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There is a substantial focus on providing wellness initiatives for employees so that companies can protect and improve their physical and psychological wellbeing. But this does not only refer to what companies are doing to promote and offer wellness programmes because it also includes how an office building is laid out – including the design of a washroom.
So, how do you improve wellbeing in a commercial washroom?
In this blog, Dolphin’s commercial washroom consultants give insightful guidance, based on the experience of developers and landlords, to help you design for wellbeing to make a positive difference that will impact people and ultimately create a happier and healthier society.
Top 5 ideas to improve wellbeing in the washroom
Work is a place you go, not just a thing you do, and designs must be desirable to attract and retain top talent by providing quality washroom fittings and making the space relevant to the future generation of employees entering the workplace.
Here are our Top 5 ideas to improve wellbeing in a commercial washroom:
The challenge for those who choose to break a sweat on their way to work is they may feel less inclined to exercise if they do not have a facility to shower and freshen up. After all, nobody wants to go through the day feeling sticky and smelly. Including an end of trip facility in your washroom design for wellbeing will encourage people to do their exercise routines on their way to work which ultimately contributes to their wellness.
We all know the psychological effect of exercise – it reduces stress and anxiety, prevents mental health issues, increases self-esteem and confidence and leaves you feeling happy, revitalised and motivated. Provide that opportunity to bring out those feel-good endorphins with end of journey facilities.
Commercial washrooms play a significant role in contributing to water and energy savings. The future generation will expect their workplace to be a sustainable environment as people are becoming more conscious of saving water and energy and reducing the waste of our natural resources.
But how do you demonstrate water and energy savings in a commercial washroom? Through SMART washroom technology. As intelligent buildings are more sought after, developers are integrating SMART technology to appeal to the modern workforce.
The user will appreciate the small features contributing to saving water even if they only realise it subconsciously. For example, a sensor tap timeout feature stops prolonged water running time and washroom fixtures that regulate flush volumes to reduce the litres of water in a WC flush.
The expectation of the workplace to take responsibility and implement measures that protect our planet will be a significant focus for the future generation upon entering the world of work. If you aim to design for wellbeing and create a positive psychological impact on those who enter the washroom environment, incorporating touch free solutions is the way forward for commercial washroom designs.
3. Washroom layouts
Superloos offer maximum privacy and hygienic advantages as they reduce close personal contact with other users. In a toilet cubicle where the stalls have toilet partitioning walls standing on support legs, some people may find it off putting to listen to the flushing and unpleasant noises from other users in the cubicles.
Privacy is a fundamental element to have in one’s life, and a superloo provides the boundary needed for users to experience a stress free environment where they can get on with their washroom activity without feeling anxious or subconscious around other users in the washroom.
A superloo is an ideal washroom design for wellbeing because it contributes to a comfortable transition from remote working back to the office. Superloos create the home away from home feeling, easing people back into the office environment and eliminating the aftershock from isolation to rejoining the workplace population.
Some people dread walking into a public washroom because the poorly designed fixtures and dull interior designs create an immediate negative impression which sets the tone for the rest of their washroom experience – and it’s not a good one. But the days of monotonous designs are over as commercial washrooms are evolving into a place that has been carefully thought out and planned with user experience as a top priority.
Designers are moving away from the (dare we call it) depressing traditional washroom style that has been done for decades and are experimenting with different designs in different environments taking into serious consideration the wellness and wellbeing of people.
Space is crucial in commercial washrooms that accommodate heavy foot traffic because nobody likes to bump shoulders in a small room where they feel cramped and forced to use the facilities between a crowd.
As the project objectives are to design for wellbeing, architects are creating commercial washrooms with depth and distance to eliminate negative feelings of claustrophobia, anxiety, and discomfort so that individuals can enjoy their experience without feeling confined or limited in their movement and orientation.
Research has discovered that different colours can indeed influence moods and emotions, and some colours are commonly associated with feelings of either serenity or can provoke an overwhelming reaction. Thus, the careful selection of colours and their attributes, such as hues, saturation, and lightness, must be analysed from a psychological perspective because that first impression will determine the attitude towards the washroom on every visit a person makes in future.
Neutral colours, pastel colours (such as light green), and ocean blues are likely to make a person feel a sense of calm and relaxation. These colours have a more positive effect on an employee’s mood. Red, black, and other intense colours provoke strong emotions that could be too overstimulating for a washroom environment – depending on where the colour is used – but choosing appropriate colours also depends on the design intent and the flow between the office space and the washroom.
There is no good or bad colour in a washroom design because it depends on the environment, the design intent, the contrast, and how the different hues, saturation and lightness come together. Sprucing up a neutral tone washroom with strong, radiant colours on the fittings, such as taps and automatic hand dryers, will add character to the washroom and make the fittings stand out.
Exposure to nature is limited in the urban world of commercial buildings with its concrete jungle effect and fast-paced daily life in the world of work. The core of human beings is drawn to nature because it generates positive emotions that affect happiness, calmness, concentration, productivity, and peace – this is what an architect is inspired to achieve in their washroom design for wellbeing.
But how do you incorporate nature into a commercial washroom design? By including simple solutions such as greenery (plants and flowers) and drawing inspiration from colours, textures, and the rich diversity of shapes found in the natural environment. Good use of mirrors and glass also creates an illusion of space which people associate with the outdoors.
Including natural lighting through skylights or windows is another way of taking advantage of the natural elements in a commercial washroom. But if you do not have the luxury to include windows, choosing indoor lighting that imitates natural light is the next best option.
Washrooms already harness the power of water, which is considered a crucial element to include in any design for wellbeing because water enhances focus, creates a sense of serenity, and reduces anxiety.
Acquiring a WELL compliant certificate means you have met the wellbeing, health and safety standards to accommodate people with diverse needs and improve their hygiene by offering washroom facilities that support their needs. It is all about delivering an experience with a more thoughtful approach to spaces in a building that enhances a person’s health and wellbeing.
A WELL certificate signifies a washroom design for wellbeing by its particular influences that positively impact people’s welfare, happiness, and comfort. Influential features include specific washroom accommodations, touchless solutions, and supporting effective handwashing.
Read more about the Hygiene Support feature for a WELL certified washroom to improve hygiene measures in a commercial washroom.
Taking extra consideration of individual needs in the washroom means providing users with more convenience and accessibility. Something as simple as touch free products, such as a sensor tap, encourages users to practice good hygiene behaviour due to eliminating contact with surfaces and providing a good user experience due to the efficient operation of sensor taps. Waste bins in each women’s and single-user toilet cubicle is another simple yet essential washroom accommodation recognised by WELL.
After all the effort put into the washroom design for wellbeing by following the WELL Building Standard, it may only arise in a person’s subconscious to appreciate the thoughtful hygiene accommodation in the washroom. Nevertheless, it results in the user leaving satisfied with the experience.
However, it will quickly become a conscious thought if such hygiene measures are not present, resulting in the person feeling disgruntled and neglected because their needs were not considered.
It’s all in the washroom design detail
Who knew that all this detail in a commercial washroom impacts a person’s mood so much that it could affect their daily lives? Washroom facilities and their aesthetic appeal must be alluring enough for people to want to use them to practice good hygiene behaviour and remain healthy, ultimately improving their wellbeing and washroom experience.
At the same time, you must consider how your commercial washroom will impact the psychological effect on people with colours, type of washroom products, and spacious accommodation. A pleasant and welcoming washroom experience includes enticing facilities that will leave the user happy, calm, satisfied, comfortable, stress free and revitalised after their washroom activity in maximised privacy. The change in mood will ultimately increase their energy levels and productivity in the workplace.
Looking further into how end of journey facilities, touchless solutions, appropriate washroom layouts, interior design, and compliance with WELL standards can affect the psychological experience is the first step in the right direction to creating a washroom design for wellbeing.
Remember this – it is not just a washroom – it’s an experience.