This week we read an interesting article in The Times by Tom Whipple, Science Editor …

A group of architects in London believe positioning the lavatories, printer and kitchen in a place where office workers will bump into each other has great results.

“We can generate spaces that make people get around and interact,” David Lewis, of the NBBJ firm of architects, said. There is a well-established theory that productivity is linked to interactions. Silicon Valley companies go to great lengths to avoid “silo cultures”, where employees divide into teams that become insular and separated. Companies like Facebook and Twitter get around this by holding regular office barbecues, or spending a lot of money on “breakout” areas, but Mr Lewis offers a more utilitarian approach. “By having avatars programmed like people, where some sit still, some don’t, some move around, you can test a floor plan to see how it’s used,” he said. “You can work out from this how many people are seeing each other — and if more people see each other you can expect more productivity. People will say, ‘Oh, that’s so and so, I haven’t seen him recently — I’ll go and chat to him’.”

It is a modern way of doing business to consider the number of interactions employees have.  When Steve Jobs was commissioning a new headquarters for Pixar, he stipulated that there should be a central set for all employees to facilitate “serendipitous personal encounters”. Several pregnant employees refused, however, to walk 15 minutes to get to the loo, and the idea was shelved.”

Do you need to move the loo?