When I started my career, I never thought I would spend so much time talking about corporate bathrooms. But the truth is people feel passionately about them. They might be the most underappreciated and most necessary spaces in the workplace. Everyone must go there. and the experience usually falls somewhere between bland and horrifying. It’s no wonder that so many people I talk to on projects—from executive leaders to employees—bring up bathrooms as one of their top complaints.
What do people dislike about bathrooms the most? Lack of privacy, poor ventilation, bad acoustics, lack of convenient features (hooks, shelves, full length mirrors), and myriad inconveniences, like the need to protect your newly cleansed hands from the germ-infested door handle. Part of the reason companies don’t have better bathrooms is that they usually must pay to upgrade them and may not have the authority to do so. Bathroom design and budgets typically fall under the purviews of landlords and developers, and these parties don’t always view upgraded bathrooms as a worthwhile investment. They are Whether the responsibility lands on the landlord or tenant, good bathrooms are worth the investment. There is no question they are critical to enhancing each employee’s overall experience of the workplace.
I recently interviewed a very senior executive about his company’s headquarters project, and I asked him what, in his opinion, was the number one thing to get right in the new space. I expected him to respond with a big statement about how the overall form and function should support the company’s business strategy. Instead, he looked at me with conviction and said, “Better bathrooms. They are appalling today, and they are extremely important, as important as having great amenities like a gym.” This took me by surprise, but since then I’ve heard similar comments from numerous other people across an entire range of companies and industries. Many of our current clients have taken note and are now working with us on beautiful and functional bathrooms in their newest projects.