Modern sanitary rooms:
A company's business card
At Orgatec, the leading international trade fair for the modern working world, the office and business building furniture trade is showed its solutions whilst focusing on the present and future working world. The Swiss bathroom specialist Laufen is with his own stand part of the framework of the 'Work' exhibition platform of furniture manufacturer Vitra – because every office always has a sanitary room. And as quickly as the modern working world changes, so do the requirements of the bathroom in the office.
Our understanding of work is undergoing a process of transformation as worldwide the work market is becoming more dynamic. Many companies, from start-ups to the multi-nationals, are trying out new concepts of working and living together. The showcase companies in Silicon Valley, for example, take care of their staff almost around the clock with fitness, leisure, wellness and health programmes, in order to attract and retain highly-qualified employees. But there is also a visible trend towards a health and environment-conscious lifestyle amongst many employees. In the ageing society especially it is becoming more important to remain efficient, healthy, fit and attractive for longer, and to find sufficient space for relaxation.
Central interface between the working process and lifestyle
The modern office also has to take these trends into account. As a manufacturer and supplier of bathroom solutions the Swiss company Laufen therefore observes exactly just how the understanding of life and work is changing within society. Because with its products the bathroom specialist occupies a central interface in the working environment, where all the threads for a health-conscious lifestyle and working style converge.
Managers who for example go running during their lunch break, or go to a gym, appreciate the value of a company bathroom with a shower. What is not required, however, are open shower areas such as those in a public swimming pool, but rather bathrooms in which personal privacy is retained. This is equally applicable to washing areas where the employees clean their teeth, shave, or touch up their make-up. Especially in office environments the relationship between personal privacy and common use has to be balanced for this reason – after all, everyone knows each other here. For this reason, separate units consisting of a toilet and washbasin are ideal, providing the necessary degree of privacy and calm, and in consequence more satisfaction amongst staff members.
A combination of design, ergonomics, hygiene and easy cleaning
In addition, modern semi-public sanitary areas often play an important representative role – because many visitors draw conclusions about the company based on the state of the sanitary facilities. And only a bathroom which is well cared for, which features high-quality fittings and which represents design language can be seen as a business card or advertisement for the company itself.
And if shower toilets are also fitted due to their high hygiene standards, other aspects come into effect: Does the design match the rest of the bathroom, or does the shower toilet look like a foreign body? Is its operation intuitive and simple, so that visitors can use it immediately without difficulty? And does the shower toilet feature useful additional functions, such as odour removal, or individual user profiles for each employee in a small office community?
Against a background of changes in the population pyramid, the requirements of older members of staff also have to be taken into account. In the course of planning the company's own sanitary rooms designers should therefore ensure that there is enough room for movement, that the lighting for washbasins and toilets is good and clearly arranged, and that ergonomic requirements are taken into account – all employees profit from this in the end. Another aspect to be taken into account in the planning process is to ensure that the sanitary facilities can be cleaned quickly and easily, and maintained inexpensively – because otherwise the most beautiful bathroom would be worth very little.
Holistic consideration is required
Laufen expects to gain a lot from its presentation at Orgatec within the framework of the Vitra 'Work' platform, and looks forward to constructive exchanges on these topics with planners of offices and working worlds, architects, interior architects and designers. Because in a common and holistic consideration of the modern working environment, sanitary rooms these days have a decisive role to play.