This Sloped Toilet Is Meant To Increase Workplace Productivity
The Slanty toilet has a radical new design. Does it keep you healthy and reduce disease, as the manufacturer claims, or is it simply annoying?
The engineers behind Slanty, a British-produced toilet, offer an innovative angle on toilet design.
The internal parts function like a standard toilet, but its seat profile is far from standard. Rather than the traditional horizontal toilet seat, the top of the Slanty tilts down at an angle, changing the user’s body position.
Depending on whom you ask, this is a sanitary upgrade or a degrading piece of corporate micromanaging. Let’s look at how a Slanty toilet works, along with the potential benefits and pitfalls.
What Is the Slanty Toilet?
The Slanty toilet came to be after designer Mahabir Gill found himself waiting in line for a public restroom in the United Kingdom. As Gill told the BBC in 2019, “I stopped off at the motorway to go to the loo and realized there’s a huge queue. I wondered what people were doing in there, some were coming out with their mobile phones.”
Realizing this was unsanitary and impractical, Gill decided to do something about it.
The inclined seat of the Slanty shifts some of the user’s weight to their legs. For most people, this means the toilet becomes uncomfortable after about five minutes.
That makes the Slanty similar to public park benches with sloping seats or a handrails in the middle: They’re difficult to sit on for long periods.
Potential Benefits of a Slanted Toilet
The Slanty’s benefits basically fall into three categories: health, sanitation and productivity.
Health: According to the Slanty web site, spending an inordinate amount of time on the toilet “is actually an unhealthy habit that can lead to painful hemorrhoids and weakening of pelvic muscles.”
Sanitation: Slanty claims to provide a more sanitary bathroom experience. They suggest users are less likely to scroll through their smartphones on a Slanty because the seat isn’t comfortable, and thus less likely to spread germs.
Productivity: For commercial customers, Slanty markets its product as a subtle way for management to cut down on prolonged bathroom breaks. Per the Slanty website, an eight- to 13-degree downward slant will reduce average time in the restroom by more than 25 percent. But let’s be honest: Is there any more passive-aggressive way to show you don’t trust your employees than installing uncomfortable toilets?
That takes us to the question of how the employees might react to seeing a Slanty toilet. At first blush, the answer is, “Not well.”
Reactions to the Slanted Toilet
The Slanty has been discussed everywhere from social media to the BBC and Good Morning America. Many are recaps of social media reactions, which have been largely negative. Journalists and pundits chimed in as well, with comments such as, “The meanest attempt to decrease smartphone usage so far” (CNET) and “dystopian design” (The Atlantic).
In their article “The Corporate Poo Patrol is Coming after your Precious Toilet Time,” Wired UK has perhaps the most in-depth look at the Slanty, along with other products that claim to reduce toilet time.
By contrast, Slanty posted early reviews on its web site that basically say it performs as advertised. One example: “We purchased the Slanty a few months ago and I was a little skeptical at first when my partner showed me the design. I can honestly say that it does what it says, that is, it definitely reduces the time we spend using the toilet.”
Slanted Toilets for Seniors, Children and the Disabled
For most users, the Slanty will become uncomfortable after about five minutes. But that depends on several factors, including the user’s leg strength. And some people simply can’t use a slanted toilet at all, like kids, seniors or anyone with mobility issues.
Note: This isn’t the first toilet to be made at an angle, or even the first from the U.K. The Stoke-on-Trent based manufacturer Twyfords holds a 1911 patent on the “Natura” toilet, made in forward and backward sloping models. (See Terry Woolliscroft’s blog for more unusual plumbing products from Twyfords.)
Natura never caught on, which might not bode well for the future of Slanty. In the meantime, if you want to buy a Slanty toilet and don’t live in the U.K., you’ll have to wait. It’s not available yet in the U.S.