Most men and women (89 per cent) judge how a workplace values its employees by the condition of the restroom, according to the 2015 Healthy Hand Washing Survey. The survey, released on Sept. 7, was conducted by Bradley Corporation, a manufacturer of commercial plumbing fixtures, bathroom accessories, partition cubicles, emergency fixtures and solid plastic lockers.
While 91 per cent of respondents rated their workplace restrooms fairly high, nine per cent rated theirs as poor or terrible. Even in highly rated bathrooms, 42 per cent of employees have experienced issues, such as unflushed toilets, unpleasant smells and towel and soap dispensers that were empty, didn’t work or didn’t dispense enough product.
When it comes to retail locations and businesses, unpleasant bathroom experiences create negative opinions of the business. Sixty-nine per cent of consumers associate bad restroom conditions with poor management. Most consumers that experience poor restroom conditions also say that it lowers their opinion of the company and shows the business doesn’t care about its customers.
The survey also revealed a gender divide in hand-washing habits, with women being more diligent when it comes to hand hygiene in the workplace. Forty-six per cent of men surveyed have frequently or occasionally seen colleagues leave the bathroom without washing their hands, while 32 per cent of women have reported the same.
Outside of the workplace, almost 75 per cent of women say they always wash their hands after using the bathroom, but only 59 per cent of men say they always do.
“We’ve looked at hand washing habits for a number of years and women consistently outperform men with their hand hygiene,” said Jon Dommisse, director of global marketing and strategic development at Bradley Corporation, in a press release. “When asked why they didn’t wash up after using a public restroom, men consistently say they didn’t feel the need. We’ve also found men are more likely than women to skip the soap and simply rinse their hands.”
Although both men and women in the office have differing hand hygiene, when colleagues are sick, the majority of both men and women respond by washing their hands more frequently. Some workers have other strategies: 62 per cent of people avoid the sick person, 55 per cent stand further away when speaking with the sick person and 53 per cent avoid shaking hands with the sick person.
The Healthy Hand Washing Survey reached 1,030 American adults, who answered questions online about their hand-washing habits at work and in public restrooms. It also asked them about their concerns with germs, colds and the flu. Participants aged 18 to 65 came from across the country, with a fairly even split between men and women (47 and 53 per cent).