8 Tips for Using the Office Bathroom

Most people don’t like the idea of using the office bathroom, but they have to use it from time to time. If and when you’re stuck in this unfortunate situation, you should know there are some simple tips that can make the experience better.

Better Office Bathroom Habits

What’s the point?

If you’ve never thought much about the experience of using the office bathroom, it might surprise you to see this as a topic worth exploring. But there are many benefits to improving your office bathroom habits, such as:

·       Etiquette. Using the bathroom with better etiquette can improve your reputation in the office and prevent the possibility of rubbing someone the wrong way. It’s unlikely that a breach of etiquette in the bathroom could cost you a promotion or a transfer opportunity, but it’s certainly not going to help.

·       Personal comfort. For many people, using public bathrooms is a source of anxiety and/or discomfort. This is an unfamiliar environment over which you have little to no control, so how can you make the most of it and improve your personal comfort during the experience?

·       Health and wellness. In some cases, your approach to the office bathroom can also improve your health and wellness. If you have specific health issues, like irritable bowel syndrome, you may also have to take your bathroom habits into more serious consideration.

Tips for Using the Office Bathroom

These are some of the most important tips for using the office bathroom:

1. Find the right bathroom. First, understand that most office environments have more than one bathroom available. If you’re working for a small company, or if space is limited, this may not be the case. But more commonly, you’ll find that there are bathrooms on every floor, or at least that there are many different bathrooms available. Choosing the right bathroom can immediately make your experience better. For example, you could choose a bathroom that’s out of the way, reducing the likelihood that you run into somebody during your experience, or you could choose a bathroom that tends to be cleaner due to its traffic levels or the amount of attention it gets from the custodian.

2. Time it right (when possible). Consider your timing. If you’re dealing with an emergency, you won’t have the luxury of making a conscious decision, but if you can afford to hold it for a few minutes, you can time your move correctly. Don’t try to use the bathroom after a big meeting, during lunch, or during other high-traffic periods. Instead, go during off hours and keep an eye on traffic to and from the bathroom to minimize your chances of interaction.

3. Respect others’ privacy. One of the most important aspects of public bathroom etiquette is respecting other people’s privacy. Most people using the bathroom to test the idea of interacting with somebody in any capacity in or around that bathroom. Don’t strike up a conversation with a coworker using the urinal next to you and don’t make comments about the noises coming from the other stall.

4. Use an unoccupied stall. Be confident that the stall is unoccupied before making your move. If a stall is occupied, don’t aggressively knock or jiggle the handle, trying to gain entry. Doing so may disturb the person inside.

5. Be prepared for toilet paper shortages. Even if your office has a reputation for keeping plenty of toilet paper stocked, it’s a good idea to be proactive. We’ve all been in the unfortunate situation of being stuck in a stall with no toilet paper. Think ahead and check the stall you plan to use before you enter.

6. Mitigate foul odors. Put together a plan to mitigate foul odors, if necessary. Burning a candle as a temporary measure could immediately make the environment more comfortable for yourself and others.

7. Know how to fix a clogged toilet. Just in case you run into this unfortunate situation, you should be familiar with how to unclog a toilet. This way, you can avoid the awkward conversation of acknowledging that you clothed the toilet with your last visit.

8. Always wash your hands. Hopefully, this point doesn’t need explained. Washing your hands is much more hygienic, preventing or reducing the spread of contagious illnesses. It’s also a sign of respect for others. Don’t get caught skipping this important step. Wash your hands thoroughly every time.

If you work in an office, you’re probably going to have to use the bathroom at least a couple of times every workday. It’s impossible to avoid, even if you plan your day around avoiding it. But thankfully, with these new habits and strategies, you can assuage your anxieties and use the bathroom much more comfortably.