Washroom hygiene: A clean way to boost business
Dated: 05-09-2013

Washroom hygiene concept has become not only a core part of business-critical areas, but is a public statement of your business as it makes tangible impact on visitors By Sreenivasa Rao

The washroom hygiene is another key factor that supports business growth as it reflects the real inside character of a company. The hygiene standards at a washroom will clearly influence the success of a company. The chances are high that bad hygiene conditions at washroom might affect the prospects of a company regardless of its strong economic fundamentals.
The Middle East market in this key segment has reached to a stage where it can be classified as an educated one and is moving towards a complete automation of washroom dispensers with eco-friendly products. Realising this key factor, developed nations have long ago adopted hygiene practices at washrooms and it can be terms as most valuable corporate asset. Britain is said to be leading the way in this segment followed by Germany, Holland, Finland, Norway, Singapore, to name a few.

Manohar Raghavan, Area Leader (Middle East & Africa Strategic Planning, Marketing Excellence and Mergers & Acquisitions), at 3M Gulf, said: “As global leaders in innovation, we at 3M invest in providing most innovative and environment friendly solutions for facilities, assets and people. Maintaining high standards of hygiene is a key priority across all facilities, be it school, home or work place.”

The corporate washroom has become such an important space where your business really cleans up. The washroom is the most basic facility in any business or a corporate building and can make the biggest impact on its reputation. Though the design part is important, but the very strongest aspect that makes the biggest impression on visitors, is tangible cleanliness, though it’s in visible.

Raghavan adds: “Washrooms are sensitive zones where everyone is highly prone to catch and transmit harmful bacteria and other infections. In order to ensure protection and infection control against these germs, implementation of robust washroom hygiene is imperative. Our customers rely on us to deliver practical and ingenious solutions which help them succeed and make their lives better.” Raghavan believes in innovation that drives the growth. 3M Gulf is a diversified global technology major and manufacturer of over 65,000 products with a commendable market share of more than 20 per cent.
 
 
So what part of the business makes the most impact on customers/visitors/guests. It’s not the elegant interiors supported by lavish lobby or huge and modern corporate board meeting room or well furnished office space that of course these impress the visitors to a considerable extent, but ultimately the deciding factor emerges from the washroom hygiene. Psychologically, washroom hygiene and interiors of it will impact the sub-conscious mind influencing the final decision of customers/guests. Yes.

It’s not reception, it’s not the executive suite, and it’s not the canteen that makes the bold visual statement about the company. It’s the washroom that makes an invisible impact in the minds of visitors. Clean, Hygienic toilet facilities have a positive impact on users and their attitude towards your business or organisation. In other way round, poor restroom hygiene habits will also impact business prospects in a negative way.
 
Challenges

There are still many challenges intimidating hygiene practice among large number of population. Obviously, poverty is one major reason that’s causing a roadblock in spreading the hygiene awareness. Over one billion people spend hungry nights every day. Adding to this, over 2.5 billion people don’t have proper access to safe drinking water. Considering these factors, hygiene at washroom is limited or confined to upper middleclass families and upwards. Unfortunately, hygiene at washroom has become a point of discussion at commercial, business organisations and above average income groups only.

However, things are changing. Corporate majors such as Dettol and Unilever are actively participating in spreading health awareness campaigns for different sections of the society. The welcome feature of these campaigns is that awareness programmes are being organised at schools inculcating healthy habits right from the childhood.
 
On the other hand, the growth rates continue to be sluggish in the developed markets contrasted by relatively moderate growth in the emerging markets. These both have consequences in terms of the world’s social and environmental equilibrium. Scaling up to reach one billion people cost-effectively with hygiene programmes that make hand washing a habit remains a challenge. Industry experts feel that people should use less hot water and energy, while washing, showering and doing the laundry. This is more challenging. Global majors like Unilver and Reckitt Benkiser continue to experiment with ways to tackle this. Educated people are also realising that detergents which perform well in shorter wash cycles, and dry shampoo which might encourage people to wash their hair with hot water less often.
 

Dettol aims at reaching 1.2million children across the Middle
East in 2013 through School Hand Washing education
programme alone.
 
Reckitt Benckiser Arabia

Reckitt Benckiser Arabia is offering a gamut of personal hygiene products under Dettol brand. The global major has taken up a massive awareness campaign to promote healthy practices in the society. Dettol is currently the market leader as listed by the Neilsen report May/June 2013. Since Dettol’s inception in 1933 as an anti-septic liquid, the company’s range of products has extended to a number of categories for surface care in the washroom as well as personal care. Our line-up includes a range of products which help to kill up to 99.9 per cent of germs and bacteria. The products currently include Dettol Bathroom Cleaner Spray, Dettol Antiseptic Liquid, Dettol Multipurpose Cleaner, Dettol Hand Bar Soap, Dettol Liquid Handwash and Dettol Shower Gel.

Speaking to Clean Middle East, Nikhilesh Kalra, Marketing Director, Reckitt Benckiser Arabia, said: “The Middle East hygiene category is currently worth approximately $325million and has experienced growth of 13 per cent over the same period last year. While the category continues to perform well, research shows that there is still a great need for continued education on the importance of good hygiene practices in the Middle East, and this is one of the main objectives of Dettol’s on-going Mission for Health initiative.”
 
Mission For Health

Research has shown that people across the Middle East require further health and hygiene education in order to help protect them and their families from illness causing germs and bacteria. A considerable percentage still do not use anti-bacterial products in the home, or wash their hands using anti-bacterial soap and water the recommended six times per day. Providing the necessary education through Dettol’s ‘Mission for Health’ initiative, and the support of the Arab Hygiene Council, is one of the ways we are trying to help keep the Middle East healthy. Through Dettol’s School Hand Washing education programme alone, we aim to reach 1.2million children across the Middle East in 2013.
 
Liquid soaps taking over bar soap

The personal hygiene segment is witnessing fast changing consumer behaviour as the awareness is catching up with all the age groups. An increasing number of consumers are shifting to liquid soaps, moving away from the traditional bar soap, which has seen sales of liquid soaps increase by 30 per cent from the same period last year. Liquid soap has been proven to provide even more effective results when killing germs and bacteria while also being far more convenient to use, both in the home and workplace. As a committed community partner, Dettol’s ‘Mission for Health’ initiative, supported by the Arab Hygiene Council, is actively helping to improve health and hygiene standards across the Middle East. This mission, fuelled by passion and expertise, focuses on educating and supporting mums, children and families across the Middle East to make better and more informed choices for their health and hygiene.
 
Hand dryers

Catering to the growing demand for hand hygiene products, Dyson company is engaged in developing a series of new hand dryers in the UAE and global market. Recognizing Dubai as a global hub of innovation and also the potential of the Dubai commercial real estate market, Dyson is placing the world’s first sports stadium installation of the product in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium. Developed by a team of 125 Dyson engineers, three new Dyson Airblade hand dryers are the fastest, most hygienic and sustainable way to dry hands properly.

James Dyson, founder of Dyson said: “Using complex computer modelling Dyson engineers have developed a high performance digital motor. The Dyson digital motor self-adjusts 6,000 times a second to maintain optimum efficiency to create high velocity sheet of air that dries hands quickly and hygienically.” The company sees demand emerging from flourishing UAE commercial sectors including hospitality, retail and food and beverage segments.
 
Bacteria –free hands

The role of hand dryers has changed completely now. Earlier, they meant for drying hands after a wash. Now, using hand dryers to dry hands means making them bacteria-free. Conventional hand-dryers use one column of bacteria filled bathroom air to evaporate water from hands, after much hand rubbing. Most people simply give up. Dyson Airblade hand dryers would dry hands quickly and effectively using Airblade technology: Sheets of high velocity unheated air travel through tiny apertures at 430mph quickly scraping water from hands like a windscreen wiper, leaving them fully dry. The Dyson Airblade hand dryer passes washroom air through a HEPA filter to remove 99.9 per cent of bacteria before it’s blown onto hands.
 
Using complex computer modelling Dyson engineers have developed a high performance digital motor. The Dyson digital motor self-adjusts 6,000 times a second to maintain optimum efficiency to create high velocity sheet of air that dries hands quickly and hygienically,” adds Dyson.
 
New technology applications

The new hand dryers are available with innovative technology applications. The Dyson Airblade Tap hand dryer washes and dries hands with no need to leave the sink. Infrared sensors pinpoint hand positions and release water from the tap stem. Once hands are wet and drying is requested, integrated circuitry computes the information and activates the latest Dyson digital motor, creating two high velocity sheets of air on the tap’s branches. Unheated clean air is released to scrape water off hands leaving them dry in 12 seconds. As a general rule of thumb, the lower the washing temperature, water volume and detergent level, the greater the risk of infection. Clothes, linen, towels and other fabrics should be laundered at a high temperature (above 60/degrees Celsius) in order to prevent cross-contamination and illness.

Many germs such as salmonella, Hepatitis A, and rotavirus can even survive drying so it is important that care is taken when drying clothes. As wet laundry can be a potential breeding ground for mould, clothes should be dried outside or in an ‘outdoor vented’ clothes dryer in order to prevent any increase in humidity in the home and prevent mould growth if possible. One study found that a significant numbers of enteric viruses were found to survive washing and drying conditions commonly practiced in households. The addition of sodium hypochlorite with detergent significantly reduced the number of viruses. Treatment with bleach alone reliably caused reductions of greater than 99.99 per cent.

 

 
 
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