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July 2018

How does office design affect hygiene?

Written by Lemay Rogers
Cleanliness and Hygiene

I often hear remarks around a building’s bathroom creating a lasting impression of the company or retail store being visited. A well designed, well-kept bathroom creates an impression that the company cares for its visitors and employees, while a neglected bathroom can affect your image and productivity.  

Within this statement, there are two elements at play. The one is hygiene and the other is design. Have you given much consideration to hygiene as part of the design in your bathrooms, and as an extension, hygiene design in your workspace? I decided to explore this with Jill Munger, Chief Executive Officer for time&space design consultants - with 24 years experience within commercial interiors, hospitality and retail design, I could gain more insight into the world of design and its link to hygiene.

1. What has been your favourite interior design project to date?

Jill acknowledged that this was a very difficult question as she loved various projects for various reasons. Her favourite projects were related to amazing customers, creative challenges and results that exceeded expectations.

She said that one of her many favourites was a project done for Grid Control Technologies. The brief was to create a design experience in their new office that showcases their services with an emphasis on sustainability and the balance between nature and technology. In essence, the visitor needed to connect to the company immediately. After many hours of planning and a thorough execution, the customer loved the results.

2. In your expert opinion, what are the main elements you use to convey the company brand and culture?

The whole experience of the building conveys the company’s brand. From furniture to colour and lighting, each element should be carefully considered to create an overall experience.  

It starts with a detailed understanding of the company, their culture and work style - do they prefer an open plan office, structured meeting spaces, etc. Then you start designing the space to compliment these elements.  


3. Is hygiene a consideration when designing a new space?

In Jill’s experience hygiene is predominantly a consideration in specific risk areas including kitchens, canteens and dining spaces. She has only received a few requests for specific hygiene requirements that needed to be considered as part of their scope and these requests are generally discarded later.

4. Where are key areas you would suggest having hygiene stations?

My suggestion is to include hygiene stations at any point where food would be handled, near bathrooms or “high traffic equipment”. These areas include coffee stations, breakaway spaces, cafes, dining areas or canteens, kitchenettes, bathrooms, fingerprint scanners and print stations.

I couldn’t agree with Jill more! It’s important to keep your office space hygienic to minimise the risks associated with cross contamination. To explore your hygiene hotspots have a look at this interactive office map.

I enjoyed talking to Jill and was surprised that hygiene was less of a consideration than I was expecting. Probably because I’m passionate about the topic. Reflecting, I would like to pose 2 questions to you for your consideration;

  1. Should we be taking hygiene more seriously within our workspace during the early phases of a new project, or revamp? Surely you would like to ‘future-proof’ your absenteeism rate as much as possible?
  2. Surely you wouldn’t want to put inferior quality (cheap looking) hygiene units on your imported bathroom tiles or wallpapered office walls? How do you choose a solution that is going to suit your look?

You can also help keep your office hygienic by download our Handwashing Posters and sticking them up in your office to ensure everyone is using good hand hygiene practices.

Download your Handwashing Posters

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Lemay Rogers

Lemay Rogers

Lémay Rogers is the Marketing Manager for Rentokil Initial. When not contributing to the Initial blog, she is the custodian of all things Marketing for Rentokil Initial South Africa, and supports the Sub-Saharan African businesses. As a frequent traveller AND mother of a toddler, she is all too aware of how easily germs can travel with us, from one location to another and then back to our homes. Follow Lémay on Twitter and LinkedIn for practical advice on good hygiene practices, both at home and in the workplace.

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Use it to ensure users don't put the wrong items in your feminine hygiene units.
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