Last weekend over a hundred thousand people descended on Glastonbury. They had over 1,300 toilets strategically placed over the site. Your nose told you very quickly which were the best, so festival goers quickly got the knack of planning their routes so they could go to the best toilets. Everyone’s favourite was the compost loos; they had a longer queue but didn’t smell and were a hundred times cleaner.
It’s interesting how rarely anyone ever talks about toilets; it is only through extreme shared experiences that we ever discuss it. Yet it is a normal bodily function and vital to our health and wellbeing. At Glastonbury the program even mentioned the dangers of not going and recommended that everyone should be passing urine at least three times a day to avoid dehydration. Yet when we are at work, going to the toilet is often frowned on or discouraged. The toilets are hidden away, or you have to pass through the gauntlet of multiple locks and stares to access the toilet. In extreme cases, where an alternate (cover person) has to be used for any break, a toilet break has to be requested. This can often discourage people from using the toilet regularly.
Yet as I said going to the toilet is a natural bodily function and vital to our wellbeing. So when it is discouraged, people avoid drinking as much which leads to dehydration. This in turn has an effect on the body’s immune system and the body’s ability to digest food and remove toxins. In the long term this will affect your health and can cause serious illnesses.
So when you are planning your operations, spare a thought for the toilets. Are they easily accessible? Have you allowed for regular toilet breaks? Have you thought about staggered breaks to reduce the queue times? Are they in the correct proportion of ladies to gentlemen for your workforce?
A healthy workforce is a more productive and efficient workforce. If you don’t have enough toilets then you need a good absence management system to cope when illness breaks out!