Workplace Washroom Standards Soar To Top Of The Agenda

Date posted: 4.12.2020

Simon Rice is managing director of HSG in Derby’s Pride Park – a long-established washroom services company which gained The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation in 2018 for its vanguard product, the Ureco washroom water conservation system.

Who would have thought that one of main impacts of the Covid pandemic has been that workplace washrooms are now recognised as a top priority for the health and wellbeing of staff, customers and visitors?

Whether that is an office, factory, restaurant or leisure complex – safe, clean and functioning washrooms have always been a basic human requirement.

I and colleagues in the washroom services industry have been banging the drum for years that businesses need to take their responsibilities seriously.

Now, these unprecedented times have reminded us all that hand washing is vitally important to prevent the spread of this and other viruses and diseases.

Therefore, under the ‘new normal’, dirty washrooms send out a clear message that a workplace or venue does not take the health and wellbeing of their staff, customers and visitors seriously.

This does not just mean clean sinks and floors – it is about properly flushing toilets and urinals, well-stocked soap and towel dispensers and the opportunity to give feedback on both good facilities and issues that need to be addressed.

Investing in washroom facilities also makes good business sense.

Customers have raised expectations and will, more than ever, judge the cleanliness of what they don’t see - particularly the kitchens - by the standard of the washrooms and will make their buying choice accordingly.

Our technical team has continued to work throughout lockdown servicing our Ureco water conservation system in vital service venues such as Tesco supermarkets who recognised at the outset that their customers had raised expectations of washroom facilities.

They have also been carrying out hygiene audits in businesses across the East Midlands to help them be Covid-safe.

The feedback from businesses is encouraging with an increasing number recognising that hand sanitisers and social distancing floor mats are obviously important but that good washroom facilities are a major priority.

None of us could have foreseen the impact of this virulent virus but what can businesses do to survive further incidents that could have an impact equal to Covid?

Just as we have seen how good hygiene can keep us safe and keep this virus at bay, we also need to recognise that washrooms are actually the highest water usage area in most businesses.

Flushing excessive amounts of water literally down the pan does not make economic or environmental sense.

Put this into the context of the latest UN report on the state of the world’s water supply which warns that more than five billion people across the world could suffer water shortages by 2050 largely due to climate change and increased demand.

This could potentially have an equally devastating impact on our lives at home, work and play and it is important to build this and other factors into a business’s risk assessment.

However, simple but highly-effective measures can be taken to reduce water consumption and save money on water bills – which is vital as uncertainty builds around the economy and the likely impact of a pending recession.

Good quality washrooms are therefore not just an ‘inconvenience’ to consider in the workplace – they are important for the health and wellbeing of us all and are likely to continue to be so for many more reasons in the short, medium and longer terms.

As the UK continues to move out of lockdown, my plea to businesses in all sectors is that they continue on the path of putting first class washroom facilities which are also economically and environmentally effective at the top of the agenda.

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