The positive impact of a really great restroom

Creative design and a relaxing vibe can make frequent handwashing seem less of a chore

Even though employees don’t spend the majority of their workdays there, the restroom is an integral part of any workspace—and shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to office design. Giving thoughtful consideration to this all-important wellness space is one more way for companies to let their workforces know that they care about all aspects of their workday experience

A well-designed restroom should feature practical components like privacy partitions, sink tiles that won’t smudge with water, automatic air fresheners, music (to mitigate awkward bathroom silence), ample space to accommodate your workforce (and prevent long waits), and a well-stocked accessory area. 

As the world steps up its handwashing amid times of disease and uncertainty, a well-designed bathroom can make washing your hands feel less like a chore. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends frequent handwashing for at least 20 seconds to prevent the spread of illness, including COVID-19.

The restroom is also an opportunity to set your workplace apart with intentional moments of surprise and delight, whether by incorporating bold wallpaper, or a gorgeous window view. Bathroom breaks offer a chance to freshen up and a brief respite from your current activity. 

Providing employees with a bright and cheery or cool and calming place to practice good hygiene is an all-around win. The design of the space should feel more residential than clinical (think lighting, pops of color, and art)—and if you can go a step further and evoke a calm spa- or resort-like feel, even better.  

Think of bathroom decor as an extension of your overall office design. Get inspired by taking a tour of these gorgeous WeWork restrooms from around the globe.

Pretty in pink

Pink flamingo wallpaper adorns this modern art deco restroom in WeWork 2 Eastbourne Terrace in Paddington, London. The bright pastel color contrasts with the clean white tiles and porcelain sinks, giving the impression that you’ve left the office and stepped into a tropical resort or have taken a quick business trip to Miami.

Très magnifique

Who needs water cooler chatter when you’ve got this trough-style community sink to congregate around during quick breaks? It’s the focal point of this chic restroom in WeWork 33 Rue la Fayette in Paris. The wallpaper with black-and-white illustrations of female faces and geometric tile flooring add to its sophistication.

A (rest)room with a view 

This bathroom in WeWork Carioca in Brazil has the kind of spectacular view you’d expect to find in a corner executive suite. The wide window brings in plenty of natural light, while the dark-framed mirrors and black tile floor ground the space.

Simple elegance

Black and white bring a clean, classic look to a bathroom. The small checkered tiles and black-and-white tropical wallpaper add visual interest to the monochromatic, vintage theme at WeWork Terminus in Atlanta. 

A spa-like sanctuary

From the breathtaking city skyline view to the circular spa-like sink design, the facilities at WeWork Jongno Tower in Seoul, South Korea, are bright and vibrant. The lighting around the mirror and tranquil blue wall art lend a welcome pop of color.

Bright bathroom break

How could you not feel reenergized after a quick trip to this cheerful restroom in WeWork Embassy Tech Village in Bengaluru, India? The vibrant yellow stalls and black tile contrast with the ombré-painted wall that gradually goes from blue to green to yellow. You can even freshen your breath at the mouthwash dispenser.

Pops of greenery

Adding indoor plants—or incorporating biophilic design—in a workspace has many benefits, as exhibited in this stylish, welcoming bathroom in the WeWork TCL Building in Shenzhen, China. The floor-to-ceiling stalls are also great for privacy.

This article was originally published on March 13, 2020, and has been updated throughout by the editors.

Dawn Papandrea is a freelance writer who covers work, personal finance, and higher education. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Family Circle and Follow her on Twitter.

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