In this article, Andrew Howarth, Director of Flexicount, discusses how the latest footfall technology is helping businesses to better manage their washroom facilities and help keep reputations intact.


For most people running a business, washrooms will simply be regarded as a necessary amenity. Few however will realise how important they are to a company’s image.

Research has shown that the overall state of a washroom has a significant impact on a visitor’s perception of an organisation, with some respondents even stating that a poorly maintained facility would make them less likely to work or spend money with that same business.

Brand reputation, as we know, is hugely important to current and future success of a business. It builds trust with a company’s public and stimulates longer- term growth. Yet, as is often the case within facilities management, washrooms are subject to the same financial pressures as any other service line.

With margins for cleaning contracts growing thinner by the day – not to mention wage pressures driving some to drastically reduce provision – the need for evidence-based resource management is now more important than ever, particularly if businesses want to maintain a hard-earned reputation. So, what can be done?

How footfall counting technology is turning

the tide In an ideal world, cleaning contracts would not have to face such pressure. Unfortunately, management will always be required to extract as much value as possible out of the materials and labour that they have been given to work with. Without the right intelligence though, operating under this kind of service pressure will typically see poor practices and unnecessary wastage set in. This is counterproductive, not to mention costly, and will in time compound the service problems which FMs face.

Luckily, breaking free of this unproductive cycle is possible with the right tools. In fact, the latest footfall counting technology is now giving FMs the management advantage they need in order to maintain a consistent level of service without having to go into the red. This is done in a number of ways.

Firstly, a good web-based dashboard will allow an FM to easily understand exactly how footfall peaks and


troughs across different parts of a building throughout the working week, giving them an immediate grasp on where cleaning attention is needed most but also allowing for strategic forward planning.

If the FM, for example, can see that the men’s washroom on floor six of the client’s facility is rarely used during the latter part of the week, they can then scale back provision as the evidence suggests there is little need to devote attention to it. This intelligence frees up time and precious labour, allowing it to be used within another part of the facility which sees greater usage.

Secondly, a better understanding of an asset’s footfall will also allow more accurate staff scheduling. Once a solution has been installed for a certain length of time, washroom trends can be determined and peaks in use anticipated. Management can then begin to match their available labour and materials according to these demands, which sees staff time being saved for the tasks that actually matter.

This is particularly useful for FMs with large estates to manage – with footfall data they can anticipate demand and flex staff and resources according to specific need by washroom location. This information will also eliminate the scourge of unnecessary overcleaning.

FM’s key value proposition is often said to be how it contributes to the client’s bottom line, yet without people counting technology this proposition is rarely fully realised. A lack of clarity around the function of an asset means resource will often be dedicated inaccurately, leading to unnecessary expenditure, wasted labour and, more often than not, an unhappy client.

Ultimately, footfall data allows washrooms which are used most often to be cleaned most often, meaning visitors are more likely to have a positive experience, which in turn helps to improve a company’s overall standing. This technology gives FMs the actionable data they need while helping to maintain service excellence at a price they can afford. Most importantly, it’s helping to keep clients’ reputations intact.

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