Be COVID Ready – Have Touchless Restrooms – Including User Feedback
How will public bathrooms change post-COVID-19?
COVID-19 has changed the world. Third party devices or screens are now a disastrous idea – and touchless restrooms must be the new order. One area that has already seen dramatic changes is in personal hygiene. People are taking notice of how often they touch their face and how often they wash their hands. This means businesses must change how they clean and disinfect their facilities. In this post, we will review these attitudes and why going touchless everywhere, including with your restroom feedback, makes your customers feel more comfortable – in a post COVID environment.
The Public is Far More Hygiene Conscious
Several studies show that the public is becoming more hygiene conscious because of COVID-19. This is due to the constant messaging that Governments have employed, and of the additional rules governing social and personal hygiene.
For example, an Australian study shows that a large percentage of people had started using at least one of the hygiene-related or avoidance behaviors recommended by the government. This shows that the public, at least in Australia, has become more hygiene conscious and more aware of the spread of germs. Here in the United States the message is the same, for example restroom users:
90% say they are washing their hands more frequently or more thoroughly or longer (bradleycorp.com)
Experts Say Don’t Use Touchscreens
As hygiene awareness increases, one technology that may be in decline would be public touchscreens. These are the touchscreens used to order at fast-food restaurants or check-in at the airport. We now know that they could be full of potential viruses and bacteria. With people becoming more hygiene aware, there is more nervousness about these technologies.
In fact, a study conducted in the United States and the United Kingdom showed that 50 percent of the population did not believe that touchscreens were hygienic.
The same study also showed that around 80 percent of people were confident that touchless interfaces – like their own cell phone, would give the users more protection and ultimately would be more hygienic.
Whatever happens in this space, it is safe to say that people are becoming more concerned when it comes to using public touchscreens, wherever in a business they encounter them. This means businesses will also have to learn to adapt to this new public aversion to using them.
With COVID – the importance is even greater. As business start to reopen there is an emphasis on restroom management. As reported recently in CNN, restroom safety is the number one concern – a roadblock before normal business returns.
Bathroom safety was our customers number one concern for re-opening – Autorama movie theaters
This Includes the Restroom – 5 Recommendations from Bradley Corp.
Public restroom hygiene has always been a cause for concern. Moreover, the great majority of Americans have plenty of bad experiences in germ-filled smelly and unsightly restrooms. With a more hygiene aware population, one area that will see some changes, is in the public bathroom. These are commonly associated with being dirty places, so people are going to want to take extra precautions when using public restrooms to prevent contact with germs. Here are the five recommendations from Bradley (echoed by health experts) that will make people feel more comfortable when they are using these restrooms.
1. Post Signage to Improve Hygiene
When it comes to posting signs in the bathroom, they should focus on being a friendly reminder to wash your hands for 20 seconds then dry with paper towels or hand dryers (note there is some research to say towel dispensers are a COVID problem and hand dryers are better). This alone can go a long way in helping to stop the spread of viruses and bacteria.
2. Increase Cleaning, Sanitization, and Restocking
With a more hygiene conscious population, it is important to increase the number of times the bathroom is getting cleaned. This is more critical for areas of the bathroom that are always touched. These include soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers, and even restroom doors. Business owners must continue their regular maintenance and checking stock of all consumables – particularly soap and toilet paper.
3. Provide Trash Cans and Hand Sanitizer Near Exits
A survey showed that 65 percent of Americans use a paper towel to avoid touching doors and faucets in bathrooms. Providing trash cans and hand sanitizer near the exits can help make people feel safer about using the restrooms.
4. Prop Open Doors
Keeping the doors open will increase visibility so that people can maintain a safe distance between one another. This can also help limit the number of contact points that people ultimately end up touching.
5. Offer Touchless Fixtures
COVID 19 has made touchless restrooms a must have. In particular, contactless restroom fixtures can help stop the spread easily because people will not be touching the surfaces and then taking those germs and bacteria somewhere else. A survey showed that 91 percent of American restroom users believe it is extremely or somewhat important that public toilets have touchless fixtures. These include touchless soap dispensers, hands free faucets, automatic toilet flush (or via foot pedals), motion sensors on automatic faucets. Touchless restrooms are the new gold standard when combatting public perception of the typical restroom and provide a healthier restroom experience.
These five tips are easily implemented and make a more hygiene conscious population feel comfortable when using public commercial restrooms. Note that this improvement in cleanliness means employee risk is also improved.
These five tips are easily implemented and make a more hygiene conscious population feel comfortable when using public restrooms.
Restroom Feedback Solution – Get Rid of Any Touchscreens and Use the Guests’ Cell Phone
Note however, that enabling the restroom of the future is not just going touchless. Contactless restrooms only using smart fixtures is not enough.
The post COVID restroom must improve operationally. This means that getting feedback from customers and staff about the state of the restroom is vital. It allows the business to identify areas that it is doing well in but, more importantly, allows it to identify areas that could be improved. Having poor restrooms is really bad for business.
In fact, a survey by Cintas found that 94 percent of adults in America would not do business in the future if they were to encounter a dirty restroom. Therefore, it is very important to get feedback about your bathrooms – but how to do this in an era of COVID and heightened hygiene concern?
Any feedback touchscreen in the bathroom is a bad idea. The general public will assume a hygiene exposure. Instead, businesses should be looking to the cell phone of the restroom user to alert them of anything that needs attention. Touchscreens are unhygienic, expensive, and prone to maintenance issues. Personal cell phones are not – and are now the only device to alert the facility manager to any issue.
Cell phone feedback technologies already exist that do this. Flushcheck for example is a simple restroom alert and management program that is already in over 450 locations and delivers 1-click feedback to the janitorial team if there is an issue with the restroom. The feedback is via the cell phone and via SMS, phone call, web, or QR code – no app needed, so works on any cell phone.
COVID-19 is continuing to change the world that we live in. Some areas are going to see the benefits of COVID-19, and one of those areas is personal hygiene. The public are starting to become more conscious about what they are touching, and identifying areas to live a cleaner life. One area that is going to see a decrease because of this is public touchscreens. Another area is public restrooms, where touchless restrooms provide the answer.
In the post-COVID-19 world, public restrooms are going to have to be cleaner than ever and more ‘touchless’ than current. Restrooms touchscreens for feedback will no longer be used – so the business should consider a more effective method – the cell phone of the restroom user.