The (Un)written Rules of Workplace Bathroom Behaviour
Let's not fool ourselves – those random meetings with colleagues or superiors in the bathroom are almost always an awkward experience which makes us uneasy. What does an ideal reaction look like? What should we talk about and what should remain tabooed? And what should we definitely keep in mind?
No Work Discussions
If there was only one unwritten rule about small talk in the bathroom, it would sound like this: Just don't talk about work. The bathroom is – among other things – a place where we seek a short break from constant thinking about the work. That is why every other – even a slightly awkward – topic for a small talk is better than a conversation about work.
There is another unwritten rule connected to the peace and calmness we look for in the bathroom – we should definitely respect the privacy of our colleagues. Any knocking on the door or even a brief conversation over the wall is really not the most appropriate thing to do – there are not many issues that would not wait those couple of seconds and would really have to be dealt with in this environment.
Hygiene and Cleanness
Another dimension we should not forget about when visiting the workplace bathroom is hygiene. This, of course, applies universally but also to our interactions with colleagues. Under all circumstances you should not forget about flushing the toilet and even cleaning it with the toilet brush and using the air freshener if necessary.
It is also advised to wipe all the wet surfaces you created around the sink or on the floor. In case you also used the last toilet paper, soap or paper towels, it is fair to at least notify the person responsible for the supplies of hygienic products in the workplace.
No Place for Gossip
There is no point in pretending that every workplace is a harmonious place where no-one speaks about their colleagues behind their back. If you also cannot resist the temptation to give vent to your feelings from time to time, it is always better not to do it in the bathroom. Not only you are, again, bringing work-related topics to a place where they do not belong, you can also never be sure the person you are complaining about is not sitting on the opposite side of the cubicle.