bathroom

What do sleeping, eating and crying have in common? Well, what happens in the workplace washroom may be a bit more surprising than you’d think.

The 2014 SCA Hygiene Matters survey revealed some interesting bathroom activities, showing that an unexpected number of Americans have used their workplace restrooms for more than their intended use. In fact, 20% of workplace restroom visits in the U.S. are unrelated to actually using the toilet.

You might say the stall has become a refuge of sorts. Some of the abnormal activities include talking on the phone (23%), crying (10%), working (9%), eating (8%), exercising (7%) and napping (5%). And, one in five Americans have used their workplace bathroom for either alone time or to let go of frustration.

Although respondents admitted to participating in these irregular restroom activities, many also had concerns about hygiene standards in public spaces – workplaces included.

Specifically due to concerns about hygiene standards:

  • More than half (52%) of females refrained from using a public toilet, compared to 44% for their male counterparts.
  • Roughly a quarter (26%) of females refrained from showering or swimming in a public gym, compared to exactly a quarter of males.
  • Men were slightly more likely to refrain from visiting a café, pub or restaurant (14%) compared to women (12%).
  • 36% of Americans noted that they wish their employer would pay more attention to the restroom, and 13% reported being entirely unsatisfied with their workplace washroom.
  • A quarter of respondents preferred not to use their workplace washroom at all.

With these unconventional washroom activities and the fact that some still refuse to even use a public restroom, it’s time to take greater responsibility to increase hygiene standards – and it’s up to you, as the employer or facility manager, to improve hygiene in the unlikely retreat of the workplace washroom.