The “Standard Toilet”, which comes in a wall-mounted and floor-mounted model, has received backing from the British Toilet Association (BTA).
Established in 1999, the BTA is a not-for-profit members association that works “to promote the highest possible standards of hygiene and provision in all ‘away from home’ toilet facilities across the UK”.
The seat of the Standard Toilet, which was conceived by consulting engineer Mahabir Gill, has been designed to slope at a downwards angle of 13 degrees so that the person who is sitting on it has to use their leg muscles to stay sat firmly in place.
Mr Gill explained on the BTA website that the horizontal seating surface of typical toilet seats “enables a user to sit relatively comfortably on the toilet”, which can result in them spending “longer than necessary sitting on the toilet without short-term discomfort”.
BREAKING NEWS: Say goodbye to comfort breaks! New downward-tilting toilets are designed to become unbearable to sit on after five minutes. They say the main benefit is to employees in improved employee productivity. pic.twitter.com/lfDbeXJdCX— Dave Vescio (@DaveVescio)December 17, 2019
“It is estimated that in the United Kingdom alone, extended employee breaks cost industry and commerce an estimated £4bn per annum,” he stated.
“With the advent of flexible zero-hour contracts, it is easy to see why our Standard Toilet can be an asset to a business.”
The description of the toilet on the BTA website outlines that the toilet is easy to sit on and get up from, in addition to purportedly reducing risk of haemorrhoids and musculoskeletal disorders.
Mr Gill told Wired that after sitting on the angled toilet for approximately five minutes, users are likely to experience some feelings of strain in their legs, although “not enough to cause health issues”.
“Anything higher than that would cause wider problems,” he said. “13 degrees is not too inconvenient, but you’d soon want to get off the seat quite quickly”.
Mr Gill is reportedly in the process of speaking with local councils and motorway service stations regarding the distribution of his product, which retails between £150 and £500.
Andy McGuinness, campaigns manager at Crohn’s and Colitis UK, described the sloping toilet as an example of “toilet shaming”, adding that it highlights the “huge amount of stigma” that surrounds defecating.
“Making having a poo more uncomfortable targets people living with conditions like Crohn’s or Colitis, who may need additional time to use a toilet. This is discrimination, plain and simple,” Mr McGuinness said.
In July, health and safety software tech start-up company Protecting.co.uk conducted a survey of more than 3,500 people in eight cities across the UK regarding the average length of toilet breaks.
The survey concluded that the average time spent on a toilet break is 28 minutes in London, 14 minutes in Leeds and four minutes in Birmingham.
Earlier this year, a study commissioned by B&Q Bathrooms found that UK adults will spend approximately 416 days of their life in the bathroom.