Improving situation of women’s washrooms is actually good for the business

There are many different ways to increase the bottom line of the business. You have to reduce your expenses, hire only highly professional personnel, and continue researching your client base and so on. A new study from The University of British Columbia says that there is another way of boosting business’s bottom line – increasing capacities of women‘s bathrooms as well as creating unisex bathrooms in the office.

Increasing the capacity of women’s washrooms would cut down on lines and allow women to spend more time working or shopping. Image credit: Javier Robles via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

This may sound like a silly thing, something that has no correlation with reality. However, if you think about it, it actually makes sense. How many times you’ve seen a huge line in front of women’s bathroom? It is pretty much always longer than a line in front of men’s bathroom. Scientists used queuing models and computer simulations to determine waiting times for washrooms in different types of business facilities. This research was the first of its kind and now scientists are recommending increasing women’s washroom capacity and considering unisex washrooms.

Unisex bathrooms are a huge subject of public debate – many people don’t like the idea of sharing this space with strangers from the opposite sex. However, we’re all adults and if we can keep it safe and clean, there really is no problem about it. Also, if unisex bathrooms were just a third option, people could elect not using them. But many would take advantage of it and lines in front of bathrooms would shrink considerably.

Tim Huh, lead author of the study, said: “If your customers are spending less time waiting for the washroom, they can spend more time doing business in your establishment. In a service setting, like restaurants or movie theatres, a positive washroom experience is something people expect, and inadequate facilities can have a strong negative impact on whatever product or service a business is providing”.

However, unisex bathrooms are not a universal solution. In an office setting bigger female washrooms would already cut down the lines enough for your employees to spend more time working and less time queuing in front of the bathroom door. In fact, women probably would be using unisex bathrooms anyway, because that would be a place to go if there is a big line. Men would stick to their relatively empty men’s bathrooms. It is all about realization that people are not working or spending money when they are standing still.

It is quite interesting that scientist had to use computer simulations to gather these results. It is quite obvious that there is a bit of a problem with women’s washroom lines. Hopefully businessmen will see profit as a motivation to make this experience at least slightly better for women.


Source: UBC


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