The bathroom effect

An article from The Salt Lake Tribune describes the new Pixar headquarters: “Pixar resembles the coolest community college you ever attended.… The semi-controlled chaos of the work environment, like the building’s design, is guided by the Pixar philosophy that good things come from creative people bouncing ideas off each other.… They are geeks with the neatest playground in the movie business.”

Leaving creative idea bouncing to chance wasn’t sufficient for Pixar CEO Steve Jobs. To help encourage interaction between the 700 employees, he wanted there to be a single bathroom in the building.

Here’s the “bathroom effect” theory, as Greenberg explains it: “If you have bathrooms that are scattered throughout the building, you use the bathroom nearest to where you’re sitting. If there was one bathroom, all kinds of people would come together and talk with one another all the time — you’d meet different people if you were waiting in line. It would enhance communication, and you’d be talking about things outside of work.”

Mercifully for the bladders of Pixar’s caffeine-addicted staffers, the central atrium has eight restrooms on two floors — four men’s and four women’s (with the silhouettes of “Toy Story’s” Woody and Bo-Peep at the entrances). The atrium also boasts Cafe Luxo (named for the swing-arm lamp that starred in Pixar’s first short), break rooms with an unusual number of toasters, the mailroom, conference rooms, pool and foosball tables, and an open area for the occasional concert or lecture.

via Peter Lindberg’s weblog. Also see his post about the Disney Process.