Woosh Washrooms

You’re serious about sustainability but don’t know where to start – Steal and improve…Here’s how.

What do we mean by steal and improve?

Research what other industry leaders are doing. Find out if it’s working (because at this point in the sustainability crisis, no matter who you are, it’s all still a work in progress…). Consider whether it applies to your business. Then replicate and or improve that methodology/practice.

Firstly, get your resources right.

One of our very informative resources was attending the third annual sustainability event; edieLIVE. A great event which combined exhibitions, seminars, advice clinics and included shared results from other businesses implementing sustainability and ways to measure how it can benefit your business.

Our intention was learning as well as market research. That’s essentially what edieLive was about (in our opinion anyway). edieLive was perfectly aligned with our ambitions as a supplier wanting to find more ways of being environmentally savvy with our products and the service we offer. For us and our customer’s peace of mind.

Head of Environment, Oliver Rosevear, and Sustainability Manager, Jodi Wheatley represent Costa Coffee. ‘Making Circular Real: Driving internal engagement on resource efficiency.’

Seminar speakers came with detailed case studies and analytics of how they prioritised where to start when it came to their contribution to being more sustainable. Some started with their energy use, others with the onward journey of the waste they or their consumers produced.

What we could all steal (Uhm… replicate.)

An awesome example was from Tesco’s Energy Manager, Rebecca Douglas. Rebecca gave a detailed overview of Tesco’s approach to reducing their energy use on a massive scale.

Rebecca Douglas, Energy Manager for Tesco, talks about energy behaviour change in retail.

Rebecca shared the concept of ‘energy profiling’ across their stores. This can also apply to ‘waste profiling’. They analysed where they can make the most impact on reducing their energy use and as a result, ended up saving money.

Rebecca did reference the small matter of implementing the behavioral change with staff on the ground (in this case, the bakery staff) over the six week trial.

They managed to gain more control and support by engaging with staff in implementing increased reporting from their management staff on this process alone. It worked.

Experiment until you get the right figures.

As a result, Tesco reduced their bakery’s energy use by 12%.  According to Rebecca, they will now be rolling this out across 768 stores with a predicted 9% annual saving on bakery energy consumption alone. A good start right?

From left to right: Rebecca Douglas (Tesco), Dr James Robey (Capgemini), Dr Bernd Leven (Vodafone) and George Richards (JRP Solutions).


Any business, large or small, can adopt this approach. This is where the roles of Facilities Managers, Heads of or even Directors can adopt the concept of ‘energy profiling’, ‘waste profiling’ or even ‘consumer/staff behaviour profiling’.

Collaborate on where your business needs to start first and where you can make the most impact. Get the buy-in from the top, engage with your teams, report and then replicate as you work down the priority order (rinse and repeat). Just like we’re told to do the hardest bits first in pretty much any project.

Our takeaway: Start with where you’re able to make the most impact (from the top down).

You can register to attend edieLIVE 19-20 May 2020 here.

If you’d like more advice on reducing your carbon footprint, check out The Woosh BLooprint. The BLooprint covers water management systems, waste management and the processes that are out there including the waste-to-energy project.

Illustration from Chapter Four of The Woosh BLooprint

Is this something you think you can implement in your business?

If you’re a business about to embark on the journey to sustainability, leave a comment below – your story could inspire more businesses to do the same.

People will avoid certain brands like a bad smell… Don’t let yours be one of them.

No one wants to walk into a washroom that is unclean or missing essential consumables like soap and toilet paper; less still do visitors want to discover an unpleasant smell. Yet malodours are typically the first thing that are noticed by visitors when entering a washroom, setting the course for the remainder of a person’s visit.

We now know that visitors will use the state of a company’s washroom as a benchmark for a business, regarding those with poorly maintained assets and facilities as far less favourable to work with or buy from. Air quality is just one of a number of factors that has an influence on this vital first impression. In many ways, the entire washroom experience stands and falls with the quality of air care, making it one of the most critical features of washroom management, particularly for companies that take their visitors’ perception and overall reputation seriously.  

But why is smell such a big factor?
One answer to this question lies in the world of neuroscience. As an article in Psychology Today points out, the hippocampus, a region of the brain that regulates emotions, is now known as the site in which time-and-place ‘smell memories’ are encoded. This encoding process leaves individuals associating smells with a powerful ‘spatiotemporal’ moment which can be triggered when the individual again encounters an odour in similar or even completely different environments.

This process and the memories that are created are understood to be very difficult to alter or erase, making the washroom air quality challenge all the more important for businesses concerned with setting the right tone. The issue only takes on greater significance when factoring in the huge amount of research that suggests the lopsided power that bad memories have over good ones. In other words, if a visitor has had a bad washroom experience, particularly due to malodour, they are more likely to remember that time more vividly than other more positive occasions.

So how can you assure a positive experience?
And what are the pros and cons of the options available to businesses? Not all air fresheners were created equal and some are better suited to certain cases than others. Let’s take a look at them.   

First up is the aerosol auto-dispenser.
This is found across all different types of washrooms, particularly public loos as they are the most cost-effective way to eliminate bad smells. While these are definitely the most budget-friendly solution, the freshening smell that they dispense will disappear far quicker than other options on the market. They also have a higher impact on the environment. As such, aerosols are likely not the best option for businesses that bring lots of important clients into their offices, or for those that have green aspirations.

Secondly, you have reed diffusers.
These are now a staple in many homes but are increasingly being seen in the washroom environment. Reed diffusers are excellent at sustaining a fragrance, offering all manner of sophisticated smells that are not only easy on the eyes and nose but also friendly to the environment. The downside is their cost due to the heavy use of expensive essential oils and the need to buy multiples for larger washrooms. Businesses should also watch out for kit-style diffuser packs which will likely contain synthetic fragrances that are home to all manner of unsafe chemicals. Diffusers are excellent for executive-level offices and design-conscious companies that want to impress visitors no matter the cost.

Finally, you have cold air diffusers.
These are the most sophisticated option available to businesses yet also the most expensive. Much like reed diffusers, cold air diffusers are now becoming a staple of the modern home but are also being seen in greater numbers throughout the office and washroom environment. Nebulisers will atomise the essential oils that are most often added with water. This mixture is then propelled out of the unit, releasing whatever fragrance or essential oil has been chosen. Some of these products can be noisy, though many are designed to operate as quietly as possible. For Woosh these are a real winner, typically getting the best feedback from customers and visitors to our clients’ washrooms.  

Want to know more about air quality and washroom management excellence? Download our BLooprint here:

The BLooprint – The Facilities Manager’s Guide To Effective Washroom Management

Today marks the launch of our landmark guide for the facilities management industry.

As you may have guessed, this document, which will be the first edition of a series we’ve called the ‘BLooprint’, is all about washroom management – how it’s done, why it matters, and what the experts think. The premise of the BLooprint is simple: it looks to equip FMs with the knowledge they need in order to manage and maintain truly outstanding washrooms.

So, why have we written this? Having engaged with notable industry figures like Martin Pickard, Beth Goodyear and Liz Kentish, we found that there was a gap in knowledge that needed filling. These three contributors showed us that a go-to guide would be ideal for FMs looking to raise the standard of their facilities, especially for those who are new to the profession and unsure of best practice.

As conversations with the three contributors progressed, it became clear that washrooms are an often overlooked yet critically important aspect of an FM’s remit, with little direction or advice out there in the public domain. This is ultimately why we have started the BLooprint series. We believe this edition will provide FM professionals with the final word on how to achieve washroom excellence.

Granted, there are bigger things in life than washrooms and it should be a given that they are properly cared for. All too often, however, building users are let down and have to put up with less than satisfactory facilities. This needs to change.  

Let’s put this in perspective. The typical office worker pops to the loo around three to four times a day. For an average-sized facility, that’s over 1.1 million complaint opportunities per year – and that’s leaving aside other visitors and important guests. What if instead these visits were opportunities to leave a positive impact? With edition one of the BLooprint series to hand, this becomes a far more realistic target. It gives readers the advice they need to fundamentally change how their washrooms are managed, dramatically increasing the chances of turning a potentially bad impression into a wholly positive one.

Research has found that a bad washroom experience has a profoundly negative impact on the perception of an organisation, with visitors being far less likely to spend time or money with a company that has a poorly maintained building and facilities. “Toilets are a touchstone of building,” says FM ‘guru’ Martin Pickard, “if you want to know whether a building is being cared for or not, go in the loo, and you can just tell whether somebody’s got their handle of this place and are looking after it properly.”

It’s not just reputational damage that results from poor washrooms, though. Consider the financial impact that it can also have. In 2016 alone, there were an estimated 137 million working days lost due to sickness or injury – and that’s just the UK. As Pickard again goes on to highlight the “obvious yet decidedly ignored connection between washroom hygiene and a company’s profit margins.”

Management is one thing; effective management is another. We recognise the FM industry’s tendency to prefer data and ‘hard facts’, which is why there’s a quantitative approach to accompany the opinions of our FM luminaries. Taking on board both the qualitative and the quantitative approaches, readers will be able to build a clearer picture of how a washroom functions, how it impacts an organisation, and what needs to be done to see it sparkle all year round.

Flu season… An expensive season for some businesses.

Autumn and winter signals many things: the changing of the seasons, leaves falling off the trees, receding daylight and, of course, Christmas. But the long cold nights also bring with them an increased incidence of cold and flu. Indeed, for many, the move from autumn into winter marks the beginning of ‘cold and flu season’.

Public washrooms are often considered a main offender in the spread of cold and flu. It’s hardly surprising when you consider just how many people use these facilities day to day. They are often cramped, poorly ventilated rooms with little in the way of infection prevention. Thousands of people breath in the same air and make use of the same fixtures – toilet roll holders, sinks, soaps, towels, taps and so on. It seems like only a matter of time before a visitor picks up something. 

According to the Centre for Economic and Business Research, absences from work equate to losses of around £18bn in the UK every single year – and that number looks sets to rise to a staggering £26bn by 2030. 

While the common cold and influenza virus only make up a portion of that figure – minor illnesses accounted for 24.8% of all sickness absences in 2016 – the numbers still demonstrate a need for diligence from both individuals and the people who manage public restrooms.

Cold and flu viruses are mainly spread via coughs and sneezes. Poorly cleaned surfaces also pose a risk, especially when an infected person touches something and hasn’t washed their hands thoroughly. Colds usually go away by the themselves, but flu can be much more serious and is thought to result in the deaths of around 500,000 people worldwide each year. 

Because these viruses are mutating all the time, it’s almost impossible for some to immunise people fully. Vaccines help those that are most vulnerable, but no inoculation is comprehensive to guarantee full protection.

Research has shown that viruses can survive on surfaces for up to 24 hours. This means a person who coughs or splutters in the washroom is highly likely to pass on their illness to another visitor. And, of course, the more people that use a washroom, the more likely it is that an infection will spread. Somewhat alarmingly, medical literature has also revealed that germs spread through the air via hand dryers and toilet flushes. 

Unsurprisingly, in this study bacteria were found in much higher quantities within public washroom environments, with sinks and handles proving the worst offenders. Human immune systems are very good at combating the worst of these nasties but, as Dr Nuala O Connor, GP says “Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others from getting sick with vomiting, diarrhoea, coughs, colds, sore throat, flu, in fact almost all infections.”

Thorough hand washing is, and always will be, the first line of defence for fighting cold and flu. There are, however, many things that washroom management provider can do to join the fight. Beyond meticulous and well managed cleaning rotas, owners can install automatic systems to reduce the need for individuals to touch surfaces. 

Enclosed dispensers will also eliminate having to fumble around in search of consumables. Hand hygiene facilities should be made widely available to eliminate infection at source.  

Get in touch with us to see how else we can help turn the tide against cold and flu in your workplace. Or take a look at our range of hygiene products and dispensing solutions here.

Loos with views…

They may be small, but their importance isn’t to
be underestimated, for loo’s with views can
increase property value.

Whether it be in the workplace, retail or hospitality, washrooms are a key
expression of the company values. Organisations that value and understand
the power of first impressions will go above and beyond to impress. High-
end washroom countertops, top-notch fixtures and spectacular views all show
your attention to detail and highlight your level of commitment. Believe it or
not, loos with views command higher rent too.

To inspire and convince you, here is a roundup of some of the most unusual
of toilets, boasting the most striking of views. Be it in an office building,
public facilities, or a seemingly inconspicuous coffee shops, loos with views
are there to steal the show.

We have a personal preference (hint, it involves two-way mirrors), but what is
yours? Share your favourite on our Twitter page.

Mumin Papa Café – the women’s bathroom is built into an aquarium,
Akashi, Japan.

The toilets inside The Shard boast stunning views of London

Toilet perched over a disused 15-story elevator shaft,

The JR tower in Japan is equipped with
panoramic urinal views.

Commerzbank headquarters – urinals with a view over Frankfurt


Don’t Miss A Sec’, two-way mirror glass public toilet in London,
Monica Bonvicini.

Because it wouldn’t be fair if the gents at the Shard didn’t enjoy similar
London views as the ladies…



4 FM Mega-Trends

Woosh have been looking into the future, and these are 4 important trends that we think will affect the FM and service industry, going forward into the next decade.

Global warming will be one of the main sustainability challenges for the coming decade. To become more energy and carbon-efficient, the facilities and service industries will have to deal with challenges that will have a number of consequences for them. This will affect supply and value chains as well as building design, management, and maintenance. The systemic design will become a necessity when designing products, service solutions, and technology.

Technology- love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. It can increase productivity, lead to the development of new industries, as well as income growth and reduced poverty. Towards 2020 Woosh expect to see major progress in intelligent technology, such as near field communication (NFC) sensors, smart surveillance, security applications, and smart robots. This will enable the automation of more activities. With prices for advanced technologies declining, and labour costs increasing, we believe technology will take over more domains and functions as robotics improve in quality.

There will be increased demands for new skill sets, as technological development squeezes low-quality labour out of the market. For example: cleaning, will no longer be just an issue of ‘elbow grease’ or security just a set of ‘beady eyes’. New technologies will require that people work in a more resourceful and productive way.

Individualisation will be a must if facilities management and service providers are to make an impact on organisations and social relations. People and organisations want to feel special and unique. No one wants ‘one-size-fits-all’ products, services or solutions. Individualisation will be prominent as employees and customers increase their demands for individual attention. In a fast-paced and ever-changing world there will be a need for solutions that are scalable, customisable and cost-effective.

Over the coming decade, an increased focus on health and well-being will affect more aspects of private and business life. With lifestyle-related illnesses on the increase, the focus on health, exercise, and diet, will create a major impact on the global FM and services industry.

In Europe, over 30% of integrated FM revenue is generated by the healthcare sector. As budget cuts in Europe affect service provision, we think governments will likely outsource more activities.

The growth and scale of lifestyle-related diseases, like diabetes, will lead to new incentives in building designs to promote healthier and more productive lifestyles among company employees. Buildings will be assessed and designed to promote more active, comfortable, and fruitful lifestyles. As sitting seems to be the new smoking, more companies will be using flexible desking, have in house gyms and make provisions for healthy eating.

Written By Ashlyn-Jane

Orange Revolution: How the Dutch do FM (FM World)

Woosh loves this enlightening article written by Sara Bean for FM World. 

The Dutch & FM. small

The Netherlands are having no trouble luring an influx of young people into facilities management with innovations such as activity-based working and a service-led focus boosting its profile. Sara Bean finds out what it is that sets the Dutch art of FM apart. 

The reasons for this interest is because the Dutch are widely acknowledged as leading the way in the adoption of more productive and innovative ways of working, in particular activity-based working (ABW) and they also take a refreshing approach to facilities management.

FM is taken seriously in Holland, where it is perceived as an important and popular discipline – whether you’re working within the private and public sector, as an in-house FM or as part of a services supplier.

Ron van der Weerd is the chairman of EuroFM and programme manager of ZP7 Real Estate reconstruction at Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen, and was until recently the dean of the School of Facility Management at Hanze University.

He says: “FM is in a very advantageous position here in Holland because the profession is really mature and pretty well recognised, and that has to do with two key aspects. One is our educational system, which plays an important role, and secondly, we depend more here on a service economy than a production economy.”

“We also have a lack of space in Holland, which is trying to accommodate a pretty large population of 17 million people; so you always have to be very efficient and organised and use space as best you can with the least waste, so all of our culture is about being efficient and effective.”

Figures from the Dutch FM association, Facilities Management Netherlands (FMN), show 260,000 people are involved in the facilities business in the Netherlands with the total market including real estate worth 77.2 billion. This contains both real estate – at 39.9 billion – as well as FM services at 37.2 billion. From that, about 22 billion is outsourced, with a 40/60 split between in-house and outsourced FM.

The Dutch and the art of space management

FM correspondent Andrew Brown argues that Dutch attitudes to space management can also be seen in the way its national football team plays

The Dutch (and to an extent, their north European neighbours in Scandinavia) are regarded as leaders in ideas on how to improve employee engagement, productivity, wellbeing and basically putting people ahead of the capital asset. What you might not know is that this is rooted in Dutch culture. There is a distinct Dutch way of doing things.

Organisations like Veldhoen adhere to the concept of activity based working (ABW) with a philosophy about workplace and how to improve an organisation’s performance. It all hinges on ABW. They won’t bother working with you unless you buy into their way of doing things.

This is a very Dutch attitude and a principled approach that flows through many aspects of Dutch life including, as a prime example, football. Total Football, to be precise.

The biggest and most successful exponent of the total football philosophy (tactics don’t even cover the concept) was Johan Cruyff. He died just before Easter and in every obituary were the words legend, genius and influence.

He changed football forever. His approach was one based upon questioning received wisdom (again a Dutch attitude). He was an original disruptive thinker (something FM in the UK is crying out for right now).

You can read almost anywhere on the internet about total football and Cruyff’s influence, but his determination to be creative and his challenge of authority inspired, astonished and delighted contemporaries.

Together with Rinus Michels, he re-imagined football as a swirling spatial contest: whoever managed and controlled limited space on the field would win. David Winner, author of the book Brilliant Orange, argues that in this Cruyff and Michels drew on wider Dutch culture: for centuries the people of the Netherlands had been finding ways to think about, exploit and control space in their crowded sea-threatened land. It is present in Dutch design, architecture and land management. It’s present in workplace and FM.

Can you see the connection? I’d argue there are lessons here for ‘professionals’ in workplace and FM. We need to rethink what is happening in the UK support services sector just as Cruyff and his colleagues did in the 70s and 80s with regard to Dutch and world football.

FM can learn from workplace. Workplace can learn from football. But whatever happens, with or without ABW, it needs leadership. It also needs rules and a rigid system to allow the freedom of such a swirling spatial contest to succeed.

Because even as players swap positions and roles (think about that in a workplace scenario for a minute) the system fails without the genius and leadership of someone like a Cruyff in its midst. Let’s go Dutch.

Read more about the Dutch FM trends and much more here on FM World’s website: http://www.fm-world.co.uk/features/feature-articles/orange-revolution-how-the-dutch-do-fm/

SOURCE: www.fm-world.co.uk 


BIFM devises new FM supervisor apprenticeships

Article from FM World

BIFM has been working with an employer Trailblazer group to develop a new apprenticeship for FM supervisors.

The new apprenticeship for FM supervisors aims to prepare an individual for managing a facilities management service, or a group of services, which can be labelled as ‘hard’ (estate/building management) or soft (catering/cleaning/administration/security).

All apprentices would be required to supervise others, to understand the contractual requirements and service delivery targets between their employing organisation and the client/customer in order to achieve service targets. The apprentice will have to provide customer service skills and be proactive in finding solutions to problems.

As part of this development, the employer Trailblazer group has produced a draft assessment plan to support the previously approved apprenticeship standard and is seeking feedback from industry on the suitability and feasibility of its proposals.

To participate in the employers’ consultation, visit: www.bifm.org.uk/TrailblazerFMSconsultation

Fraser Talbot, Professional Standards and Education Manager at BIFM, said: “It is important that the industry has apprenticeships that provide individuals with the knowledge and skills to meet their needs. That is why it is crucial that the trailblazer groups consult with the wider industry to gather feedback on their proposal. That is why we are now asking employers to respond to the consultation as it is imperative that a representative view of the industry is taken – from large companies to SMEs.”

To learn more and download the Assessment Plan and Apprenticeship Standards, follow the link below.
– See more at: http://www.fm-world.co.uk/news/fm-industry-news/bifm-devises-new-fm-supervisor-apprenticeships/#sthash.1M2GnntP.dpuf

BIFM Board Update

Check out this article from FM World regarding the BIFM board changes.

26th May BIFM Members’ Council meeting saw the election of
Non-Executive Directors to the BIFM board.


The two board members have been confirmed as:

>Members’ Council Representative; Ashleigh Brown, Consultant/Owner, Ash Brown Consulting

>Regional Group Representative; Stephen Roots, CBRE Global Workplace Solutions, Account Director

As both candidates stood for re-election and were elected unopposed, they remain in the positions they previously held, beginning their new two-year Board tenure immediately after the BIFM Annual General Meeting (AGM) which takes place in London on 13 July.

BIFM would like to thank Ashleigh and Stephen for their commitment in a volunteer capacity and for their tireless work for the Board to date and wish them well for their coming tenure.

The British Institute of Facilities Managment board therefore continues as:

>Julie Kortens – Chairman

>Lucy Black – Chair of Members’ Council

>Paul Ash – Finance Non-Executive Director

>Ashleigh Brown – Deputy Chair & [Members’ Council Representative]

>John Coke – Finance Director and Company Secretary

>Victoria O’Farrell – Special Interest Group Representative

>James Sutton – BIFM CEO [Ray Perry as successor]

>Stephen Roots – Deputy Chair & [Regional Representative]

>Keith Waterman – Chair Governance & Audit Committee

>Stephen Welch – Members’ Council Representative


See more at: http://www.fm-world.co.uk/news/fm-industry-news/bifm-board-update/#sthash.CGFHDCfF.dpuf

Q&A with Alistair Craig (article by Office Show)

Q & A

Woosh loves this great Q & A with Anabas Managing Director, Alistair Craig.

We are proud to support Anabas as they grow and we are even prouder to say we have supported Anabas whilst they set up a facilities operation from scratch in 3 weeks for the landmark building in central London!


In this latest speaker Q&A, managing director Alistair Craig, from corporate office facilities management specialist Anabas, provides his top tips for office managers looking to enhance their workplace facilities, and provides a snapshot of what to expect in his seminar session at office* 2016.

Who or what has been the biggest influence on your career?

Early on in my career I had an inspirational boss who lived by the mantra ‘customer perception is reality’.  It’s something that has proven to hold true throughout my career and an important mantra for everyone to bear in mind if you wish your customers to be advocates of the product or service you provide.

What do you love most about your work?

The variety of industries and companies we deal with at Anabas and their different cultures, ways of working and workspaces, which are often extensions of how they see themselves.  I thrive on the diversity– I can be visiting a global advertising agency in the morning, a top law firm in the afternoon and a financial services business later in the same day.  All different, but equally immensely proud of their workspaces.

What has been your biggest challenge in your career?

Moving from a global FTSE100 company to a medium sized business where the buck stops with me.  No excuses.

What’s the most exciting thing you’ve been asked to do in the last 12 months?

 To set-up a facilities operation from scratch in three weeks for a landmark central London building for occupancy by 2,200 people.

From experience, what’s the most optimal working environment?

The most optimal working environment is a very personal thing. It depends on the individual, their role and mobility. My general observation is that the best locations (those with more space, access to natural daylight and good views) are afforded to those people who spend the least amount of time at them.  The converse also holds true. I think ‘bosses’ should consider more carefully the best allocation of working space in an office.  The best way to do this is to go back to the floor and work in the role/space that their employees are given.

What are your 3 top tips for office managers looking to enhance their workplace facilities?

  1. Give your employees good coffee/tea facilities. Global surveys say this is really important. That Monday morning coffee sets the tone for the day – a happy workforce makes for a happy workplace!
  2. Create space for people to collaborate. Most meeting rooms are far too big for the 2-3 person collaboration which is vital for organisational success.
  3. Cleanliness is really important to offices occupants.  Make sure you don’t skip on cleaning your offices properly.  Nobody wants to work in a grimy space.

What can visitors expect from your session?

 The session will allow office managers to:

  1. Get a quick and helpful snapshot of what’s important for managing facilities management in the corporate office – to create a safe, compliant and welcoming workplace
  2. Understand what’s important in terms of statutory maintenance and health and safety legislation to ensuring a safe and fully compliant working environment
  3. The little things that can make a big difference – small touches to enhance your facilities and get the best from your workplace

What are you looking forward to most at office* 2016?

Meeting other visitors to the show and absorbing some of the ideas and innovations on offer.

Article & Q&A from Office Show.

See the full article here: http://www.officeshow.co.uk/speaker-qa-alistair-craig-managing-director-at-anabas/