Your smartphone is making you sick!!! Not so smart, eh? Seriously. When did this start? I’ll be honest with you and tell you that, for me, it started with “Snake” on my old Nokia 3310. That puts it around the turn of the millennia. Since then we’ve become addicted and phones have revolutionised our lives. Social media is not that, let’s be honest. Sure, in an “online” sense it is social but back in the real world we ignore each other because of it. I have witnessed, as we all have, a family seated at a table ignoring each other in favour of their phones.
This rant, however, is not my point. My point is serious and involves the washroom hygiene process. Let’s view the process from the point of view of our user pre 2000. I remember where I was working when this changed. They had a pile of industry, and non-specific, magazines to “pass the time” whilst you were “sitting it out”. Naturally we all knew that these magazines were being handled by our colleagues but we also knew we’d put them down and clean our hands before leaving the toilets. So we’d walk in, scan for the availability of our “favoured” cubicle (animals are weird like that), grab a magazine, head in, drop our trousers, sit down and get “stuck in”. A decent article should see you through to your conclusion where upon you’d put the magazine down on the floor, clean yourself up, pull your trousers up, pick up the magazine, leave the cubicle, put the magazine down and clean your hands.
Post 2000? See where I’m going? Yep, it’s the same BUT we don’t grab a magazine. We pull our phone out and check Facebook, the news, the scores, the stock market, whatever! Once we are done we put it back in our pocket, leave the cubicle and wash our hands. A short while later our phone rings and…..we pull it out of our pocket and stick it to the side of our head. Now, let’s head back to the last millennia. I’m asking you to rub one of those magazines against your head. Will you? Of course not but now our relationship with our media has changed. So much so that when I searched for “phone on toilet” with my stock image provider I got 583 results! I simply chose the least offensive. Well, I didn’t want to rub your noses (or ears and cheeks more to the point) in it.
So, at this very point of writing, I have just gone to google and searched “phone bacteria”. Immediately I have my answer, even without clicking. Your phone has over 18 times more bacteria than a toilet seat (including “170 times the acceptable level of faecal coliforms” (aka poo)!) and yet you answer it! Seriously, you answer it? I’m considering hitting my first aid kit which I replenished with medical wipes just last week-end!
What can your washroom services supplier do for you? Almost all of them can provide anti-bacterial wipes in a tidy dispenser and you can print off this article or poster (below article) to put up next to them. We aren’t going to change people using their “private time” for private business. In fact businesses should be grateful if their staff are multi-tasking in the toilet. We can, however, make sure that their hand hygiene process involves cleaning their phone before their hands.
Post 2015? Head in, drop trousers, sit down, pick up phone, like photo of kitten, share your status (you will lie….nobody I know has ever put “having a poo” as their status), finish, put phone down, pull trousers up, pick up phone & leave cubicle. Now we clean our phone with the handy anti-bacterial wipe, put it away and focus on our hands, soap from the dispenser, bacterially aware hand dryer & then out. Preferably without touching the door….but that is another story entirely. Don’t forget to share this article…..and then wash your hands!