We’ve come across research which claims that a third of UK workers admit to being on their smartphone while using the toilet, and almost one in 12 even consume food and drink there!
The study questioned 1,000 office workers in the UK to understand the state of handwashing habits in office environments, and revealed some major concerns about the spread of germs in the workplace.
A third (32%) of UK workers questioned said that they use their smartphones while in the office washroom, with Facebook (60%), WhatsApp (36%), playing games and emailing (both 18%) the most popular activities. Also, 13% even admitted to making phone calls from the cubicle. Most worryingly of all, around one in 12 (8%) said they had eaten food in the office washroom.
It’s no wonder that British workers are concerned about their co-workers washroom habits. Almost half (49%) would be ‘disgusted’, and a quarter would be ‘concerned’, if they knew a colleague didn’t wash their hands after visiting the washroom. Almost four in 10 (38%) will avoid shaking hands with people they know have just left the washroom, while a quarter would be uncomfortable with a client or important business stakeholder using the same office toilets as the general workforce.
According to the World Health Organisation, hand hygiene is “the most important measure to avoid the transmission of harmful germs.” Thankfully, more than eight out of 10 (83%) of UK office workers claim to always wash their hands after visiting the washroom and 31% claim to wash their hands for more than 20 seconds every time. However, this good work could be undone by office workers’ unhygienic habits.
The survey also questioned office workers in Australia, France, Germany and Malaysia (1,000 in each country). The Germans lead the way in hand hygiene, with 87% of workers reporting to always wash their hands after using the washroom, compared with 83% in the UK, France, Australia and Malaysia. Brits are less likely to use their phone in the washroom than Australians and Malaysians (40%), but did not perform as well as the Germans (21%) and French (31%). Australians are the most likely to consume food and drinks in the washroom, with 11% of respondents admitting to that practice.
The research across the five nations also found 45% of workers who did not always wash their hands blamed external factors such as being in a hurry. The washroom environment was cited as the biggest contributory factor, with 50% of respondents blaming an aspect of the bathroom for driving them away. In fact, 16% said they avoid washing their hands when the smell is bad, 20% when there is no soap or towels, and 15% when the hand washing facility is not clean.
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