Last Updated JULY 2023
Why Smart Restrooms Matter
With the advancement of smart restroom technology, facility managers are now confidently achieving 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% of buildings use at least one form of smart building technology1 and by next year experts estimate there will be over 1.4 billion connected devices deployed within commercial buildings across the U.S.2
Traditionally, restrooms haven’t been the priority when facility managers evaluate their smart building management strategy. However, more facility managers are realizing that restrooms present a great opportunity to showcase their detailed attention to facility hygiene and cleanliness. And with the advancement of smart restroom technology, facility managers are now confidently achieving cleanliness and hygiene goals that have a measurable impact on tenant satisfaction and sustainability.
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:
1. Restrooms are one of the most highly trafficked, but least understood areas of any building.
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.
2. Restrooms are a source of wasteful spending.
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, which can result in significant waste of total purchased consumables.
In addition to having a significant financial impact, this practice can create sustainability issues as well. Whether it’s reducing waste or maximizing ROI, any opportunity to realize improvements through smart restroom management should be explored.
3. Commercial building cleaning procedures are typically static and outdated.
Inside public restrooms, we have all seen the clipboard tucked behind the door that’s used to track schedule-based cleaning routines. While conventional, this time-based cleaning routine doesn’t account for servicing opportunities that occur in between visits.
With people returning to work, facility managers are working with building service contractors to reimagine how cleaning gets performed—moving from traditional schedules to activity- and need-based execution.
4. You can’t have a healthy building without clean, hygienic restrooms.
A recent survey found that about three-quarters (74%) of consumers agree that if the restroom is not clean, they do not believe the rest of the facility is being cleaned properly.3
Janitorial teams face various challenges when it comes to 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 working to maintain 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.
5. Smart restroom technology is ready now.
Transforming traditional restrooms into smart restrooms is no longer a mysterious undertaking. Smart, connected software like Onvation has been tested, implemented and successfully used in numerous commercial environments, including office buildings, airports and manufacturing facilities.
Smart 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.
With heightened awareness around building hygiene in today’s post-pandemic era, building leaders must be strategic about how they deploy their cleaning resources—making their efforts visible and reassuring building occupants that their health and safety is 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 good for occupants, it’s good for business.
Workplace Insights Blog by Forest Himmelfarb, Head of Global Strategy, Kimberly-Clark Professional
With heightened awareness around building hygiene in today’s post-pandemic era, building leaders must be strategic about how they deploy their cleaning resources—making their efforts visible and reassuring building occupants that their health and safety is at the forefront of the facility management team’s efforts.
1 The Internet of Things in Smart Commercial Buildings 2018 to 2022, Memoori, https://memoori.com/portfolio/internet-things-smart-commercial-buildings-2018-2022/
2 Smart Energy Decisions Research, The State of IoT and Smart Buildings, April 2020, page 10, PowerPoint Presentation (smartenergydecisions.com)
3 KCP Hygiene Consumer Behavior Study, May 2020