Creating Covid-secure office washrooms

13th January 2021

With another national UK lockdown in place, the majority of offices will remain largely silent for the first weeks of 2021 at least. Despite suggestions ten months ago that working from home or ‘WFH’ full time may be the future for office workers, as time has gone on, it has become clear that this is simply not the case. The question is now not if office workers will return but when and how that can be done effectively.

Having made a number of changes to our own office and factory operations as well as to procedures around site installations, we’re well aware of the importance of creating a safe working environment. We’ve introduced a host of safety measures including social distancing, hand sanitising stations as well as a professional cleaning team who clean our office and washroom areas every evening. We’ve also recently implemented morning temperature checks for all staff as well as mandatory face masks or visors. As a result, our full workforce remains in place on the factory floor meaning production is operating to normal capacity.

We’ve shown that by making adjustments to workspaces and common areas across our site we’ve been able to adhere to government guidelines and more importantly, ensure that all our staff feel safe at work. Washrooms will of course play a vital part in the safe return of staff to workplaces in general, so here are just a few areas to consider when creating Covid-secure washrooms for office staff – based on our own experience and expertise.

Maintaining social distancing

The scientific advice to maintain a two metre distance between people indoors where possible, remains in place as an effective way to minimise the spread of Covid-19. And while many workplaces have introduced one-way systems to ease flow of staff around buildings and help maintain social distancing, smaller spaces such as washrooms can be more challenging. Appropriate signage outside the washroom area is therefore a must to limit the number of people in the washroom at any one time and allow a safe distance to be maintained.

Ffull height Alto toilet cubicle doors at One Smart's Place

Extending cubicles to full height with floor-to-ceiling partitions and doors creates more of a barrier so means it’s more likely that all the toilets in a run of cubicles will be able to remain in use. Installing dividing screen panels between urinals and shared trough vanities can also help users to maintain their distance within the washroom areas to disrupt the spread of the virus.

Superloos – a super solution

Opting for a self-contained ‘superloo’ washroom layout where possible is ideal because, with handwashing and drying facilities included within the cubicle itself, it removes the need for shared sink areas and therefore helps to maintain social distancing. Superloo cubicles are typically constructed to full height – more of a separate room than a cubicle – making it an effective way to keep users separated more effectively.

Encourage hand-washing and minimise contact points

Hand washing

This is still one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and indeed any seasonal cold or flu virus within a workplace and as such encouraging staff to regularly wash their hands is vital. The installation of additional hand-washing stations at points around the office is a simple way to ease potential congestion in washroom areas and make sure staff are practicing good hand hygiene throughout the day.

Reducing the number of touchpoint surfaces in the washroom area, for example by switching to infrared sensor-operated taps can also help to minimise spread of germs and bacteria. While most of the materials we install in our washrooms are designed to be easy to keep clean, certain materials such as Corian solid surface or FENIX NTM also boost additional anti-bacterial benefits so are another tool to use to keep the spread of Covid-19 at bay.

The task of keeping washroom areas in particular hygienically clean has never been more important and many offices will have no doubt intensified cleaning regimes. Our hinged Tego mirror system provides a neat and compact storage solution – keeping a ready supply of cleaning materials and consumable refills without making washrooms feel messy and cluttered.

Corian trough-style vanity units and Tego hinged mirror system - Ziggy Stardust office project

Don’t forget, if you have a project in mind then get in touch with the team today and we’ll see how we can help. In the meantime, keep an eye on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter for the latest projects, news and updates.