In Defense of Livable Public Restrooms

Photo of a ceramic statue of a frog using a cell phone while sitting on a toilet.

Given the purpose of our website – to inform shoppers about Partition Plus and the toilet partition products we sell – this blog rarely features topical content. No doubt, being timely and relevant is great. But there is very little breaking news in the Division 10 and bathroom stall industries. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to comment on this, though.

Earlier this week, Wired magazine’s UK website published an article about a new toilet intentionally designed to be uncomfortable to sit on. StandardToilet, the commode’s creator, hopes businesses will install the fixture to curb extended toileting time (presumably stemming from mobile device usage). Please take a minute to check out “The corporate poo patrol is coming after your precious toilet time” and read on for our reaction.

Some Background on the Basics

Public bathrooms exist because: 1. most people regularly leave their homes to work, gather, eat, shop, and participate in other activities, 2. everyone must “go” 3. from time to time, 1. and 2. coincide. All this is obvious, hopefully, but feel free to consult other written works for more information.

What We Know About Toilet Partitions (and Bathrooms)

Another undeniable fact: most people appreciate comfort. In the world of washroom accessories and toilet partitions, we link comfort to cleanliness, privacy, and aesthetic appeal. Products that promote these qualities are more desirable. For instance:

  • Solid plastic (HDPE) toilet partitions are extremely easy to clean and quite popular as a result. Unlike some materials, HDPE will not absorb or retain moisture. This quality makes it easy to remove dirt, stains, and graffiti. With appropriate preparation, maintenance staff can even hose down – or power wash – solid plastic restroom stalls! As with any cleaning process, be sure to dry the components and hardware afterward.
  • Aria Partitions, from Scranton Products, provide extremely private toilet cubicles. Aria bathroom stalls allow facilities to embrace the trend toward European-style, high-privacy toilet partitions. A floor-to-ceiling design, along with no-sightline hardware, creates separation between individual stalls and stall occupants and the rest of the bathroom space. Further elevating this divider system above similar products is the range of available color and engraving options.
  • Solid phenolic toilet partitions allow extreme design flexibility, while also being one of the most durable divider materials. Manufacturers offer hundreds of colors, patterns, and faux textures. Faux wood, faux stone, organic patterns, geometric patterns, bright solids, dark solids, neutral solids are just some of the options. Phenolic partitions can either perfectly complement your bathroom design or make a flashy statement – the possibilities are endless.

The places we visit to socialize, eat, shop, etc. benefit by offering comfortable public restrooms. While it’s doubtful that an average person would prefer a particular establishment based solely on the quality of its restrooms, there’s little double that clean, private, well-designed bathrooms significantly contribute to the appeal of a business. Because most enterprises aim to retain existing customers and attract additional clientele, they outfit their building’s with quality toilet partitions and restroom accessories – that are easily cleaned, promote privacy, and look great.

A Reaction to the Tilted Toilet

We think this logic applies to the places where people work, too. Just as there are benefits when a company accommodates customers, there are benefits that come with supporting employees.

Seeking to cause discomfort seems very strange. Perhaps this is more of a technology issue? There’s a strong argument for it being a hiring and human resources issue. Might this be a case of treating a “symptom” while the actual “disease” grows worse? And we are left wondering which corporations will buy into this strategy. Installing these toilets makes a loud statement about the quality and engagement of a firm’s workforce: “Our workers spend too much time away from their duties… enough time that it is affecting our productivity specifically, they’re in the bathroom…” It also makes a serious statement about how the firm tackles problems: “We’ve chosen to address this important and complex issue using a creatively designed plumbing fixture.”