The Architecture (?) of Restrooms
Even commodities aren't commodities
Does anyone else relish the little unknown cultural differences you discover when traveling? How about a weird one: tech company restrooms have different supplies in California compared to Texas.
In Texas, you're lucky if your employer's restroom consistently stocks paper towels and soap.* Now, fly out to the west coast and walk into a restroom at the same company. They’ll stock it like a "fancy" 6th street bar, only without a valet in a suit handing you a towel.
Soap? Of course. Thick paper towels? Yes. Mouthwash and tiny paper cups? Hairspray? Moisturizing lotion? Check, double-check. One company even provided a basket of single-use toothbrushes.
I appreciated the nod to hygiene, and I wish every state had the same habit. It probably makes every employee feel a bit more comfortable, or at least less guilty for adding garlic to their ramen at lunch.
Here's one restroom design detail nobody seems to enjoy: automatic lights. As one of my colleagues described it: "if you're in the stall for more than a couple of minutes, you'll have to dance around in the dark to get the lights on." Perhaps this was a corporate bid at increased productivity?
Meanwhile, here's a creative oddity: restrooms at Disney parks don't have mirrors mounted over their sinks. Instead, there is usually one mounted to the wall near the exit. Why? I suspect they nix the mirror to increase the productivity of the limited sink resources. No preening in the handwashing zone! Also, a mirror in the corner probably requires less cleaning than one positioned over splashing water.
I love how tiny details can make all the difference. Just because we see restrooms as a commodity doesn’t mean you can’t add value with a little thought.
*Never use the electric air dryers; even ones with filters blow, uh, yucky stuff. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/04/12/hand-dryers-suck-bathroom-bacteria-and-blow-them-all-over-your-hands-study-finds/511723002/