10 Things Not To Do in the Workplace Bathroom

10 Things Not To Do in the Workplace Bathroom

What’s the scariest room in the office? It’s not the boardroom, or even the head of human resources’s office. For many workers, the place where they see the most egregious lapses in etiquette, and the most flat-out disgusting co-worker behaviorin short, the worst of the people they work with is the office bathroom.

If you don’t want to wind up the subject of your colleagues’ furtive Facebook posts and ill-advised tweets, observe these rules:

1. We are all in a cone of silence.

In a perfect world, we’d actually have soundproof stalls in which to go about our business, but in reality, we’re often stuck with less-than-ideal accommodations. Never mind. Just because you can hear something, doesn’t mean that you’re obligated to comment on it.

Can’t believe that anyone would be confused about that? Thank your lucky stars. The spirit of the frat house is strong in many offices.

2. Now is not the time for a chat.

OK, so you won’t comment on other people’s bodily functions, but it’s still OK to carry on conversations with your friends while you’re occupied, right?

Wrong. Even if you’re super close to all your co-workers and you’re absolutely sure that they feel as comfortable as you with, um, multitasking, the other folks in the bathroom might not feel the same way.

… especially if you’re the boss.

Your reports probably won’t feel OK telling you that you’re encroaching on their personal space, so just assume that they don’t want to talk over their TPS reports while they’re using the facilities.

3. Don’t peek.

If you use a urinal, and so does the CEO, pretend that you’ve developed a serious neck injury that makes it impossible to look to the side. Do not, under any circumstances, hazard a peek at the little CEO.

4. Make your phone calls later.

Thanks to the trend toward open offices, there are fewer places than ever to conduct your personal phone calls. The bathroom is not the solution to this problem. The last thing you need to have your boss walk in on you while you’re making your annual appointment at the gynecologist. (And again, even if you don’t care, others do.)

5. Pick up after yourself.

As the sign says, your mother doesn’t work hereand even if she did, hasn’t she done enough for you? Don’t leave your trash (or other detritus) around. Flush, toss, or otherwise minimize the evidence of your time in the restroom.

6. Clear the air.

Air fresheners are helpful, but don’t overdo it. There’s no need to replace all the air in the room with flowery smelling aerosols. The same goes for perfumes, hairspray, and anything else that fills the atmosphere with artificial odors and potential allergens.

7. Dispose of things in their proper place.

No gum in the urinal, sanitary napkins or tampons in the toilet, or food in the bathroom trashcan. Which brings us to our next point…

8. No eating.

The bathroom is the only place in the office less sanitary for snacking than your desk. If your company doesn’t provide a designated place for eating, go out for lunch or hit the local park in nice weather. Don’t eat in the restroom. It’s just gross.

9. Leave a gap.

Have you ever watched a previously empty bus or train car fill up? Most people naturally gravitate away from one another, so if one person sits in the middle, the next person will sit either at the front or the back.

Do the same when you choose a stall. If there are three stalls, leave the middle one empty as a courtesy to co-workers with Shy Bladder Syndrome.

10. Wash your hands.

There’s nothing more disgusting than watching a colleague leave the restroom without washing his hands. It makes you want to start wearing white gloves everywhere. Don’t creep out your co-workers. Wash your hands, and make the office a healthier place for everyone.

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  • January 29, 2021