Reading time: 3 minutes

Including unisex showers in end-of-trip facilities forms part of the conversation when discussing gender neutral washrooms in office buildings. However, shower rooms require just as many safety and privacy measures as WC cubicles, and there is both concern and relevance to including these unisex facilities in a commercial building.

Over two decades of seeing commercial washroom design plans and discussing various pros and cons of many factors with architects and designers, we understand the advantages and disadvantages of unisex showers in the workplace. For this reason, our article will explore and compare the pros and cons of unisex showers to help you make a final decision.

Unisex shower and toilets in the workplace

Top 6 Pros of gender neutral shower rooms

  1. Gender neutral washrooms are more inclusive and show employees that their company cares about the diversity and inclusivity of all individuals.
  2. Including unisex washroom facilities may boost a company’s reputation as it joins the movement to be an inclusive organisation.
  3. Foot traffic can move much faster as time spent in unisex showers tends to be less.
  4. Unisex showers save money because one shower room for all gender identities will save valuable square footage. Fewer showers mean fewer fittings to install, thus reducing costs.
  5. Unisex showers within a gender neutral washroom are attractive to future employees entering the world of work, convincing them to join a company. Providing unisex showers may attract and retain top talent as the facilities assure employees that the company considers and accommodates their needs.
  6. A unisex commercial shower facility positively impacts the psychology of people as it eliminates judgement, and stereotyping.
Gender neutral shower facility

Top 6 Cons of gender neutral shower rooms

  1. There is an assault or sexual harassment risk. Statistics are alarming and are a crucial factor to contemplate before planning gender neutral shower rooms in the workplace.
  2. Unisex showers may lead to social anxiety as not all people feel comfortable in the presence of the opposite sex in a washroom environment.
  3. Because unisex showers cater to everyone, there may be a congestion issue and long queues of people waiting to use the facility.
  4. Unisex showers may fail to protect an individual’s privacy, dignity, and morality, resulting in being discouraged from using the facilities. If it means compromising their values, then individuals will refuse to use gender neutral facilities, which puts them at an unfair disadvantage.
  5. Individuals may object to unisex showers based on religious reasons.
  6. If employees want to use shower facilities but are uncomfortable stepping into a unisex shower environment, this could result in resignations and companies losing top talent.
Unisex washroom facilities dressing area

Are there UK laws about unisex washroom facilities?

Although the following press releases and statements from the UK Government refer to the provision of unisex toilets in the workplace and public buildings, we can assume that the same principles would apply to unisex commercial showers.

The following articles were released on 4 July 2022 regarding the provision of gender-specific toilets for both men and women and how there should be a balance to consider, accommodate, and protect people’s characteristics as per The Equality Act 2010.

Shower set for unisex shower rooms in the workplace

Should you include gender neutral showers in the workplace?

Weighing up the pros and cons regarding including unisex showers in your washroom can be complicated. The pros are about creating an inclusive environment and catering to all gender groups and identities, whereas the cons are about potential risks and putting some people at an unfair disadvantage.

You want to create a commercial washroom environment that is inclusive, respectful towards people’s principles and beliefs, caters to various needs, and protects people’s privacy and wellbeing. To achieve this, many designers and companies are choosing the middle ground to include both separate sex and unisex commercial washrooms for use by all (space and budget allowing).

Balancing the accommodation for gender neutral and gender specific commercial shower rooms will symbolise the care, respect, and value a company has for its people and all those who enter the premises. It is the solution to retain top talent and keep a happy workplace environment where all gender identities can benefit and appreciate.

Did you like this article? Let us know if you are planning a gender specific or unisex shower room, and one of our commercial washroom specialists will help guide you on all the factors to consider before drawing up your design.

Get in touch