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Restroom Design After COVID-19

Designing restrooms for a post-pandemic world

Angle view of restroom in an airport, sensor faucets and hand dryers in view

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented the world with many challenges. People and businesses have had to manage unforeseen scenarios with little notice—and for much longer than expected. However, many businesses that were closed or operating at a limited capacity for over a year or longer have also found opportunities to make the most of their circumstances by preparing for a post-pandemic world.

Creating barriers that prevent the spread of respiratory particles, designing spaces for social distancing, and minimizing contact points can all help prevent further outbreak of COVID-19 as the world returns to normal.

Why update now?

Updating restrooms while students, workers, and patrons are not using the facility avoids the logistical challenges of making similar improvements while the building is in use. These timely updates also help ensure a smooth and safe transition process when you are able to reopen.

Though the safety standards required for reopening indoor spaces may vary by location and timing, making updates to your commercial restrooms is essential. Best of all, there are several financing sources that can help you fund these updates.


What needs to be updated?

The International Code Council (ICC) has launched a task force to re-evaluate building guidelines for a post-pandemic world. While the ICC’s work is ongoing, other organizations have produced science-backed recommendations for preventing additional outbreaks of COVID-19 as employees and students return to work and school. These recommendations may be useful in guiding any renovation plans prior to opening your doors again.

Read the ICC Guidelines

Gender-inclusive, single-occupancy restrooms

The best way to break a chain of COVID-19 infections is isolation. But, as life begins to return to normal, we may find ourselves in spaces that are not ideal for social distancing. Creating more single-occupancy restrooms is a great way to ensure that visitors are able to keep a safe distance from one another.

We’re also living in an era of changing cultural norms when it comes to gender. Single-occupancy, gender-inclusive restrooms provide safe spaces for everyone. If you want to get ahead of the changing times, single-occupancy restrooms can help you get there.

Photo of two doors with handicap accessible signs on them, sensor faucets in view
Single-occupancy, gender-inclusive restrooms provide safe spaces for everyone—especially trans, non-binary, and genderfluid individuals.

Partitions

Plexiglass and composite plastic partitions have become the norm for businesses everywhere. A simple barrier can go a long way towards providing protection. For restrooms, changes like installing floor-to-ceiling stall partitions can help serve the same purpose by blocking the spread of respiratory particles over and under a stall, between urinals, or even between sink basins.

While quick solutions like plexiglass panels may make sense for some situations, a simple retrofit can offer unique design opportunities and prepare your facility for the future. Our Room Ideas can help demonstrate some potential finishes and applications.

View of urinals and water closets in a public restroon
Floor-to-ceiling stall partitions can help block the spread of respiratory particles over and under a stall, between urinals, or even between sink basins.

Planning a clean exit

The human hand can pose a serious risk for the transmission of viruses and bacteria—including COVID-19. Planning for a restroom experience that requires fewer contact points can help combat the risk of transmission. Even small details like ensuring that stall doors swing outwards can make a difference.

The best way to limit contact points in any restroom however, is to create a fully touch-free experience. Sloan can help with a range of touch-free faucets, sinks, soap dispensers, hand dryers, and flushometers that remove many potential infection points. Best of all, our sensor-enabled hardware offers long-term savings and maximum efficiency.

Inside public restoorm, green foiliage on the wall
Sloan provides a range of touch-free faucets, sink basins, soap dispensers, hand dryers, and flushometers that remove many potential infection points.
Explore touch-free products

Full-scope revamp

The pandemic has presented a unique opportunity for restrooms to go above and beyond functional updates. Some facilities may want to consider starting fresh with a new, more contemporary design aesthetic. In these cases, we recommend starting with our Room Ideas. These inspirations offer a full suite of products—from plumbing hardware to surface finishes—designed to create a positive, approachable, easy-to-clean environment in a wide range of restroom spaces.

These room designs elevate the function of our well-crafted products into complete design concepts that speak to modern sensibilities.

View in public restroom, sensor flushometer and faucets both in graphite finish in view
Your space begins with imagination and ideation. These room ideas elevate common locations with clean floor-plans, elegant materials, and modern products.
Discover Sloan Room Ideas

Social distancing

Efficiencies of space have helped define restroom designs for many years. Today, knowing the important role that social distancing plays and will continue to play in our fight against the spread of COVID-19, it’s important that restrooms with spatial limitations make it easy for guests to maintain a safe distance.

Sloan’s AER-DEC® Integrated Sink System can help you create a spacious, convenient, and efficient handwashing experience—complete with customizable finishes and hardware. The AER-DEC brings touch-free faucets, soap dispensers, and hand dryers together into a complete handwashing experience that saves water, reduces energy consumption, and eliminates the need for paper towels. It’s good for the environment, users, and business.

Up close photo of hands washing
AER-DEC Integrated Sink: Soap. Rinse. Dry. All three steps without taking any.
View the AER-DEC Integrated Sink

What’s coming next?

Sloan’s AER-DEC® Integrated Sink System can help you create a spacious, convenient, and efficient handwashing experience—complete with customizable finishes and hardware. The AER-DEC brings touch-free faucets, soap dispensers, and hand dryers together into a complete handwashing experience that saves water, reduces energy consumption, and eliminates the need for paper towels. It’s good for the environment, users, and business.

The Internet of Things

More and more, the internet is at the center of our everyday lives. Smart homes have become an affordable luxury, with everything from lights to temperature accessible from a connected device. For restrooms, connected faucets, flushometers, and other fixtures can help manage day-to-day maintenance and track efficiencies.

Sloan connected devices are already leading the field in connected water management. These devices can provide the user with component status alerts, performance data, and timing controls. Sloan’s smart faucets and flushometers are designed with Bluetooth™ connectivity included. Select Optima® EAF and BASYS® EFX Faucet models are also Bluetooth-compatible when using an adapter (sold separately), allowing for use with new faucets or retrofitting existing faucet models.

Hand holding a mobile phone with Sloan's connected faucets app running
Sloan connected faucets, flushometers, and other hardware can help manage day-to-day maintenance and track efficiencies.

High design

It wasn’t so long ago that finding a truly well-designed restroom was a challenge. However, that’s beginning to change. As we move into a more hygiene-focused world, restroom visitors will expect clean, updated spaces that feel welcoming and safe. Larger, more spacious floor plans, easy-to-clean surfaces, and touch-free fixtures are all becoming more common.

For a glimpse of the future today, look no further than the Tooshlights® Smart Restroom Traffic Management System. These LED indicator lights alert waiting visitors as to whether a stall is available or occupied. Simple retrofits like this system will become increasingly standard in large venues. They can significantly increase restroom use efficiency, maximize social distancing, optimize stall usage to shorten lines, and help visitors know where to go®.

View in public restoorm, tooshlights products and sensor faucets in view
Our Tooshlights system alerts visitors waiting for an opening if a given stall is occupied.
View the Tooshlights system

The end goal

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has redefined our everyday routines, it has served as a catalyst for incredible developments in how we think about the world. When it comes to restrooms, that means putting a greater emphasis on good design that works for people—and fixtures that people can rely on today and tomorrow. Here at Sloan, we’re excited to be on the forefront of safe, hygienic restroom design. And we’re proud to leverage our products into restrooms designed for the future.