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More than half (52%) of women use the toilet as a place to escape to if they are experiencing high levels of anxiety, according to a new study by bathroom tile specialists Topps Tiles.

With many offices set to open in line with July 19th, the survey looked into the bathroom habits of 1,000 Brits – and it’s clear that toilet cubicles aren’t just used for the obvious necessities! In fact, more women are using the toilet as a safe space to experience some relief from the pressures of work and everyday life.

The study revealed that toilets are not only a space for some time alone, but women are also more likely to open up about private issues like mental ill health in this comfortable and informal setting.

The findings tell us what other activities people often fall on to pass time. Over a third (36%) of people scroll through Facebook whilst sitting on the loo, and women in particular (29%) watch TikTok videos for a mindless distraction from their busy day.

As offices in the UK are given the go ahead to reopen on July 19, the shift from remote working to an in-person workspace may lead to increased anxiety for some employees.

Here are some tips to help businesses support the mental wellbeing of their employees at work:

  • Communicate a clear and phased return-to-office plan to all employees
  • Do not pressurise any employees to return to the office immediately
  • Schedule regular 1-to-1 meetings to check-in with employees
  • Establish a workplace culture that is open about mental health discussions
  • Prioritise team building activities to encourage healthy employee relationships at work

Harriet Goodacre, Brand Communications Manager at Topps Tiles comments on the role that bathrooms play in our day-to-day lives:

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“It’s true that bathrooms provide a sanctuary away from the stresses of life. For women especially, they are a place for some guaranteed peace and quiet, allowing them time to relax entirely and enjoy a few moments of silence.

“There are very few other spaces in public or at home that can offer this time to go unseen or unheard. Hopefully, our research will encourage people to open up more and feel less embarrassed about bathroom talk and mental wellbeing. Instead, we should really be embracing the bathroom as a safe place –  they help us to cope with the pressures of life much more than we realise. “

Jayne Harrison, Head of Employment Law at Richard Nelson LLP commented:

“Many employees are feeling anxious about returning to the workplace as they will lose the flexibility and autonomy in determining how their workday is structured. Others are concerned for their health, as working from the office means earlier starts, longer commutes, and less flexibility on working hours.

“Employers should be looking to support their employees as we ease out of the pandemic, ensuring their policies take into account the voices of the workforce and are representative.

With some employees being filled with dread at the thought of their commute, and others eager to get back to the office, it is important that employers ease their staff into whatever form of future working they decide to adopt.”

With 3.5 hours a week spent peacefully on the loo, whether that’s at home or at work, Topps Tiles are encouraging us all to take the taboo out of bathroom talk.

You can find the full research here: https://www.toppstiles.co.uk/blog/news/behind-closed-doors-british-bathroom-habits-revealed

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