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There's more to a mat than meets the eye

20 September 2016

Dr Peter Barratt, technical manager at Initial Washroom Hygiene, explains why the power of the mat should not be underestimated

Mats are an essential part of a business’ hygiene and safety strategy, helping to keep the workplace clean, reduce slips and trips and prevent the spread of germs. Their presence in premises helps to demonstrate that safety is seriously considered and positively contributes towards brand image. Not only do mats enhance the appearance of the facility, they add a greater sense of wellbeing for staff and visitors.

There are five key benefits to having floor mats in place in business premises, which we’ll explore in more detail below. Whether you are deciding on a mat for your reception, a food preparation or service area or one to fit around your water cooler and protect the floor beneath, there will always be a mat to suit your specific requirements.

1. Enhanced image 

First impressions count and a mat is one of the first features that customers, clients and employees see when they enter the building. So, aside from being functional, mats need to be aesthetically pleasing. Consider using logo mats in entrance areas to give a splash of colour and communicate your brand message to anyone that enters the building, while at the same time demonstrating an added level of consideration and care to people. 

2. Health and hygiene 

When placed in high traffic areas, such as foyers, corridors or in front of vending machines and water coolers, mats will minimise the amount of dirt and water tracked into a building, and improve the cleanliness of the facility and protect the floors. We have recently launched the Initial Microfibre Plus Mat in the UK, which uses a combination of 50% Microfibre and 50% Phoenix fibre, for optimum pick up and absorption. The Microfibres are able to attach themselves to even the smallest, microscopic dirt particles and this new mat is able to hold over 150% more water and almost 50% more dirt than a standard serviced mat. These mats make a big difference in reducing unsightly water or mud marks in building entrances when there’s been a period of bad weather. 

3. Compliance

Mats will also aid compliance with workplace regulations by helping to reduce slips, trips and falls. For example, the Initial Microfibre Plus Mat has a Superstyrene rubber backing which is memory resistant so the mat stays flat. It is designed with a unique Raptor pattern which significantly reduces movement on wet, hard surfaces and minimises the risk of slips and trips. There are also specific non textile mats for areas where spillages occur, such as pubs and bars, or in leisure centres and gyms to provide support on wet floors or industrial areas. 

4. User Experience

Of course, mats will support the facility’s cleaners by creating a dirt barrier, reducing the amount of germs spread around the premise. However, if you are looking to further improve the user experience, explore anti-fatigue mats. These address common problems arising from long periods of standing on hard surfaces such as concrete, which include joint pain, backache and tiredness. They have been designed to make employees more comfortable and increase concentration and efficiency, while enhancing safety in the workplace. 

5. Economic value 

Mats will reduce cleaning costs and floor maintenance bills. They will also save money from compensation claims and minimise loss of productivity.

Final thoughts

There are clear advantages of laying mats down in your building. Once you have considered the best type of mat for your business, it’s important to ensure they are cleaned and laundered on a regular basis. Facilities managers should spend the time to assess the functionality of the mats they need in creating and maintaining a clean work environment for customers and employees.