You must have probably heard about different surveys conducted at different times to identify general complaints about workplaces among the employees of different organisations around the world. Unsurprisingly most employees have been complaining about the restrooms of their organisation time and again, and although different organisations have worked hard to improve them, the negative comments about restrooms aren’t going anywhere. Is it about cleanliness and comfort? Or it has something to do with something we feel ashamed to talk about? There is human psychology related to the use of restrooms, and it is way above just cleanliness and comfort.
The Common Discomfort
Almost seven per cent of the population feel uncomfortable while urinating in public or shared restrooms. This social anxiety discomfort is known as paruresis. It is more common with men as different research shows that more men feel uncomfortable while urinating when there are people around. According to the International Paruresis Association, thousands of employees in the US have been fired for not being able to urinate on demand during random drug tests. We have been hearing about kids facing health issues for not being able to discharge for days in school dorms. While parcopresis is not a medically identified condition, it has been affecting people who are shy and can not open up about their problems with people close to them.
Though curable, these disorders unknowingly affect the common working people every day. The level of paruresis depends on individuals who have it. Some are mildly uncomfortable while some can not release at any cost in the presence of other people besides them, and there is an extreme form of it where people become totally unsocial. As people regard restrooms as their most private place while at work, the drawback for not having it the way they want is infinite.
The popular Japanese children’s book “Minna unchi,” published in Japan in 1977, and it’s English translated version “Everyone poops” has been educating little new-to-toilet kids to accept our excretion process as they are, but it seems like adults are having a hard time incorporating those messages.
Although we have evolved as civilised humans and managed things around ourselves the way we want, the open discussion about the realities of toilet use still remains an untouched subject. We may individually know about the impacts of those realities, but we never come forward for such discussions in public. This way, the design and the issues of public restrooms are never given the amount of importance they deserve.
Just like in other fields, restroom design gets the least importance in the construction too. Expert engineers suggest that discussion about designing a restroom is very rare even during the construction of University buildings. We can now imagine why restrooms in offices are almost similar everywhere.
Technology has introduced us to new and innovative tools to cope with everything, but it depends on how we use them and for what purpose. Japan is often given the best credit for implementing innovative technology, and in case of restrooms too, it looks like they have mastered in understanding human psychology. We must have heard about Toto toilets that have heated seats and water jets for the optimum comfort, but what actually helps (most) women, who are very uncomfortable in the public restroom, is “Sound Princess” – a device that makes a flushing sound to mask any other sound.
Fancy gadgets may not always understand what people actually want but some smart design may. Men with paruresis often feel comfortable urinating in the toilets that have large and tall stall dividers that reach the ceiling.
Why These Things Matter To Your Organisation?
From the beginning of the 21st century, we have been practising the best ways to keep people satisfied with their jobs to increase their productivity in a win-win situation. We have been introducing new ways to make employees feel as homely as possible, but somewhere it seems like we are only addressing the things that they are comfortable to talk about. Among other important things, human psychology about using the restroom is also related to employee productivity and well being, and it is something we need to address too.
Since businesses have been trying to make their workspace better than a common employee’s house, not addressing restroom issues makes it incomplete. Some businesses have already started to address these issues, but they still remain one of the last things to be considered in an office environment.
Why Are We Telling You This?
CUBISPEC has a proven track record of not only delivering the best quality toilet partition systems but also understanding individual needs when it comes to using restrooms. We can identify your needs and help you build a space that is not only comfortable but also suitable for everyone who uses it. At CUBISPEC, we understand that there are various factors that affect your employee wellness productivity, restrooms and their design are just one of many.