What are the bathrooms like where you work? And could they be an indicator of the future success of your company?
The value of a clean toilet
Years ago, Clark told the story of a Wall Street stock analyst who liked to visit the companies he invested his clients' money in. This guy got in the habit of routinely using the bathroom at the companies before a scheduled meeting. If the toilet was filthy, he would cancel his appointment and pull all financial support.
This stock analyst knew that if the bathroom was filthy, the employees were not valued -- and that speaks volumes about the company's chances of long-term success.
In a similar way, you could make the same case for those reserved parking spots for upper management at a company. Priority parking tells the little guy that he or she doesn't count, and that doesn't make employees feel valued.
A few years ago, USA Today reported that dirty bathrooms were hurting business in some very direct ways. Nearly 50% of restaurant patrons who experience a dirty bathroom will tell friends. Almost 3 in 10 restaurant patrons won't give a place a second chance if they encounter a dirty bathroom. And if you're a restaurant owner, remember, customers are taking pictures of your dirty bathroom and sharing it on social media.
Of course, when you gotta go, you gotta go. That's why several different smartphone apps like SitorSquat and Clean Bathroom Finder have been developed (available for both Android and iOS), pointing you to the nearest clean bathrooms wherever you are. And if you're in the midtown section of a metro area, so many chain stores have recently popped up that people are starting to use them as a "go-to" facility. (Here's a tip: They usually hide them on the top floor of the building, in the back, with no signage.)
A public solution...
Some cities have tried to solve this public toilet problem. The city of Portland, Ore., has come up with an answer that's really caught fire. Based on an old European model, they're putting up tin shacks that only partially block people's view -- you can see feet and heads, and the sink is placed outside, but they provide enough privacy to do your business. This eliminates the prevailing problem of restrooms being used for illicit activities.
And these things are not only working great, they're ultra-cheap too. Portland's restrooms cost just $60,000 apiece. according to The Los Angeles Times. Let's hope cities all over America put these in place. It's an innovative solution to address a basic need we all have!