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Smartening up the washroom with technology

29 August 2019

Modern technology has transformed the way we live and work, so it should come as no surprise that the washroom has also felt its effect. Chris Wakefield discusses how digital innovation can help enhance a business’ image through improved maintenance and hygiene

The washroom may not be the most glamorous room in an establishment, but careful consideration should be paid to it – after all, it has the potential to make or break a reputation. In today’s social media driven world, it has never been more important to make a good impression, and an unhygienic, poorly maintained washroom can negatively influence a customer or visitor’s perception of the overall establishment. 

Technology can help. In recent years, digital innovation within the cleaning industry has made great strides; developing genuinely useful solutions. These not only deliver performance and efficiency benefits but are also now more affordable for commercial cleaning companies to implement across all types of facilities, the washroom included. 

One of the main jobs of a washroom is to ensure that everyone leaving it has clean, hygienic hands. After all, washing or sanitising hands can stop infections from spreading. Technology can play a key role in influencing healthy hand hygiene behaviour, no matter the size of the washroom itself.

Accessible and easy to use

Technology has developed dispensers that are accessible and easy to use. Thanks to manufacturers’ continuous innovation, there is a wide selection available from which to choose. In smaller washrooms, consider installing slim, wall-mounted dispensers, which are much more practical and aesthetically pleasing. 

Touch-free dispensers have also become an increasingly popular option, and are welcomed by customers and visitors, who can be reluctant to touch taps, dispensers and dryers if they don’t look clean or are leaking. Intuitively sensing the hands’ presence, touch-free dispensers distribute the exact amount of product required each time. This not only helps reduce wastage, but is also more hygienic, by the very fact that they are not touched by different hands. 

Technologically advanced formulations

Innovation has also worked to deliver high tech formulations which are effective against germs, gentle to skin, and, importantly, a pleasure to use. Sophisticated soaps and sanitisers are researched and developed for different environments too. In a healthcare setting, for example, soaps and sanitisers must conform to key hospital norms EN 1500, EN 14476 and EN 12791, but they must also be skin-kind, given the frequency that healthcare workers wash their hands. 

A smarter approach to maintenance

Historically, staff have had to physically monitor washrooms to check stock levels and replenish supplies. This is a system that inevitably leads to dispensers running empty or being refilled when the previous stock is only half used (rather than risk running out). However, technology can now be adopted to improve washroom maintenance. In fact, GOJO has developed SMARTLINK Electronic Monitoring Solutions; two smart apps which help to reduce the maintenance time spent on dispensers, as well as to improve hand hygiene performance. 

The GOJO SMARTLINK Service Alerts System app is a preventative maintenance system that continuously monitors hand hygiene dispensers and provides predictive analytics that can enable improvements. Users can customise alerts and alarms that includes data on dispenser usage, estimated refill replacement dates, alarm status and history. 

The SMARTLINK Observation app provides feedback, delivers reports immediately for both hand hygiene and PPE compliance and saves valuable time. Both apps can be used to effectively plan stock replacement, staffing allocations and training requirements, all from a phone or tablet. 

People are much more likely to practise healthy hand hygiene if the user experience is enjoyable; and technology can play a key role in achieving this. User-friendly and intuitive dispensers, effective yet pleasant formulations and a welcoming, well-maintained washroom makes all the difference. 

Chris Wakefield is vice president, European marketing & product development, GOJO Industries-Europe Ltd