Offices have come a long way since employees were only provided with desks, typewriters, a secure phone line, and access to the occasional vending machine. Now, people are given everything from unlimited Moleskine notebooks to always-fresh avocados and cold brew in the kitchen. Another office perk that’s becoming a staple for many startups is office showers. Want to bike to work and not have to worry about being sweaty? No problem. Eager to scoot out for a lunchtime run but still look fresh for a 4pm meeting? Done.
Office showers are yet to be the norm but having them available could lure talent to your company. A 2017 survey found that for some millennials, having shower facilities will definitely influence whether or not they take a job. And it’s also something companies are thinking about when they lock down real estate.
Troy Sultan, a founder of the California-based recruitment company Resource, says his office has a shower that any member of their small team can use at their leisure. Picking an office with a shower wasn’t a must-have while searching for space, but it’s certainly something that’s nice to have, he says. His team stocks the bathroom and shower with towels, soap, and hair products.
“We want our team to run the marathon pace and avoid burnout from the need to sprint. This means staying healthy, doing things outside of work, and encouraging extracurriculars,” he says. “On days where we exercise before work, its saves a lot of time and makes things easy. I don't have to go back home, I can head right to the office. If I couldn't do that, I would likely stop exercising before work.”
Some larger companies push the envelope even further with in-office gyms and more. Hearst Tower’s The Club in New York City is a 9,000-square-foot gym that offers fitness classes, fresh fruit, personal training, physical therapy, and well-equipped locker rooms. Clif Bar’s headquarters in California has a gym, two fitness studios, a 40-foot bouldering wall, and fitness classes. Oracle in Redwood City has a sand volleyball court, basketball court, and swimming pool in addition to its 50,000 square-foot fitness center.
For some employees, working out at work can make them feel uncomfortable: being sweaty or even naked in front of colleagues in locker rooms can tee up some awkward situations. But for the most part, providing any range of basic showers or extreme exercise options can boost productivity for many reasons. The Society For Human Resource Management’s 2015 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey revealed that nearly 70 percent of employees considered wellness programs either “important” or “very important” to overall job satisfaction.
Brian Ranft, who works at Eaton in Cleveland, says his company’s on-site gym, running trails, weight room, cardio equipment, pool, and class offerings make him much happier and more focused at work. The ease of his weekly spin classes at the office allow him to be at his desk as early as 7:20 am.
“I typically joke that they use it to make sure they know where we are even in our free time, but the employee culture works well and mostly no one discusses work in the locker room,” he says. “I feel much better, less stressed, and perform better when I am consistent in my workout, and this is all due to convenience of the gym being just down the hall from my desk.”