When it comes to the office bathroom, there are unspoken rules that should always be adhered to; leaving wiggle room in the mens, and throwing feminine products in the right bin in the ladies, for example. However, if you have a colleague in need of a reminder of proper office bathroom etiquette, you might want to share this with them.
Created by digital marketing agency TinderPoint, the following infographic breaks down the 8 tips for men, women, and an additional 5 for that apply to both equally. Take a look below for a refresher on office bathroom etiquette:
Ultimate Guide to office bathroom etiquette
Few things in the world of work are as difficult to negotiate as an embarrassment-free trip to the office bathroom.
As with most things in the workplace, there are best practices to follow.
- Leave some wiggle room. Some people suffer from shy bladder syndrome, so always leave a gap between urinals when possible.
- Eschew conversation. A simple grunt of acknowledgement will do—especially if you’re the boss.
- Avoid face time. If you do happen to get chatting in the office bathroom, eyes should be focused on the wall in front.
- Be wary of touch points. If you’re forced to have a urinal neighbour, be cautious of your feet. Unexpected contact might raise eyebrows.
- Leverage your hands. The “look ma, no hands” approach is best confined to riding your bike.
- Be mindful of your social responsibility. If you splash the seat, it’s your responsibility to wipe it up.
- Be seat proactive. Put the seat down for the next guy. It’s surprising how many people don’t check before they sit.
- Make hay. When you’re being paid to work, taking the sports section in with you is considered poor form.
Women expect a certain level of comfort and discretion in the bathroom. Here’s some joined-up thinking to help you take the right course of action.
- Transition rubbish accordingly. Feminine products belong in the bin, never in the bowl.
- Practice discretion. If someone’s upset in a stall, give her some privacy—unless it’s your office bestie.
- Evaluate logistics. If you have the choice, go for the cubical closest to the edge. If you can’t, leave a buffer stall.
- Roll it out. If a fellow toilet-goer reaches out to you to pass a wad of toilet paper, be generous.
- Go solo. At a bar, going to the bathroom in groups is manditory. At work, less so.
- Touch base and wipe. No one can blame you for hovering over the seat, but they can if you fail to clean it afterwards.
- Future-proof Karma. If you notice a colleague has tucked her skirt into her knickers, you have a moral obligation to tell her.
- Create a collaborative atmosphere. Go easy using hairspray or perfume. It may smell nice, but not everyone wants a mouth full of it.
When actioning calls to nature, here are some pointers that apply to both genders.
- Go offline. Killing time on you phone is fine. But making a call or messaging? There’s a whole office for that.
- Devise an entry strategy. Please stop knocking. If all the stalls in the office bathroom are occupied, go back to your desk and wait.
- Think health and safety. Remember to wash your hands—don’t become a persona non grata at client meetings.
- Table your food. The only thing that can make your sad desk lunch any sadder is taking it to the bathroom.
- Don’t pencil it in. Toilet graffiti—even the funniest graffiti—should be avoided.
Now that you know a bit of etiquette, find out everything you ever wanted to know about poop. Or find some more tips on etiquette below.
10 additional office bathroom etiquette tips
- You may have your own style, but don’t wear shoes memorable enough to be recognized under a bathroom stall.
- Don’t spend more time building the nest than you spend sitting on it.
- Your colleagues don’t need to be provided with any details of your experience (i.e. “I just created a Pollock on porcelain masterpiece.”)
- Don’t wait for someone to open the door for you or bother using a hand towel on the knob.
- Absolutely no talking between stalls.
- Don’t announce your trips to the office bathroom beforehand. I can’t help but time you, and I really don’t want to.
- Avoid the last stall. Studies have shown it to be the most unsanitary because people incorrectly assume it to be the least trafficked. The same is true with the disabled toilets, but that’s for other reasons.
- If you toss your tie over your shoulder at the urinal, either your tie is too long or your dick is too short.
- Don’t flush with your foot. All you’re doing is transferring urine and fecal matter from the floor to the handle. Just wash your hands.
- No laughing at (or acknowledging) the strange noises in the office bathroom. And, no jokes. We’ve all heard “How do blind people know when to stop wiping?” before.
Daniel is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with over a decade of experience in advertising and marketing in the Greater Toronto Area.