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Behind Closed Cubicles: The Truth About Our Workplace Washrooms [Infographic]

If you thought that your workplace washrooms were used for nothing more than, well, the most obvious reasons, then prepare to be surprised. The latest Hygiene Matters survey by Tork manufacturer SCA has thrown open the (cubicle) doors and shed light on what really takes place in our workplace washrooms, and the findings are quite astounding – and sometimes rather disgusting!

SCA discovered that while washrooms are mostly used for the expected bodily functions, they can become something of a sanctuary for busy or stressed-out working people. When times get tough, the washroom becomes a place of solitude or even for socialising, where workers can take a break from their desks and enjoy the silence, or indulge in a private gossip or catch-up with their co-workers.

A whopping 15% of people admitted that they use their workplace washroom as a place to escape to when they need a little alone time, with 1 in 10 (11%) saying that taking a break in the washroom helps them to release frustration. And unsurprisingly, 7% of the people surveyed have headed to the washroom when they need to have a good cry.

But another 1 in 10 (10%) of people have used the washroom as a meeting room of sorts and conducted a face-to-face chat with a co-worker, whereas a quarter (25%) like to chat on the phone in the washroom – and a fifth (19%) have hidden away in there to send text messages or use a chat app, away from the prying eyes of their bosses.

However these uses are nothing compared to the more unusual purposes that people have ‘tapped’ into for their workplace washrooms – 6% of people have on their laptop from the loo and 4% have used them to rehearse a presentation, but many even confessed to using them as a comfortable spot for reading (9%), napping (3%), exercising (3%) and even, most worryingly, eating (5%)!

Does your workplace washroom hygiene ‘sink’ or swim?

As so many myriad uses have been discovered for workplace washrooms, employers now have more reasons than ever to keep their hygiene levels up to scratch. And since well over a third (40%) of British respondents to the Hygiene Matters survey said that they wished their employers would pay more attention to their workplace washroom cleanliness, chances are that an overhaul of your washroom cleaning regime would be well-received.

Of course while you shouldn’t actively encourage your employees to eat, nap or lounge around in the washroom, everyone benefits from having a pleasant place to take those necessary comfort breaks. The findings of the Hygiene Matters survey suggest that women in particular would appreciate a cleaner washroom, as a tenth of Brits believe that women are affected more by poor standards of hygiene in public and shared toilets, so make a conscious effort to provide bins for the disposal of feminine hygiene products to keep women’s washrooms clean and tidy at all times.

For even more surprising findings about workplace washrooms from SCA’s Hygiene Matters survey, take a look at our infographic below. Which one of those statistics surprises you the most? Are you guilty of using your workplace washroom for less ‘traditional’ uses too, and how do you feel about its cleanliness? Leave us a message in the comments section below – we’re ‘flushed’ with anticipation to hear your thoughts.

Infographic with statistics on the uses for workplace washrooms, including unusual uses for workplace washrooms and how women use them. Statistics from SCA Hygiene Matters Survey 2014

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