Washrooms - first impressions count

27th of October 2016
Washrooms - first impressions count

When it comes to washrooms, first impressions are everything. To provide a pleasant environment businesses need to get all the aspects of a washroom’s design and maintenance right. Paul Jakeway, marketing director at Deb, explains why a modern dispenser system can enhance the washroom experience.

When you enter a public washroom, what is it that you notice? It might be the cleanliness of the surfaces, or whether or not the cubicle doors lock properly. It might be the availability of toilet tissue, or the state the toilet seats are in. It might be whether or not there is soap available, or what the hand drying facilities are like.

For most people, it is probably a combination of these aspects – and if even just one of them fails to meet your expectations, you are likely to feel negative about the environment. When it comes to washrooms first impressions are everything.

If you are confronted with a dirty washroom at a restaurant, you might wonder if the lack of cleanliness you are experiencing in the front of house could be present in the kitchen too. If it is an office you are visiting, you might wonder: what else is this company neglectful about? Using a washroom as an employee, you might wonder how much your company really values you.

People might make such assumptions consciously or subconsciously. Either way, they can have serious consequences for the business or the workplace that provides the washroom. Research consistently shows the importance washroom appearances have for customers and employees. According to a survey by Zogby International, for instance, more than 80 per cent of consumers would avoid visiting a restaurant with a dirty washroom.

Most businesses and workplaces are of course aware of this situation, and many of them have made clean and pleasant washrooms a priority. Doing so requires a thought-through strategy. Because the failure of even just one aspect of a washroom can ruin the experience for the visitor – with all the negative consequences this can have – it is important to pay close attention to all of them.

Obviously, cleanliness is key. It goes without saying that regular cleaning is the first step to a well-presented washroom. A transparent rota should be in place for this. If this is publicly displayed, it can further increase the confidence of those using the facility.

The toilets and the washbasins should be well-maintained. Regular checks can help to keep everything functioning, and when something stops working, it should be repaired as soon as possible.

But for a washroom to be appealing, it needs to be more than clean and functioning. Design matters. This includes basics such as the washbasin, or cubicle doors – but attention should also be paid to any additional equipment that needs to be installed for a washroom to meet the standard a visitor can expect.

Working dispensers

Functioning dispensers for soap are a crucial element for any washroom environment. Their absence – or their failure to work properly – is something many users will notice immediately, with reactions ranging from mild annoyance to outright anger. And however well-maintained a washroom might be, the environment can be totally ruined by a shabby-looking dispenser installation.

Integrating dispensers into a washroom environment used to be quite hard. All too often, soap dispensers were eyesores. Facility managers viewed them as mere necessities and not much time was spent choosing them. In recent times,dispenser design has made huge advances with equipment generally looking much slicker, and more stylish.

It is now possible for businesses to customise dispensers, which opens up a range of new possibilities. Dispensers can not only be styled to blend in perfectly with their environment – using a matching colour scheme, say – they can also carry messages or logos.

Companies can work with dispenser providers to create equipment that reflects their brand identity. Companies should also look for BioCote marked dispensers; a market leading antimicrobial technology supplier proven to achieve up to a 99.99 per cent reduction in bacteria, mould and fungi over a 24 hour period.

This means a washroom can become much more than a required facility. The thoughtful design and integration of dispensers can allow businesses to further their brand identity, while providing users with an excellent service. This can work both ways: visitors associate a pleasant washroom with a company’s brand, and they associate a company’s brand with a pleasant washroom.

By tailoring dispensers, businesses can create washrooms that do not merely fulfil basic standards – but become environments with a difference. Visitors might remember such washrooms, and they might even tell others about them.

The installation of a well-designed, reliable dispenser system comes with an added benefit. If soap is readily available – from dispensers that work and are easy to use – visitors are much more likely to wash their hands properly.

This is of particular importance for washrooms in workplaces. The skin health of employees should be a concern of employers. Occupational skin disease is a serious health issue that goes largely unnoticed; an invisible threat that affects both an organisation’s efficiency and the health and wellbeing of its employees.

Implementing skincare best practice is essential to maintain healthy skin and reduce the risk of occupational skin disease. Besides the regular cleansing of hands, using soap, a best practice regime also consists of applying protective and restorative creams. Modern dispenser systems can provide users of washrooms with a way to adhere to all three steps.

Cost savings should be considered too. Thanks to advances in hand hygiene products, modern systems tend to dispense no more than a controlled amount of soap or cream, making them much more cost-effective. Manufactured from durable plastic components and tested for high usage environments, modern dispensers are built to last.

Making use of all these advances, businesses and workplaces are able to create washrooms that exceed visitor expectations – providing them with much more than a mere ‘facility’. Achieving this does not have to be costly, or time-intensive. Business and workplaces can work closely with providers of dispensers, choosing a system that meets their individual needs. Should the dispensers be smaller in size to fit into a compact environment? Is touch-free the right solution?

How many dispensers will be needed?

The right products should also be carefully chosen. In some cases a cost-effective, universal soap might be preferable, while in others luxury foam could be a better choice. If protective or restorative creams should be part of the offering, which products are best suited to the particular needs of a business?

Anecdotal experience tells that, once a new dispenser system is in place, other aspects of a washroom might improve as well. Visitors tend to be more mindful of environments with noticeable new additions and, if they show more care for the washroom environment as a result, life will become easier for the cleaning personnel.

Regular cleaning; proper maintenance; and a thoughtful, well-executed design, including a modern dispenser system – all these need to play their part in creating a washroom environment that fulfils its purpose well. It’s in the combination of these elements that such an environment can become truly outstanding.

If businesses or workplaces get all of them right, they have an opportunity to create washrooms that leave a lasting impression on those using them – be they customers, visitors, or employees.
Imagine entering a public washroom, and what you notice is this.

All the surfaces are spotlessly clean. The cubicle doors lock without problems. There is plenty of good quality toilet paper. The toilet seats are new and clean, the hand drying facilities excellent. And luxurious foam hand wash soap is available from dispensers that do not merely blend in perfectly with their stylish environment, but also proudly carry the name of the business that provides the washroom.



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