9-11 May 2023
ICC Sydney

Five pet peeves about workplace bathrooms and how to fix them

It’s not surprising that bathrooms are one of the top areas for complaints in the workplace—they’re often a design afterthought. To combat these common workplace woes, Total Facilities is joining forces with leading hygiene company Initial to find Australia’s Best Bathroom Facility.

Bathrooms are make or break

US research suggests employees consider the bathroom facilities a reflection of whether management value staff.

“A disappointing restroom environment can make or break a company’s reputation,” says Total Facilities Event Manager, Andrew Lawson.

You can clean a bathroom all you like, but if you haven’t addressed the fundamental design and functionality issues, it’ll still be on the nose. Here’s a rundown of the top five design and feature considerations to take control of your building environment and create an award-winning bathroom.

1. Touchless technologies

Encourage good hygiene and make everyone more comfortable by removing the need to touch surfaces.

Look for touchless accessories for tap fittings, toilets (touchless flush), paper and soap dispensers and hand dryers. Products like Privada are even providing self-closing doors.

As well a pleasing the health conscious, it’ll help reduce the spread of germs and may even keep staff on board during flu season.


No handle, no hassle as touchless design can make users more comfortable

2. Colour and material choices

Great bathroom designs accept that using the workplace facilities is a sensory experience. White and other light colours are often the preferred choice since research shows they promote thoughts of cleanliness. But they’re less forgiving of dirt and scuffing, and can quickly deteriorate through the course of the workday.

New generation stainless steel surfaces (like Initial’s Reflection range) create contemporary spaces and are:

  • resistant to fingerprints, scuffs and scratches
  • rust resistant
  • crevice-free so there’s nowhere for bacteria to hide
  • easy to clean

    White might make you think it’s clean, but experimenting with colour and materials can enhance the sensory experience.

    Not so white, Rentokil Initial’s Reflection range uses stainless steel to create contemporary spaces.

3. Get the acoustics right

The right acoustic atmosphere helps users feel more comfortable. This can include audio within stalls to create a private atmosphere, and full-length partitions to create a feeling of privacy and seclusion.

Also take time to consider the toilet flush sounds. If it gives you a fright when you flush, an acoustic engineer may be able to suggest some solutions.

4. Everywhere is a workspace

It might not be everyone’s approach, but the reality is some employees retreat to bathrooms for some thinking time or a few minutes of solitude.

More and more, workplace bathrooms are including shelves for phones or laptops, hooks for bags and ensuring Wi-Fi is accessible from bathrooms.

5. Fresh air and ventilation

Even the best (or strongest) air freshener sprays aren’t enough—bathrooms need ventilation. As the Restroom Association of Singapore (now we know why their toilets are so good) says, ineffective ventilation can make bathrooms unbearable.

Simple design features to improve airflow include:

  • cross ventilation where every part of the toilet is within three metres of a fan inlet or ventilation grille;
  • positioning intake grilles at low levels, so air is extracted quickly; and
  • replacement air coming from vents close to floor level near hand basins to help keep floors dry.

What’s non-negotiable?

In Australia, compliance codes differ between states, but general requirements for workplace bathrooms may include:

  • lockable doors;
  • clear signage;
  • toilets with hinged seats and lids;
  • adequate lighting and ventilation; and
  • regular cleaning.

More quick wins for smarter bathrooms

  • Doors that clearly show if the stall is occupied—no one wants an embarrassing incident at work.
  • Smart joinery to block line of sight—seeing shadows and through the gaps is not a good look.
  • Make space—if you can see someone else’s shoes, the toilets may be too close together.
  • Hot and cold water available in bathroom taps—most people will use the cold to wash their hands, but the choice is appreciated.
  • Looscaping—create a fresh, calm atmosphere with plants, water features and artwork.

Where is Australia’s best bathroom?

Total Facilities and Initial are scouring (pun most certainly intended) the nation for Australia’s Best Bathroom showcasing the finest in design, innovation and technology for our porcelain palaces. 

Entries close Wednesday, March 13.  The winner will be announced at Total Facilities 2018, held at the Melbourne Exhibition Convention & Exhibition Centre from April 18-19, 2018.

What to see more innovative cleaning and bathroom solutions? Register online free now for the event at totalfacilities.com.au

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