Insight

What does the toilet/bathroom tell you about your company?

By David Lawrence |

It's time to talk about toilets or bathroom for our North American readers. No, I haven't gone round the u-bend, this is a serious article (well, mostly) about how you can learn a lot about a company with just one look at its facilities.

 

When it comes to matters bathroom-related, we all have the same basic needs. That's why the law says that employers have to provide enough toilets for their workforce to use. Legally, though, as long as they exist, and are working, there's no national minimum standard for toilets. (Though there is such a thing as the "Loo of the Year Awards in the United Kingdom", rewarding those organisations which offer only the finest in flushing facilities for their teams.)

 

This lack of an enforceable standard is why some employers can get away with things that no person should have to suffer: bathrooms so unpleasant they'd put a muddy year at Glastonbury to shame. Smelly, dirty toilets, broken flushes, missing loo roll, and the obligatory graffiti on the back of the door are all things that we have a right not to expect from our workplaces.

 

Why does this matter? Well, quite apart from the sheer disgustingness of a filthy bathroom, an employer that doesn't care about the state of its bathrooms clearly doesn't care about its staff either. Toilets are a great leveller, we're all equal when we're sat on the loo, and - especially in the media - the bathroom is often the only place where it's possible to get five minutes peace and quiet.

 

On a more serious note, horrible bathrooms are bad for you. The things people leave in the WC aren't things that any other person needs to mix with, and if these places aren't kept clean then diseases can be the result. There's also the health consequences of people not doing their business promptly, and holding things in until they can stage a successful escape at the end of the day.

 

Nobody's expecting employers to provide the facilities of a five-star hotel - especially on location - but some toilet cleaner, a can of air freshener, and a few rolls of soft loo roll really shouldn't be too much to ask, should they?

 

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David Lawrence

Written by David Lawrence

David is the founder of Vine Resources.