Designing Office Washrooms & Toilets
Designing an office washroom may involve a little more planning than you’d imagine and can sometimes have a big impact on your business. From improved staff engagement to enhancing the image of a brand for customers and clients, there’s plenty of reasons to get it right. From the nature and number of users to the ideal design to complement your company brand, take a look at our top tips for a smoother design process.
Fit for Purpose
Firstly, it’s important to remember that an office washroom is a public facility. As such, there are certain criteria and guidelines to be met. The facilities need to be safe, hygienic and suitable for the staff who will be using them. Provision for disabled people must be incorporated in the design. Even if it isn’t required at the time of fit-out, in line with the UK Equality Act, businesses must provide equal access to toilets for disabled people, to the same standard as non-disabled people.
It’s also important to ensure you include the appropriate number of toilets, washbasins and urinals to adequately cater for the number of both male and female employees who’ll be using them. The exact ratio of users to facilities is slightly different depending on whether the toilets will be designed for mixed or single sex use. Assessing use will help you to determine how large to make the washroom, how many toilets to include and how many sinks or hand drying fixtures you’ll need.
Basic facilities, such as hot and cold water, soap and sufficient paper towels or hand dryers are obvious essentials. There must also be suitable means for the disposal of sanitary products in the female facilities.
A further consideration however, is the inclusion of additional facilities, such as lockers or changing facilities. In areas with changing facilities, lockers and benches are two key features. Benching provides sleek seating alongside the storage requirement. Cubicle systems for changing facilities provide privacy while presenting a professional image.
A well thought-out washroom can provide a pleasant experience for staff. Excellent facilities, presented in an attractive environment, tend to have a positive effect on staff engagement. Employees feel more valued when facilities and the working environment are comfortable, clean and stylish. Staff satisfaction is often enhanced, which in turn, leads to improved productivity. Similarly, giving employees the opportunity to be involved in the design process will enhance engagement. The chance to collaborate boosts team bonding and gives employees a vested interest in ensuring the project is a success.
The right washroom not only strengthens staff morale but also creates a good first impression on customers, clients and potential employees. Some corporate facilities tend towards a less commercial feel and opt for more homely bathroom design. Colour choice is a key factor and can make a world of difference to the environment despite the products being standard commercial cubicles.
Many businesses choose to introduce corporate colours or logos in their washrooms. This creates a unique feature in the washroom and a coherent, professional feel for the facility. Stand-out features, such as individual hand basins in cubicles, add both the wow-factor to corporate washrooms, while creating a more comfortable and homely environment for employees.
Fashionable and Functional
Most commercial buildings provide functional washrooms, incorporating stark colours that create a clinical atmosphere. However, function and fashion needn’t be mutually exclusive. While a corporate washroom does need to be practical, it can still be a pleasant place that has a positive impact on those who use it.
Clever use of colour can create the illusion of a brighter interior for spaces with limited natural light. Similarly, strategically placed wall mirrors or large mirror units can help to make a small space seem larger and lighter.
Duct panelling and vanity units do more than just conceal pipework, they add the perfect, professional finish to any washroom. Concealed panel fixings also allow for easy access to pipework, making maintenance more straightforward. Should damage or a major plumbing problem arise, it’s essential to be able to service the washroom easily, to fix the problem and get the washroom up and running again.
Similarly, toilet hygiene and the cleanliness of washroom facilities is an important issue, particularly in the prevention of the spread of infections. Highly used areas need to incorporate functional designs to ensure the washroom is easy and efficient to maintain and keep clean. Darker colours or woodgrain help to mask the impact of heavy traffic on washroom wear and tear, while presenting a professional finish.