Maintenance and Operations, Plumbing, Safety

Study: What COVID-Era Workers Want Most in Office Restrooms

When it comes to restroom breaks, office workers in the U.S. say that touchless restroom fixtures are the No. 1 feature that would make them feel safer when using their workplace restroom, according to a new survey.

In the Healthy Handwashing Survey, conducted by restroom equipment manufacturer Bradley Corp., touch-free washroom fixtures received the highest safety ranking, followed by access to well-stocked supplies such as soap and paper towels; a clean, disinfectant smell; sufficient space for social distancing; and posted signage with the restroom’s cleaning schedule.

Courtesy: Bradley Corp.

Not only do they associate touchless fixtures with a safer restroom environment, but office workers also view them as must-haves. Nearly four-in-five (79%) of office workers believe no-touch fixtures are an important feature in workplace restrooms. Among the general U.S. population, this sentiment is even higher—84% say they are important in public restrooms.

“Interestingly, two-thirds of office workers use a paper towel to avoid touching restroom door handles, flushers, and faucet handles,” said Jon Dommisse, vice president of marketing and corporate communications at Bradley Corp. “This evasive action further demonstrates why touch-free restroom fixtures resonate so much with restroom users.”

Handwashing is also top-of-mind for office workers, as 70% report washing their hands more now because of new COVID strains, such as the Delta variant. Overall, half of office workers are washing their hands six-plus times a day.

“Just as 9-11 changed air travel and the iPod changed how we listen to music, COVID has changed how we view handwashing and washrooms,” Dommisse said.

Rating the Condition of Workplace Restrooms

The survey also shows 75% of office workers believe the condition of a workplace restroom is one indicator of how a company values its workforce. Fortunately, 68% of office workers rate their restrooms as excellent or very good.

That’s not to say office workers don’t experience problems with workplace restrooms. According to the survey, 81% have encountered at least one issue while using them. The most annoying issues—cited by 62% of workers—are empty or non-working soap, paper towel, and/or toilet paper dispensers. Another 62% are concerned with restroom cleanliness.

Highlighting Office Hygiene Improvements

Most employers (62%) have made improvements to make employees feel safer returning to work amidst the pandemic with upgrades such as adding hand sanitizing stations around the office (66%), cleaning offices and restrooms more frequently (65%), and encouraging employees to stay home while they’re sick (51%).

Interestingly, only 42% of companies have communicated these changes to their employees.

Sharing these improvements positively impacts employers, since 53% of office workers say their employer’s response to the pandemic makes them feel more valued, 50% say it shows the company cares about its employees, and 35% say it makes them feel more positive about their company.