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Women are more suspicious of men when it comes to office hygiene

21 October 2015

Female employees are the most suspicious when it comes to office hygiene, according to new research from Initial Washroom Hygiene.

The research which looked into how both men and women perceive the opposite sex’s personal hygiene habits found that British women are far less trusting of their male counterparts’ personal hygiene habits in the workplace.

Exactly half of UK women (50%) believe the damning judgement that their male colleagues never wash their hands in the office. On the flipside, British men were more generous in their opinion towards women, with a whopping 96% trusting that their female colleagues always washed their hands. Based on research released earlier this year, women are right to be more suspicious of men, after anonymous monitoring of 100,000 people across Europe by Initial Washroom Hygiene found that, in fact, only 38% of men and 60% of women wash their hands after going to the toilet. This significantly increases the risk of cross-contamination and illness in the workplace.


Emma Kenny, a psychologist with more than 20 years’ practicing experience, said: "The research demonstrates the strong stereotypical belief of women being the more hygienic gender. Men, more often than not experience women as their primary care givers. With mothers as their initial role models it is likely that men form opinions that are more positive towards women, because of their attitude towards and experiences of their mother’s hygiene standards. Women conversely feel that men have questionable hygiene attitudes and again it's likely these are formed during childhood and reinforced through stereotypical assumptions and judgements about boys and men being less concerned about their appearance and general hygiene.”

The potential risk of spreading germs via the traditional handshake is high, especially as one in four office workers admit they don't wash their hands after using the washroom.Considering 80% of diseases are transmissible through touch, and 60% of employee illness is believed to be contracted from dirty office equipment, it’s essential that office workers wash their hands correctly to reduce the risk of illness both for themselves and for their co-workers.


Dr Peter Barratt from Initial Washroom Hygiene said: "What these findings particularly highlight is that we all need to be more responsible when it comes to hand hygiene. Washing your hands thoroughly for 20-30 seconds remains the simplest and most effective way to reduce the spread of infection, and employers need to take the lead to ensure all their employees wash their hands thoroughly after every washroom visit, whether they are male or female. Employers should also encourage their workers to take time to fully recover from an illness as this will help stop its transmission within the office."


He added: "By providing the best facilities available, such as good quality soap from dispensers, sanitising gels and hand drying equipment, and encouraging good and consistent hand washing behaviour it shouldn’t be necessary to change the way co-workers greet each other, and employers can ensure that their staff retain full confidence in each other’s hygiene, whilst reducing the risk of transmitting infections.”