(Photo above: Cassidy Riordan, AKBD, Interior Designer, Ascent Architecture & Interiors)
Employees who exercise are more productive and less likely to suffer burnout. Encourage workplace fitness by including shower facilities in your next commercial space.
Savvy companies of all sizes are actively encouraging employees to lead healthy lifestyles and minimize their impact on the environment. Research shows—and human resource managers know—that employees who participate in regular exercise are up to 15 percent more productive than those who don’t exercise and less likely to suffer depression and work burnout.
One of the simplest methods for employers to promote healthy “life skills” is to make it easier for workers to ride their bicycles or walk to work and exercise during breaks. Providing shower facilities at the office can encourage employees to move more and incorporate fitness into their daily routines.
The most common reason employees choose not to bicycle or walk to work is because they don’t want to get sweaty and stink up the office. As a bicycle commuter who works in an open design studio with shared workspaces, I can attest that controlling odor is one of my primary concerns. If only there were a way to wash up before you make your way to your desk…
The presence of workplace showering facilities encourages employees to arrive early and prepare for the day with confidence that they will look and smell their best. To this end, employers are including commercial showers at the office for employees to use, or they’re seeking commercial office buildings with showers when signing leases.
Morning bicycle commuters say they “enjoy being able to clean up after their ride in” and that “showering at work helps them transition into a productive mind set.” Employers who offer showering facilities at work use them as a hiring perk to attract employees who value health and the environment. Building owners include them to keep their properties competitive in the leasing market. For this reason, we at Ascent Architecture & Interiors encourage the inclusion of shower facilities in all new administrative buildings and remodels, whenever feasible.
Bicycle commuters and employees who run or walk to work in the morning are the primary users of office showers; however, they’re not the only ones with reason to shower at work. Manufacturing facilities and medical spaces also benefit from shower facilities, especially if specialized uniforms are required or working conditions lead to soiled clothing. Shower facilities are considered a necessity at institutional facilities such as hospitals or prisons, where employees are often required to work extended shifts ranging from 12 to 24 hours.
If building showering facilities is not an option, employers can:
• Initiate a “shower pool” where employees may use neighboring businesses’ showers,
• Provide alternatives to traditional showers, such as grooming kits or body sprays or
• Provide reimbursement for a nearby gym membership that includes showering facilities.
Adding shower facilities to an existing commercial restroom will likely require the services of a licensed architect. Ascent Architecture & Interiors offers an integrated team, with architects and interior designers working together to create beautiful, functional and safe spaces that are also code-compliant and ADA-accessible. To find out if adding a shower to your commercial building is a viable option, contact us for budgeting, space planning and contractor-selection support.
Cassidy Riordan is an interior designer at Ascent Architecture & Interiors and a National Kitchen & Bath Association-certified Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer. His experience with Ascent includes commercial, multifamily and residential design.