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Filthy bathrooms under the spotlight

Posted on: Monday, February 29th, 2016

Filthy and unclean loos can have a negative impact on a company’s bottom line, according to new findings.

A study published by Initial Washroom Hygiene found that many firms are not meeting minimum standards for their loos and failing to provide the correct amenities.

The research showed that over one fifth of small businesses are failing to meet the legal requirements for the number of toilets in their office, causing long queues and delays as a result.

More than half of employees polled for the study said they regularly had to wait to use the washroom facilities in their office.

On average, this wastes about seven minutes per week, equivalent to more than five hours every year.

Some 2,000 workers were polled for the research which highlighted the impact that such facilities were having on productivity.

Speaking about the findings, Dr Peter Barratt from Initial Washroom Hygiene said: “It’s essential for employers to provide their workers with sufficient numbers of toilet facilities, and to ensure that these are clean and well-presented. 

“Failure to do so not only ignores their legal duty, but turns a blind eye to the effect that this can have on both employees and customers.”

The figures showed that one fifth of SME employees (19 per cent) said they are unhappy with the standard of washrooms at their workplace.

Of that number, two fifths (41 per cent) said it is because there are not enough toilets, while the same number were unhappy with the surfaces in the bathroom.

However, lost productivity is just one problem that many firms face as a result of unclean or dirty bathrooms.

Almost one third (32 per cent) of office workers said their business has been negatively affected by the standard of their washroom.

Seven per cent claimed that clients and customers had made negative comments about the state of their bathrooms, while three per cent said they had actually lost business because their washrooms are in such a bad state.

Mr Barratt added: “A shabby, under-stocked or unavailable washroom can paint a business in a very bad light. The washroom is often the first and last place a customer will see when visiting your office; and as we all know, these first and last impressions count for a lot.”

However bathrooms are not the only areas that are a cause of concern among most employers.

The findings also showed that just under half (44 per cent) said that they had experienced increased pressure on the amount of space in their office, with reduced work spaces (71 per cent), meeting rooms (43 per cent) and car parking spaces (50 per cent) coming under particular strain.

The study has helped to shed light on the clear cost burden on firms that fail to implement minimum standards in their bathrooms.