Creating a welcoming environment for staff is a key element in running any successful business. Attracting and retaining staff is more of a challenge than ever before. In today’s digital culture, staff are more acutely aware of employment options and have increased expectations of what their job should do for them. This climate has been exacerbated by sustained periods of home working for many around the globe, a time during which staff have evaluated exactly how their work can fit in around their lives. Many company chiefs now have the unenviable task of encouraging employees back to the workplace. One sure way to entice staff is to create spaces for them in which they feel comfortable; particularly in the wake of literally having their home comforts in the workplace.
Add to that the increased importance of promoting staff wellbeing and it is clear companies must address how comfortable and welcome they feel in every space in their organisation. Very often, washroom facilities can appear very far down the priority list in this regard, but the importance of a safe, clean space for staff is ever more pertinent, and those companies who invest in these facilities certainly reap the benefits. This relates not only to basic toileting facilities, but increasingly to the inclusion of showers and perhaps lockers; forming part of a staff wellness area rather than just a loo!
The approach to design for commercial office washrooms should go beyond the functional aspect. A well-designed washroom can offer some escape from a stressful day for employees and so should be designed with a focus on how these areas could potentially make people feel. If we think of washroom experience along sensory lines, then we can begin to see how we can improve user experience, visually, audibly and in tactile terms.
Avoidance of brash colour schemes, for example, is an important consideration, as are clean lines and minimalist styling, such as with Petal’s Line range. The use of full height doors can achieve a sense of privacy and improve the auditory experience for users, ensuring a sense of escapism from surroundings. For maximum effect, the 44mm doors and hardwood edgings of Petal’s Esteem range provides complete privacy and a luxurious ambience. Complete the sensory experience by making life stress-free at the hand washing. In some high traffic commercial washrooms, wet slippy floors can be created easily in the travel time from vanities to towel dispensers and hand driers. Petal’s mirror housing units remove this travel time and provide a hassle free (and safer!) washing and drying experience. Add touch free taps to complete a seamless user experience and prevent any unnecessary additional stress for staff.
Washroom design can also help create an inclusive environment in a commercial setting, with many organisations, including schools, opting to install gender neutral facilities. Key on the agenda for these spaces is enhanced privacy, with the use of full height doors an important consideration.
A hygienic space is of greater importance to staff than ever before, so ensuring a washroom solution that promotes hygienic practises is of vital importance. This extends beyond the obvious provision of hand wash and paper towels and into specifying a system that will cope with vigorous cleaning regimes, particularly in high traffic areas. Robust cubicles and vanity units need not compromise on aesthetics, as Petal’s Commercial range demonstrates.
Physical wellness should also figure high on the agenda. With many companies engaging in ‘cycle to work’ schemes and encouraging physical exercise during lunchtimes comes the responsibility to provide shower and changing facilities for staff. These should be comfortable, clean and provide the necessary privacy for a shared environment; allowing the ambience created in washroom spaces to be extended into these facilities too. Petal’s Duo range is designed with commercial settings in mind, or for enhanced luxury why not specify a glass option, with back painted options available in any RAL colour.
Couple these shower facilities with secure storage which gives staff the required peace of mind to leave their valuables while engaging in exercise, and a more rounded approach to wellness is complete! Locker facilities are extremely important where staff are leaving the valuables unattended, so it is imperative that a company provides secure and spacious storage for employee belongings. Petal’s Action range is designed with high performance in mind and with a choice of configuration options can enhance the design of any wellness area.
To find an exemplary approach to wellness in washrooms, visit our Deansgate case studies here: