention to the design of washroom fixtures when first visiting a workplace. And around the same number felt that a company with an attractive décor was likely to be more successful.

The study, which questioned 500 people in the UK, also revealed that 72 per cent felt the cleanliness of the washrooms at work to be an important factor as to whether or not they enjoyed their jobs.

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