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UK office workers come clean over washroom hygiene and habits


Initial Washroom Hygiene, one of the UK’s leading hygiene and washroom service companies, has today revealed that office workers are likely to spend an incredible 41 hours in the company washroom each year, the equivalent of more than one whole week at work . The findings from an independent global study of 6,000 office workers into their hygiene habits and workplace hygiene, which was commissioned by Initial, also indicates that men are more likely to spend longer in the washroom than their female counterparts – equating to almost an extra four hours each year.

Office Washroom Hygiene

Further findings revealed that almost one in 10 (9.8%) of office workers admit to using their mobile to surf the internet and use Twitter while in the washroom, and nearly one in 20 (4.6%) admitted they will read a work document in the washroom, increasing the chance of germs and bacteria spreading across the workforce.

Worryingly, over a quarter (27%) of UK employees admit to not washing their hands every time they visit the washroom, ignoring the danger of passing on germs and viruses through handshakes or the surfaces they touch.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Peter Barratt, Technical Director, Initial Hygiene said: “It may sound like a terrible pun but businesses and employees alike can’t just wash their hands of the issue. As the flu and Norovirus season looms on the horizon, we all need to take more responsibility to improve our hand hygiene. Employers need to ensure the right facilities are available as well as providing plenty of soap, sanitising gels and hand drying equipment. It’s a small investment, but as the research shows, improved hygiene in the office can have a big impact on levels of job satisfaction, which in turn helps businesses to succeed.”

Despite spending significant amounts of time in the washroom, 40% of UK office workers rated their office washrooms as only average or below average. Well over a third (39%) believes their job satisfaction would be improved with better office hygiene. Many employees are also willing to play their part with 43% believing there is a collective responsibility of all employees to maintain better office hygiene.

Dr Peter Barratt continues: “As Global Handwashing Day (Tuesday, 15 October 2013) approaches, we hope the research will act as a timely reminder to us all to think about our own hygiene habits and improve them. Global Handwashing Day is supported by over 200 million people in over 100 countries, and highlights the fact that proper hand washing, with soap or antibacterial products, is the most effective way to reduce the spread of infections.”

Initial has dedicated over four years to extensively researching the impact of hygiene in the workplace, leading to the development of its new Signature range, launched last month. This new, design-led range of products is unique to Initial and delivers style straight into the washroom. Signature has been creatively thought out to encourage good hygiene behaviour among users when visiting washrooms away from the home, helping to reduce many of the cross contamination risks which arise in all shared washrooms.

Signature products feature antibacterial silver ions embedded within the plastic and painted coatings to provide hygienic protection on key touchable areas, whilst also incorporating covers specifically designed to be smooth, making it easier for dirt, debris and bacteria to be cleaned and removed from the surfaces. Further details on the Signature range can be found at