It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of workplace conditions, but the state of restrooms – it turns out – is very important to American workers. In fact, the vast majority of workers – 89 percent - believe the condition of a workplace restroom is one indicator of how a company values its workforce.
The good news: 2/3 of American workers describe their restrooms as “excellent” or “very good.”
The bad news: six out of ten workers have seen colleagues leave restrooms without washing their hands. That’s a marked increase from the 2016 survey when less than half (42%) said they had witnessed a co-worker skip hand washing.
Bathroom hygiene can have a considerable affect on the overall health of the workforce, and many workers seem to be aware of this. The survey found 70% of Americans ramp up their hand washing practices during the flu season. Their hygiene actions include washing more frequently and more thoroughly or longer after using a public restroom. Respondents said that they avoid shaking hands with sick colleagues and wash their own hands more frequently when they are working near someone who is sick.
And, to avoid getting or passing germs on to others, they utilize a three-pronged approach – wash their hands more frequently, stay home when they’re sick and sneeze into the crook of their elbow. They even change the way they greet people. They wave hello, avoid shaking hands altogether or use a fist bump instead.
“It’s positive news to find out that Americans are consistently using hand washing as their first line of defense against contracting a cold or flu,” says Jon Dommisse, director of global marketing and strategic development at Bradley Corp.
Almost half of workers report having experienced "issues" with restrooms in their workplace – and that number is increasing. The top complaints: unpleasant smells, clogged or unflushed toilets and empty or jammed toilet paper dispensers.
Tops on the respondents’ wish lists for restroom improvements: touchless fixtures and more air freshener. Shelving for belongings and electric hand dryers would also be welcome.