Currently, washrooms are only designed with one function in mind – what we euphemistically call ‘elimination’. At The Splash Lab, we believe that washrooms can be so much more than just spaces of ‘disposal’. According to research we conducted earlier this year, we discovered that 74% of British workers purposely visit the washroom to gain solitude during the working day.* This statistic reinforced the idea that we have an opportunity to transform traditional washroom design to create multi-use spaces that address both the physical and psychological needs of the user.
With 526,000 workers in the UK suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/2017, the need for a neutral space in the working environment where workers can process their thoughts, consolidate ideas, take a mental time-out and free-form daydream is greater than ever. We believe that disruptive design that challenges the washroom norm can have a big impact on both mental wellness and creativity in the workplace.
Solitude and a distraction-free environment are both cited by American psychologist and author Dr Scott Barry Kaufman to increase creative thoughts. This amplifies the point that office washrooms are more than mere places of function. The question is – do we design for historic tradition or for real-world usage?
From a survey we sent to architecture students at Central Saint Martins college in London, UK, 78% of design students interviewed would consider deliberately designing the office washroom as a possible space for solitude and creative thinking. We would love to see this actioned into public spaces and work environments being built today.
To learn more, download your copy of our Designing Inclusive Bathrooms Report