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Workplace Restroom Etiquette

What you do in the restroom is your own business – to a point. In the workplace, proper restroom etiquette can help you keep up your health and reputation, and the failure to do so can seriously put you on the outs.

If you’re an employer or building operator, placing courtesy signage in your restrooms can help everyone who uses the facilities have a clear understanding of what behavior is expected. You should also take note: in a recently released national survey, 83 percent of the participants said they believed that the condition of a workplace restroom is an indicator of how a company values its workforce.

Even large corporations usually have just one or two restrooms per floor, which means there is a relatively small number of people using the facilities during a given shift or work day. So there's a good chance that what you do – or don't do – in the restroom won't remain private business for long. With that in mind, we’ve provided a guide of basic workplace restroom etiquette for employees and employers alike.

Flush the toilet.
You may believe in water conservation, but the workplace bathroom is not ideal grounds for this ecological standoff. Building administrators would surely concur, as a portion of pricey plumbing emergencies and repairs are the result of incomplete or infrequent flushing. If the building's plumbing system doesn't have adequate pressure, take a second to make sure that a second flush isn't needed.


Leave it as you found it.

When it comes to workplace restrooms, the more immaculate you leave the room, the better. When you walk out of a stall, the toilet seat should be down – and clean. If you splash water on the countertop when washing your hands (see the next note), wipe up the puddle with a paper towel. And, make sure that said paper towel makes it into the trash receptacle – not near it or hanging off it.

Wash your hands.
This is something we all learned before we could even reach the faucet, but it bears repeating. Wash your hands, with soap, and long enough to sing the “Twinkle, Twinkle little star” song from beginning to end – that's at least 20 seconds. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), proper hand-washing is the simplest and most effective way of reducing the spread of germs.

Keep the chit-chat outside.
This bit of etiquette will vary from company to company, and even from restroom to restroom. While sink-to-sink conversation generally is accepted, stall-to-stall gets into some gray area. Even if the other person is happy to continue talking while using the facilities, others who are also using the space might not appreciate it. The same goes for small-talk that begins at the sink but evolves into a longer conversation – take it outside, out of respect for those still using the restroom.

Report problems.
Are toilets not flushing? Is the toilet paper out of stock? Is the paper towel dispenser jammed? Don't assume that someone else will address these problems. Some buildings post a phone number or email to report issues. If not, ask a manager or building supervisor for the proper protocol.

Office Restroom Etiquette Every time someone acts to keep their restroom clean at work in some way, it saves a few minutes of cleaning staff's time. Over the course of its working life, a sign like this can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
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