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The truth about hand washing and drying at work

10 November 2021

NEW INDEPENDENT research has found that the majority of employees do not wash and dry their hands properly at work, despite both washing and drying being important to help reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses, including Covid.

The YouGov research, commissioned by national washroom service provider, Elis, found that 55% of employees say they wash their hands for less than the recommended 20 seconds when they are at work, with 27% washing their hands for ten seconds or less. Only 37% said they wash their hands for 20 seconds or more, with those over 55 (45%) more likely to, compared to other age groups.

The research also found that 57% say they leave the workplace washroom with damp hands because the drying equipment is not good enough or fast enough, with those working in London (60%) and the under 35s (65%) the most likely to say this. Only 31% of employees say they always leave their workplace washroom with dry hands, compared to 66% who say their hands are dry when they leave a bathroom at home.

Nick Barton, regional director of UK-wide washroom service provider, Elis said: “We know that we should be washing our hands properly, but research has also shown that damp hands can spread more bacteria and viruses than dry hands, so it is important to dry hands properly too.  The fact that employees are twice as likely to leave the workplace washroom with damp hands, compared to their bathroom at home, and that a majority blame the drying equipment, means there is an opportunity for employers to improve hand hygiene by providing better equipment.”

The Elis-commissioned research also uncovered which drying equipment employees believe is responsible for their hands being left damp. It revealed employee preferences when it comes to hand washing and drying equipment and which hand drying options employees believe are the most hygienic.

Elis has produced a report on the research findings. Called ‘The truth about hand washing and drying at work’, it also includes advice on how businesses can improve their hand washing and drying facilities.

The report can be downloaded free at https://uk.elis.com/en/group/newsroom/news/truth-about-hand-washing-and-drying-work

For further information on Elis washroom services https://campaigns.elislaundry.com/washroom-service