The Modern Office Part #2: Showering at the Office

After President Gore’s riveting PowerPoint on the effects of global warming last year, many companies have decided to hop on the “green” bandwagon implementing such office-wide initiatives as a “turn-off the lights” campaign, compost recycling in the lunchroom (more on this later) and discouraging printing or copying of any kind. However, one of the most popular and most aggressive ways in which modern offices encourage “green” living is by building private showers into their office space.

I’m baffled by this for several reasons:

Who exactly uses an office shower?

Presumably office showers are there for bicycle commuters who work up a sweat on their way to work in the mornings. And that’s great, since no one wants to sit in a meeting for hours with someone who smells like a gym locker room and wet spandex. However, this then begs the question, who actually commutes by bicycle to the office?

My company recently moved to a new office location (at the bottom of several very steep hills) and actually spent the money to construct two shower units in the office space.

I have not seen it occupied once since we moved in.

How hygienic are these things anyway?

Public showers are notorious for being dirty and spreading germs and scary fungi. Why? Because no one has the personal responsibility of cleaning them out on a regular basis. One might assume that the office janitorial staff would do that work, but this is not always the case.

I once worked in an office where the janitorial staff was contracted to clean everything except the kitchen/lunchroom. This made for some very sticky mornings when someone had spilled something the day before and snuck out without cleaning it up. So if by chance you are actually considering using your office shower, you might want to confirm that someone cleans it regularly. Otherwise, I highly recommend rubber flip-flops.

What about personal privacy?

Call me a prude, but the thought of stripping down to my birthday suit at the office, even behind closed (and locked) doors makes me a little uncomfortable. Knowing that there’s even a remote chance that my boss or that creepy guy in the IT department could burst in at any moment is enough to keep me high and dry at the office.

While I personally have never used an office shower, I’m curious to hear about other people’s experiences using theirs. Have you used one? Has your experience been positive or negative?

Feel free to share your story and add a comment below.

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5 responses »

  1. At my old work (think 1990) we had a full bathroom/shower that was meant for ’emergency times’ when the office was staffed around the clock. It was regularly used by those of use who ran/biked to work, or exercised at lunch. It was great. We all took responsibility for spraying the stall down after use. The can was cleaned by custodial.

    There was also a bedroom which I admit to having napped in when very pregnant at lunch time…

  2. Working in a hospital setting, we are lucky to have converted patient rooms as offices. What this means? Semi-private bathrooms (not everyone is in an old patient room, so those who are in the rooms share the bathrooms with the rest of the staffers).

    These bathrooms come fully equipped with showers. While some are used for storage/files, others are being used fully as showers. Many folks from our office attempt to work-out in the mornings or at lunch, so you will frequently find one bathroom in use for showering, at least.

    I think if it is set up to offer enough privacy, they are a wonderful asset. Even better? If the workplace offers classes and/or a gym facility.

  3. Working in the video game industry, I have seen testers sent home for the day because they needed to take a shower so badly. So I say, bring ’em on! We could use them. 😉

  4. Me either, it’s in the middle of the back office.
    Just wondering if one day I have to spend a night working in the office, should I use it?

  5. One of the reasons i DON’T bike to work (or exercise on my lunch break) is because my office doesn’t have a shower. If they had one I would use it regularly.

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