How Can Washroom Services Improve Your Employees’ Work Environment
24th December 2020
Being an employer includes an entire host of responsibilities, some far more demanding than others. Arguably, however, one of the most important parts of being an employer is the wellbeing of your employees. A positive work environment can lead to a more relaxed and productive atmosphere, as well as good company culture.
Usually when we talk about employee wellbeing, we see fresh food and a cycle to work scheme, subscriptions to meditation apps and fresh fruit delivered into the office. But wellbeing is not just about how often we walk to work or a fancy nap pod. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your employees is to provide them with basic facilities that are reliable, functional and hygienic. That could be a kitchenette, a well designed office space, and especially, the staff washrooms.
Still such an underappreciated facility, washroom facilities of any kind are often the first to be neglected and passed over and this can cause significant problems not only for your staff, but for your company as a whole.
Duty of Care
If you have separate washroom facilities for your staff and your clients, then this is one of the few places that is hidden and invisible; almost like a backstage area. In fact, even in offices and businesses where there is just one communal washroom, that doesn’t always guarantee quality. Simply put, washrooms are usually treated as an afterthought, rather than something that deserves reasonable attention and financial investment. With so much controversy surrounding some companies attempting to not pay their staff for bathroom breaks, let alone create a pleasant space for them, a decent washroom space will make your employees feel truly valued.
Of course, not every company will have the resources to provide the perfect washroom for the employees, even if they have the best intentions. In situations like these, it’s always the little touches that prove to your staff that you have thought about more than the bare minimum. Don’t just make sure that the soaps and hand towels are topped up, but go out of your way to buy a nicer hand soap or maybe even a moisturiser to accompany it by the sink. At a reed diffuser to the windowsill or some fake flowers.
Details do not have to cost the earth, but it’s often the thought that counts and a bathroom in need of refurbishment is far more likely to be forgiven if employees can tell that an effort has been made to improve the space.
Speaking of things that do not have to cost the earth, but make a world of difference. Look at anyone’s list of most common complaints regarding company or public toilets, and you’re bound to come across hygiene issues at the top of that list. It would seem logical that considering the bacteria and germs that can so easily live in an area such as a common washroom, that facilities managers or employers would be more attuned to what is and isn’t an acceptable standard of hygiene.
Particularly in 2020, hygiene has been shown to be one of our most vital priorities, simply to try and survive this pandemic. And let’s be honest, if the handwashing tutorials being shared early on during the pandemic were any indication, many of us have failed at basic hygiene, especially when it comes to washroom behaviour.
However, as bad as we may be at washing our hands, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t expect a good standard of cleanliness when we do our business. Ensuring that toilets are always unclogged, that surfaces should be wiped down and that bins are regularly emptied, should be basic practice for any employer or facilities manager, now more than ever. For those in essential work or those hoping to return to the office environment soon, there is nothing more important right now than maintaining good hygiene and that means everywhere, not just at our desks.
Lack of hygiene can cause people a significant amount of stress when using the toilet at work, particularly these days, but that’s not the only reason employees may feel stressed when nature calls.
Privacy is a huge concern for many, and a washroom facility with thin cubicle doors does little to provide any solace if using the toilet while others are listening bothers you. Some have playfully nicknamed this problem ‘poo anxiety’ but it ultimately comes down to feeling vulnerable in a public place. Even changing a sanitary towel can be a stressful experience in a silent washroom. It’s not uncommon for employees to either hold out at their desks for a chance at a quiet moment, or not use the company toilets at all, opting instead to try and go at home.
Of course purposefully avoiding the toilet is not only unhealthy and can lead to great discomfort, but also does not bode well for productivity or concentration at work. While it may not be at the top of an employers’ priority list, attempting to create that little bit of privacy can do wonders for helping to relax your employees. Simply adding something as simple as a radio or ambient noise into the room will certainly save you an expensive redesign, but also save some of your staff members a great deal of stress.
Sense of Pride
Everyone wants to be proud of the company they work in and spend the majority of their time at. Some people end up spending more time in their place of work than in their own homes, using their own toilets.
While it may not be the first thing we think of when it comes to company pride, washroom facilities can be the source of a great deal of pride. Remember, when it comes to public washrooms, most of us are used to subpar standards; an impressive bathroom will certainly leave a lasting impression.
Even the existence of the Loo of the Year Awards suggests that washroom design, hygiene and facilities are all things that are important to us, but that these demands are not being met. A bad washroom experience ends up on Tripadvisor, whereas a good one will usually end up on Instagram. As an employer, helping your employees to feel that way about their own company does wonders for loyalty as well as general company ethos and atmosphere.
Washrooms may still be the unsung heroes of public facilities, and it’s certainly not the most glamorous thing that a company can spend their money on, but the benefits of good washroom facilities cannot be overstated. Using the bathroom is a basic human need and washroom facilities are just as much a part of a business as an office or a meeting room. Treating them with the same level of care sends a clear message and shows employees that their hygiene and wellbeing is taken seriously.
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