Can you guess typical employee restroom behavior? Do your restrooms show employees that the company values them?

by Brianna Crandall — September 20, 2017 — Facility executives might ask themselves whether their workplace restrooms “work” for its employees, according to a new survey by Bradley Corporation, designer and manufacturer of commercial washroom and emergency safety products.

The results of the Healthy Hand Washing Survey show 89% of Americans believe the condition of workplace restrooms is one indicator of how a company values its workforce. And, even though 67% of workers rank their restrooms as excellent or very good, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, says Bradley.

Employee wish list and issues

According to the annual survey, workers would like to have more touchless fixtures, such as automatic toilets and motion-activated faucets, and air freshener at their disposal. Full-length mirrors, shelving for belongings, and electric hand dryers are also on their wish list.

The requests make sense since nearly half say they have experienced issues with their workplace restrooms that a little deodorizer or automatic fixtures could address. The top complaints uncovered by the survey were unpleasant smells, clogged or unflushed toilets, and empty or jammed toilet paper dispensers.

Hand-washing behaviors

The survey also explored hand-washing behaviors in and out of the workplace. A full 61% of workers say they have seen a colleague leave the restroom without washing his or her hands. That’s a marked increase from the 2016 survey when less than half (42%) said they had witnessed a co-worker skip hand washing, notes Bradley Corp.

Bradley infographic about washing hands

A full 61% of workers say they have seen a colleague leave the restroom without washing his or her hands. (Click to enlarge.)

When it comes to sick colleagues, the overwhelming majority of survey respondents consciously take steps to protect themselves. They avoid the person, abstain from shaking his or her hand, and wash their own hands more frequently.

Precautionary measures also show up outside of work. The survey found 70% of Americans ramp up their hand-washing practices during the flu season. Their hygiene actions include washing more frequently and more thoroughly or longer after using a public restroom.

And, to avoid getting or passing germs on to others, they utilize a three-pronged approach — wash their hands more frequently, stay home when they’re sick, and sneeze into the crook of their elbow. They even change the way they greet people. They wave hello, avoid shaking hands altogether or use a fist bump instead.

Jon Dommisse, director of global marketing and strategic development at Bradley Corp., commented:

It’s positive news to find out that Americans are consistently using hand washing as their first line of defense against contracting a cold or flu.

The 2017 Healthy Hand Washing Survey queried 1,042 American adults online. Participants were from around the country, were 18 years and older, and were fairly evenly split between men and women (49% and 51%). The company has conducted the Healthy Hand Washing Survey since 2009. More survey results and infographics covering workplace restrooms and hand washing are available online.