office bathroom rules

Workplace Bathroom Etiquette: 10 Rules For Employees And Staff

Who is this micro-class for

* Employees and staff

* Managers 

* Employers

What you’ll learn

* The crucial hygiene rules

* How to be respectful of your coworkers when using the restroom

* The behaviors to avoid in a workplace bathroom


* Less than 5 minutes to complete

About this micro-class

Proper bathroom etiquette is essential in maintaining a clean and comfortable environment for both employees and guests in your workplace.

1. Use designated restrooms

Employees-Only Restroom: Employees should use the designated restrooms for staff members, if available, to avoid congestion in guest facilities.

Respect Gender-Neutral and Unisex Restrooms (if applicable): If your establishment has gender-neutral or unisex restrooms, use them in accordance with their intended purpose.

Respect ADA Accessible Facilities: If you are not disabled, avoid using ADA-accessible facilities to ensure they are available for those who need them.

2. Limit your use of the workplace bathroom

Respect time limits

Try to limit your visits to the workplace bathroom. Avoid peak hours, such as after lunchtime, to allow coworkers access to the facilities.

Be efficient

Short Stays: In shared employee restrooms, stay as short as possible. Be mindful of other colleagues who may be waiting and try to keep restroom breaks reasonably brief.

Limit Personal Grooming: It is acceptable to refresh your makeup or brush your teeth. However, it is best to avoid extended grooming, such as flossing, shaving, or hair styling.

Conversation: Limit conversation with coworkers. You can say hello and make small talk but avoid chatting.

Cell Phones: Avoid cell phone use in the restroom to maintain privacy and prevent unnecessary delays for others.

3. Don't bring any belongings to the workplace bathroom

Equipment: Bring to the toilet only what is strictly necessary. Leave your laptop or other business equipment out. Avoid bringing any other belongings, such as documents or stationery.

Bags and Purses: Avoid bringing their bags or purses to the restroom. Consider using a small toiletry bag instead.

Food: Don’t bring any food or beverages to the restroom to avoid hygiene risks and spilling.

4. Respect privacy and boundaries

Be considerate when the bathroom is occupied

If the toilet door is closed, don’t try to open it. Instead, gently knock. Avoid knocking endlessly and never peep under the doors. When you are in the bathroom and someone knocks, say a simple “occupied” or “sorry”.

If the toilet is occupied, it is best to leave and come back later. Do not wait for the person to leave, as it could cause embarrassment.

Close and lock stall doors

Ensure privacy and security by closing and locking stall doors when using a toilet. 

Never leave the toilet door open or expose your private parts or underwear.

Keep noise levels down

Be mindful of the noise level and maintain a quiet and respectful atmosphere within the restroom. Maintain the privacy of others by not loitering or engaging in conversations that may disturb coworkers using the facilities.

5. Check the restroom when you enter

Avoid awkward situations. When you enter the bathroom, check that everything is in order. Make sure that there is enough toilet paper. Wipe the toilet seat before seating. 

Male employees must lift the toilet seat if they are not going to sit.

6. Dispose of trash properly

Never dispose of any items in the WC or on the restroom floor. Limit the amount of toilet paper to avoid clogging. Never dispose of feminine care or sanitary items in the WC.

To avoid disposing of items in the WC, employers must place a small trash bin in every toilet stall. If trash bins are not available, request your employer to provide them.

7. Gracefully leave the bathroom

Toilet Seat: In an era of gender equality, leaving the toilet seat up is no longer a major offense. However, the best etiquette is to rest the toilet seat and the cover down. Wipe the seat before leaving and leave the toilet stall in perfect order.

Flushing: Always flush before leaving. Flush more than once if necessary. Open the restroom door only when the flushing is over.

8. Leave the restroom as you found it

Maintain cleanliness

Correct Posture: Female employees should always sit on the toilet seat. Males should always stand close to the WC to avoid dripping. 

Messy Stalls: If the toilet stall is in poor hygiene conditions, find another one and call the janitors. Don’t make the conditions of the toilet stall worse.

Splashing: Avoid splashing water on countertops or floors.

Smoking: Never smoke inside the bathroom.

Report maintenance issues

If employees encounter maintenance or cleanliness issues in the restroom, such as the flush not working or the WC clogged, they should report them to the appropriate personnel for prompt resolution.

9. Wash your hands

Handwashing: Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the restroom.

Save Water: Keep the water running only when necessary and turn the taps off before you leave. Avoid splashing water around and on the mirrors.

Wipe Your Hands: Dry your hands thoroughly. Don’t touch the door handle or leave the bathroom with wet hands.

10. Help reinforcing proper bathroom etiquette

The best way to reinforce bathroom rules is to increase awareness.

Ask your employer to place signage in the restroom and make the restroom policy available to all employees.

Workplace bathroom etiquette worst mistakes

Avoid the worst workplace bathroom etiquette mistakes:

  • Not washing your hands before leaving.
  • Spending too much time in the workplace bathroom.
  • Embarrassing others.
  • Leaving the restroom in a messy state.
  • Not flushing.
  • Disposing of items in the WC.

Resources and sources