December is here and it has brought on the most stressful shopping season of year. Shoppers are visiting multiple stores in hopes of finding that special gift and your employees have triple the work to do. During their brief moment of privacy – the bathroom break – none of them want to sit on the toilet seat only to realize it is wet, or encounter an empty soap dispenser when they need to wash their hands.
Approximately 94% of the United States population celebrates Christmas and stores add nearly 700,000 seasonal employees to their workforces each year to accommodate for the holiday shopping. The cramped crowds of people touching items allows for germs to quickly spread. One sneeze can travel as far as 200 feet and easily infect a crowd as the droplets contaminate the products that are constantly being picked up and inspected. Placing hand sanitizer dispensers at entrances and cash registers may encourage customers to clean their hands before and during their shopping. Cashiers will have plenty of merchandise, money, and credit cards to handle and may desire the opportunities to quickly sanitize between customers too. An average dollar bill can have 3,000 microbes living on it and can host the flu for up to 17 days. Credit and debit cards are no exception either, as 1 out of 12 of them harbor fecal bacteria. Both surface sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer are ideal for retail workers, as each product takes just seconds to disinfect.
Cross-contamination is not only occurring on the sales floor, it is also happening in the restrooms. In 2011, CNN ranked the eight dirtiest places in the mall and restroom sinks came in first place. People touch the handles with dirty hands to turn them on, but 95% of people do not wash their hands properly and often re-contaminate them when turning off the faucet. Automatic appliances, like auto flush systems, faucets, soap dispensers, and hand dryers or paper towel dispensers reduce cross-contamination and tackle this problem of touch.
There are other problems, such as unpleasant smells and dirty floors, which appear in the restroom when traffic increases. A survey found that 71% of people believe odor is a sign that bathrooms are not cleaned properly. There are two ways to tackle this, urinal and toilet mats, and air fresheners. The mats are made to absorb spilled urine and other liquids, prevent uric acid damage to tile floors, and neutralize any residual stench. Non-slip polypropylene mats also safeguard against slip-and-fall accidents. All other odors can be resolved with an air freshener appropriate for the size of the restroom and the frequency needed.
Additionally, giving a little extra consideration to the women’s room has its benefits. A survey found that women with families spend 13 hours or longer shopping for their significant other’s gift. Women tend to spend much more time browsing and choosing what to buy, so this extra time means that women may need more resources in the bathroom. A sanitary disposal unit in each stall ensures that used feminine hygiene products are not flushed down the toilet, where they may cause expensive clogs, and safeguards users from the waste and possible bloodborne pathogens. This is a common problem, as 2 out of 3 blockages contain sanitary waste. A sanitary vending machine is also helpful, as unexpected, feminine emergencies can happen anywhere. Providing a solution decreases the chance of women having to leave the store to tend to their needs and not making any purchases. Your female employees will thank you too.
Between searching for gifts and spending a great amount of money (currently, the average American spends $929), individuals can become especially anxious by holiday shopping. Employees can become frantic too as they help customers, manage long lines at their registers, and fulfill their other responsibilities. Investing in the health of every individual in your business and providing sanitary facilities can help everyone to avoid unnecessary stress.