Health

Is your office bathroom making you sick?

Is the toilet in your office or place of work filthy? It could be making you sick.

New research by Showerstoyou.co.uk has revealed that a significant number of illnesses causing staff to take time off work are contracted from dirty office environments.

What’s more, poor hygiene and cleanliness in office bathrooms are instensifying the problem and putting workers’ health at risk.

Showerstoyou.co.uk which, of course, sells bathroom supplies, set out to find out more about employees’ bathroom dislikes and their colleagues’ dirty toilet habits by polling more than 1,400 UK men and women working across a range of industries.

It says the findings are shocking:

  • More than half of workers (51%) have been ‘appalled’ by the state of their office bathroom at least once, over the space of six months, and just under half (48%) of people worry about going to the bathroom at work, in fear of being greeted by an unclean, smelly environment.
  • One in 10 would give the bathroom a miss altogether if they could.

Despite this, a staggering seven in 10 (74%) claim to leave the bathroom ‘in the same way they would like to find it’ and make a conscious effort to ensure the cubicle is acceptable and tidy once finished with.

The survey found that the bathroom now has several uses – perhaps accounting for
the extent of dirt and grime found at work.

The alternative uses of office bathrooms include applying make-up, discussing work, checking social media, catching up on emails and texts, making calls, and gossiping.

When workers were questioned on how long they typically spend in the office bathroom, the results varied depending on the situation. Some would rather be in and out (43%), while others will use the opportunity to take a break from their work (31%).

29% of office workers admit to taking their phone into a cubicle, with a large number admitting to just sitting in the cubicle playing games, or browsing the internet, and not using the toilet for its primary purpose.

73% are more likely to wash their hands when in the presence of another colleague, either for a longer amount of time, or when they normally wouldn’t.

These were the most common reason for people not washing their hands after using the bathroom:

• A queue at the sink/hand-dryer (28%)
• Dirty sink (24%)
• A bad smell (17%)
• Couldn’t be bothered (13%)
• No soap/sanitiser (10%)
• Fear of colleagues being judgemental for taking too long (8%)

More than two thirds (68%) of people said they feel ‘disgusted’ when they notice a colleague not washing their hands and a third (34%) of workers would consider confronting them over poor hygiene and cleanliness in the bathroom.

According to the study, the biggest pet peeves cited by office workers are:

1. Colleagues not flushing the toilet after use (39%)
2. Not replacing toilet roll (24%)
3. Leaving make-up/dirt around the sink (16%)
4. Not putting rubbish in the bin (12%)
5. Having conversations in the bathroom (9%)

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