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Office Bathroom Etiquette for Dummies (And The Rest of Us)

Since most of us spend eight hours or more in the office or workplace, the workplace bathroom is a place where almost every employee finds themselves daily. Proper bathroom etiquette can help keep these shared facilities clean and pleasant, and also reduce discomfort amongst your fellow employees and bathroom users. While most guidelines for sharing a bathroom with your co-workers are a simple matter of common sense and good manners, here are a few easy rules to follow when it's time for a visit to the office commode.


1. Wash Your Hands Every Time

This rule is a no-brainer for restaurant employees, but even in an office, hand washing helps prevent the spread of germs, keeping everyone healthier and more productive. Whether you are shaking the hand of a client, using shared office equipment or simply relaxing in the break room, clean hands are a considerate must for the safety and well being of everyone around you. Liquid hand sanitizer, available in convenient dispensers from most hygiene services, is also a great way to make sure you don't spread germs.

2. Leave Your Cell Phone Behind

While it's tempting to take your phone along on a trip to the bathroom, it's better to limit cell phone use to break rooms and other more appropriate areas of the office. No one wants to hear a toilet flush over the phone, and those sharing the restroom with you will appreciate your consideration. It's also a good idea to leave behind handbags and other personal or expensive items to keep them clean.

3. Leave Talk Time to the Water Cooler

Whether you are standing at the urinal or scrubbing your hands clean, the office bathroom is not the place to gossip, complain, or hold a conversation. Most people are not too comfortable discussing business while doing their business, and even innocuous conversations about the weather are better saved for break rooms or outside.

4. Stock Up

Sitting on the toilet is the worst possible time to realize that someone else used the last of the toilet paper. Save yourself and your fellow employees from this awkward predicament by restocking toilet paper and other supplies if you use the last of it. Easily restocked paper towel dispensers, toilet paper holders, soap dispensers and other bathroom staples are available from most hygiene services for an easy and convenient way to be considerate to your co-workers.

5. Clean Up After Yourself

When using the office bathroom, follow the golden rule and do unto others. Walking in on someone else's mess is never a pleasant experience, and janitorial and hygiene services can only do so much; a clean office bathroom begins and ends with those who use it. Be sure to wipe up water at the sink if you splash, wipe down toilet seats if you get them wet, and use air freshener when necessary. Using the proper receptacles for trash also helps keep this shared space clean, and prevents toilet clogs. If you do run into a clogged toilet, make sure to tell someone or fix it yourself, rather than leaving it for the next unsuspecting individual to deal with.

6. Don't Take it Personally

Some tasks are better left to your own personal bathroom at home. While brushing your teeth in the office bathroom after a lunch of bratwurst and onion rings can be acceptable, other personal grooming tasks such as shaving or trimming your nails can wait until you get home.

7. Flush

While this one should go without saying, sadly sometimes it doesn't. While it's good to conserve water by turning off the taps when you leave, save the water conservation for the sink and be sure to flush every time you use the office bathroom, no matter what.

About the author: Terry Etherton owns and operate TCC Hygenie, providing professional rest room management & hygiene services in Perth, Australia.

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