Survey: Women Outdo Men in Workplace Hand Hygiene

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Hand washing habits among Americans are split along gender lines, with women outdoing men in their hand hygiene, according to the 2015 Healthy Hand Washing Survey. Almost half of men report seeing other guys exit their workplace restroom without washing up: 46 percent of men say they frequently or occasionally see colleagues skip that important task, compared to only 32 percent of women.

The survey was conducted by Bradley Corporation, a manufacturer of commercial plumbing fixtures, washroom accessories, partition cubicles, emergency fixtures and solid plastic lockers.

Beyond the workplace, hand washing among Americans also splits along gender lines. Nearly 75 percent of women say they always wash after using a public restroom versus 59 percent of men who claim they always do.

“We’ve looked at hand washing habits for a number of years and women consistently outperform men with their hand hygiene,” said Jon Dommisse, director of global marketing and strategic development at Bradley Corp. “When asked why they didn’t wash up after using a public restroom, men consistently say they didn’t feel the need. We’ve also found men are more likely than women to skip the soap and simply rinse their hands.”

While their hand washing behavior may differ, men and women in the workplace depend on hand hygiene as a key weapon against germs. The survey found that when a co-worker is sick the majority of men and women respond by washing their hands more frequently. Other popular strategies rely on avoidance: 62 percent say they steer clear of the sick co-worker, 55 percent stand further away when talking to the colleague, and 53 percent try not to shake the person’s hand.

The majority of men and women (89 percent) believe that the condition of a workplace restroom is one indicator of how a company values its workforce. While most rate their workplace restrooms fairly high, nine percent of workers classify theirs as poor or terrible.

And, despite having a pleasant restroom, the survey shows problems can still arise: 42 percent of employees say they’ve experienced issues. The top complaints include unflushed toilets, an unpleasant smell, and towel and soap dispensers that were out, didn’t work, or didn’t dispense enough.

For retail locations and businesses, an unpleasant restroom experience creates negative perceptions: 69 percent of consumers believe a bad restroom indicates poor management. A majority of the population also says it lowers their opinion of the company and shows the business doesn’t care about its customers.

The Healthy Hand Washing Survey queried 1,030 American adults online about their hand washing habits in workplace and public restrooms and concerns about germs, colds and the flu. Participants were from around the country, ranged in age from 18 to 65 and older, and were fairly evenly split between men and women (47 and 53 percent).