Do’s and don’ts – a definitive guide to office bathroom etiquette


The public rest room old sign on wall.

17 May 2017

Wherever you work, you are guaranteed to share a bathroom with other people. If not the entire building or floor, then at least with your immediate co-workers – and we don’t have to tell you that when it comes to office bathroom etiquette, not everyone is on the same page.
First and foremost a dirty and unhygienic bathroom is the breeding ground for diseases and it is vital to keep washrooms clean in order to avoid the transmission of germs and bacteria. This is a no-brainer and we don’t need to tell you to always wash your hands after going to the bathroom.

 

The golden rules of office bathroom etiquette

It’s not just about keeping the office bathroom clean, it’s about the golden rules, the unspoken way of acting, the do’s and don’ts of what is acceptable behaviour in the bathroom.

Men

The office bathroom etiquette for men is relatively straight-forward. No eye contact, no talking or touching. Practice cleanliness and respect your fellow man.
Let’s break these rules down a bit more.

DO 

  • Leave a gap between urinals – if someone is already standing at the urinals, only use the next urinal if there are  no others available or it is an emergency
  • Put the toilet seat down and flush with the lid closed
  • Only use the urinal for a number one  go into a stall for anything else

DON’T

  • Take any reading material in with you – finish your business as quickly as possible
  • Talk to anyone if they are in the stalls

 

Women

There is a myth that women’s bathrooms are cleaner than men’s and this stems from the fact that women usually demand a higher standard of cleanliness and comfort when it comes to restrooms.

However, barring the cleanliness issue, there are still a number of do’s and don’ts to take into consideration. Let’s take a look.

DO

  • Dispose of feminine hygiene products in the sanitary bin – that’s what it is there for
  • Use your discretion – if someone is crying or upset, leave them be
  • Be polite and courteous – we are all human and make noises (and smells), don’t acknowledge your fellow bathroom-goer’s bodily functions
  • Tell your co-worker if her skirt is tucked into her underwear or if they have toilet paper stuck to the bottom of their shoe – one word. Karma

DON’T

  • Use hairspray or heavy perfume in the bathroom
  • Go to the bathroom in groups – this is only acceptable if you are in a bar
  • Perform your entire beauty routine – small touch ups are fine
  • Gossip – you never know who is listening in one of the stalls and it is unprofessional

Everyone

Now that we’ve been through the gender specific rules, let’s take a look at what everyone should and shouldn’t be doing when it comes to proper office bathroom etiquette.

DO

  • Always flush (twice if necessary) – leave the toilet in the condition in which you would like to find it
  • Observe social responsibility – if you mess on the toilet seat, wipe it away
  • Respect your co-workers – give them space to answer nature’s call in privacy
  • Change the toilet paper roll if you find it empty – if there is no toilet paper in the entire bathroom, alert maintenance
  • Keep conversation to a minimum – a nod of acknowledge or a greeting will suffice
  • Use the toilet brush if necessary

DON’T

  • Take food or drinks into the bathroom with you
  • Linger – finish your business and then get back to work
  • Take phone calls – take personal calls in a secluded area and work calls in your office
  • Give your colleagues a detailed description of what happened in the bathroom
  • Smoke in the bathroom – there are designated areas for this
  • Draw graffiti – even if you hate your boss, this is unprofessional and never acceptable

BONUS TIP

  • If someone asks you pass them toilet paper, always do so and be generous.

Let’s face it, we are all adults and sometimes we just need a few minutes of quiet time answer nature’s call and contemplate the meaning of the universe.
By following these simple workplace bathroom etiquette tips, you’re sure to have a pleasant, peaceful and embarrassment-free trip to the office bathroom.
Contact us today if your company requires a professional hygiene solution.

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