With the advancement of smart restroom technology, facility managers can now confidently achieve cleanliness and hygiene goals that have a measurable impact on tenant satisfaction and sustainability.
Throughout North America, smart building technology has been adopted and integrated within many commercial buildings. Nearly 90 percent of buildings use at least one form of smart building technology. By next year, experts estimate over 1.4 billion connected devices will be deployed within commercial buildings across the U.S.
Traditionally, restrooms haven’t been the priority when facility managers evaluate their smart building management strategy. However, more facility managers realize that restrooms present an excellent opportunity to showcase their detailed attention to facility hygiene and cleanliness.
When it comes to adopting smart restroom technology, facility managers have an opportunity to drive performance improvements that can prove valuable for their entire building management ecosystem. Here are five reasons why savvy facility managers are getting smart about restroom technology:
Restrooms are one of the most highly trafficked, but least understood areas of any building. People visit the restroom three to four times per day on average, touching many commonly used surfaces in the process. This makes restrooms a hotbed for virus transmission. While commercial buildings have various high-traffic areas, such as lobbies and cafeterias, restrooms lack the consistent presence of front desk or security personnel to monitor and address issues. Gone are the days of restroom attendants in commercial settings.
This lack of visibility into restroom conditions can quickly lead to poor user experiences, heightened tenant complaints, and unhygienic environments—issues that further complicate facility managers’ already challenging workday.
Standard restroom servicing protocols often result in costly waste simply due to janitorial teams refilling soap and paper dispensers too soon. Custodians worry about soap cartridges, paper towel rolls, and toilet paper rolls running out between their pre-scheduled servicing visits. Rather than risk run-outs, unused consumables are often discarded, resulting in a significant waste of total purchased consumables.
In addition to having a significant financial impact, this practice can also create sustainability issues. Whether reducing waste or maximizing ROI, any opportunity to realize improvements through smart restroom management should be explored.
Static and Outdated Commercial Building Cleaning Procedures
We have all seen the clipboard tucked behind the door to track schedule-based cleaning routines inside public restrooms. While conventional, this time-based cleaning routine doesn’t account for service opportunities between visits.
With people returning to work, facility managers are working with building service contractors to reimagine how cleaning is performed—moving from traditional schedules to activity- and need-based execution.
You can’t have a healthy building without clean, hygienic restrooms. A recent survey found that about three-quarters, or 74 percent of consumers, agree that if the restroom is not clean, they do not believe the rest of the facility is being cleaned properly.
Janitorial teams face various challenges in maintaining clean restrooms and hygienic buildings.
For example, if restrooms are being cleaned based on schedule rather than use, hygiene may pose a risk because germs and bacteria can potentially build up between scheduled cleaning visits.
Additionally, restroom conditions can change after sudden traffic increases, such as after meetings or lunch. With this unscheduled need for restroom servicing, facility managers must quickly adjust and account for unplanned servicing needs.
These are just some of the challenges faced while maintaining a healthy building. And with evolving hybrid work trends, variable facility occupancy will most likely add another layer of complexity to delivering clean buildings and hygienic restrooms.
Smart Restroom Technology
Transforming traditional restrooms into smart restrooms is no longer a mysterious undertaking. Smart, connected software has been tested, implemented, and successfully used in numerous commercial environments, including office buildings, healthcare, malls, airports, and manufacturing facilities.
Smart restroom sensors and mobile device integration make smart restroom technology enablement seamless and easy. The opportunity to improve restroom management is here. And the time to get smart about restrooms is now.
Building leaders must be strategic about deploying their cleaning resources with a heightened awareness of building hygiene in today’s post-pandemic era. Their efforts must be visible and reassure building occupants that their health and safety are at the forefront of the facility management team’s efforts. Adding smart restroom technology that makes it easy for building managers to meet the public’s expectations is not only suitable for occupants, but it’s also good for business.