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Office workers 'spend a week in the washroom'

14 October 2013


UK office workers spend 41 hours in the company washroom each year, according to new research.


And, as Global Handwashing Day on October 15 approaches, one in four admitted they did not wash their hands after each visit to the washroom, increasing the potential for spreading germs and disease in the workplace, particularly during flu and Norovirus season.

A global study of 6,000 office workers by Initial Hygiene – where 1,000 of the respondents came from the UK – found that employees spent the equivalent of more than a week at work in the washroom every year on average. Men spent four hours more in the washroom than women.

As well as not washing their hands, a number of those surveyed (one in 20) admitted to reading a work document in the washroom, boosting the chances of germs and bacteria spreading across the workforce.

Dr Peter Barratt, technical director at Initial Hygiene, said: “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.”

The research also found that almost half (40 per cent) of UK office workers rated their office washrooms as average or below average. More than a third (39 per cent) said their job satisfaction would be better with improved office hygiene.

Dr Barratt added: “As Global Handwashing Day approaches, we hope the research will act as a timely reminder to us all to think about our own hygiene habits and improve them.”