Using the toilet in a post-lockdown world without making a splash!
The ‘new normal’ means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, depending largely on how vulnerable they are to COVID-19 and how their livelihoods have been affected by it.
One thing that is true of every single one of us, however, is that nature will always call and sometimes, it just so happens to call when we’re out and about.
Generally speaking, this wouldn’t be an issue, as public toilets are (by and large) far from the horrendous hovels they once were.
But in an age of constant coronavirus crisis, where cleanliness is held in arguably even higher regard than godliness, how are we to navigate the toilets away from our home bases? It would appear we have to look west for the answer.
Traffic lights for toilets
In the world according to coronavirus using a traffic light system to dictate when you can take a bathroom break might just become standard practice.
In Italy, where the virus first began to take hold in Europe, even back in April, when we in the UK had only just been put into lockdown, many factories and warehouses had begun to implement systems to help workers use the toilet safely.
Aside from simply ensuring there was a hefty supply of hand sanitiser, this included a yellow and green traffic light system that workers can activate every time they leave a cubicle, so the next worker waiting in line knows when it’s safe to enter.
A simple and elegant solution that has practical solutions not only in the workplace but in retail stores and offices too, not to mention gyms, pubs and restaurants.
Versions of this system have been in use for years, with an automated LED lighting system known rather oddly as “Tooshlights” being used as far back as 2014 to signal when an occupant was finished with their ‘business’.
But that was a bespoke and expensive solution. This, on the other hand, is a practical and affordable solution and once the world gets back to normal, the lights can quite comfortably be repurposed too.
A multitude of uses
Andon boards and traffic light systems have been used for years in factory and warehouse settings, with andon boards and lights specifically ideal for alerting the cleaning team in large warehouses that certain toilets need cleaning attention.
These boards have several potential uses and can be used to present various production line and workstation status updates, production volumes and plenty more besides.
The traffic light system, meanwhile, utilises clear, robust coloured LED signs in a number of designs and can be used not only to signal when toilets are free or need to be cleaned but when it’s safe for a customer to enter a store.
So, whilst it is undeniably amusing, don’t follow the lead of one Norfolk pub and put together a wonky, makeshift traffic light system out of bits of old scaffolding and an old set of traffic lights bought on eBay; go the professional route.
Traffic light systems for toilets are no joke but are an affordable and practical solution to a problem most of us would probably rather not discuss. At least not in polite company...