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Image CC credit: Alena Navarro-Whyte

Unhygienic colleagues force 10% of workers to avoid using the toilet at work

A large majority of illnesses that result in employees needing time off work are contracted from dirty office environments. Poor hygiene and cleanliness in office bathrooms can intensify the problem further, and place workers’ health at risk. Thus, despite the ‘taboo’ surrounding the subject.

A survey by Showerstoyou.co.uk polled more than 1,400 UK men and women, employed in a wide number of industries, asking questions about their workplace bathroom, and what they truly think and feel about their co-worker’s bathroom habits.

The findings were shocking…

Over half of workers (51 per cent) have been ‘appalled’ by the state of their office bathroom at least once, over the space of six months, and just under half (48 per cent) 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 per cent) 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.

Showerstoyou.co.uk found from its survey that the bathroom now has several uses; perhaps the reason for the level of dirt and grime found at work. The alternative uses of office bathrooms include: putting on make-up, discussing work, going on social media, catching up on emails/texts – even calls – and gossiping.

When workers were questioned on how long they typically spend in the office bathroom, the results vary on the situation. Some would rather be in and out (43 per cent), however others will use the opportunity to take a break from their work (31 per cent). Twenty-nine per cent 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.

In the survey, for the most part, 73 per cent 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.

However, according to the analysis, Showerstoyou.co.uk found the following reasons why people do not wash their hands after using the bathroom:

  • A queue at the sink/hand-dryer (28 per cent)
  • Sink is dirty (24 per cent)
  • A bad smell (17 per cent)
  • Simply couldn’t be bothered (13 per cent)
  • No soap/sanitiser (10 per cent)
  • Fear of colleagues being judgemental for taking too long (8 per cent)

Over two thirds (68 per cent) of people feel ‘disgusted’ when they notice a colleague not washing their hands. Surprisingly, a third (34 per cent) of workers would consider confronting a colleague over poor hygiene and cleanliness in the bathroom.

According to Showerstoyou.co.uk analysis, the biggest pet peeves cited by office workers are as follows (number 1 being the worst):

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


About Sarah OBeirne

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