Scaling a small business is one of the most difficult times in the life of an entrepreneur. One day you’re working by yourself, the next you’re wondering whether you need an HR department now that you have twenty employees, or whether it’s about time you hired an FD to replace that part-time accountant you met in the kebab shop.
Sometimes the questions you face are more mundane than strategic, but perhaps no less important. Do you have enough toilets, for instance? The legal requirement is for at least two toilets for a business with more than five employees, and a minimum of five toilets for those with 76-100 employees. Yet one in five small businesses fails to provide sufficient ‘facilities’ under the law.
That’s according to a survey of 2,000 employees by Initial Washroom Hygiene – a company that provides goods and services for, you guessed it, office toilets.
It may be self-serving – as most of the research that crosses MT’s desk is – but it does have some interesting findings. Half of those surveyed regularly had to queue for the loos, wasting seven minutes a week in the process, or five hours a year. Nearly a third said their business had been negatively affected by the standard of their washrooms.
This isn’t just a case of lost productivity. Companies could be flushing new business down the drain (sorry), with 7% of employees saying customers or clients had complained to them about the state of the loos and 3% saying they’d lost business as a result. It’s perhaps more of an issue with, say, a food supplier than a law firm, but would you shake hands on a deal with someone who doesn’t keep a good supply of soap in their bathroom? The little things count.