HR Strange But True!
December 06, 2007

The International Center for Bathroom Etiquette (ICBE), whose lofty mission is "to improve the bathroom experience for everyone," has set its sights on workplace restrooms.

On the ICBE website, the founder admits he was a little "bored" when he created the ICBE but found it necessary because he "noticed a horrible disregard for manners and common courtesy" in public restrooms. To address the issue, the ICBE has developed sets of rules and tips for restrooms, including those in the workplace. Here are the ICBE's 5 rules and a "special tip" for the workplace restroom.

First Rule: Never conduct any business in the restroom.

At best, participants will be distracted. More likely, they will be so busy trying to ignore you and focus on the task at hand that it's an awkward waste of time. At worst, you are going to offend some client. So leave the business to the boardroom and/or golf course.

Second Rule: Always wash your hands.

You know what's worse than seeing some stranger in a public bathroom leave without washing his or her hands? Seeing somebody you work with do the same.

Third Rule: Never "lie in wait" if all the stalls are occupied.

Nobody likes to feel pressured, so give your co-workers some space, go back to your desk, and try again later (or try another bathroom).

Fourth Rule: Remember that "everyone is equal in the eyes of the bathroom."

So you're the boss. Maybe you're even the boss's boss. Doesn't matter a whit in the bathroom; you've still got to follow the rules.

Fifth Rule: Make sure you "keep down the stink."

If you think it might be an especially stinky trip, consider a courtesy flush. People will thank you.

Special Tip: Dealing with those who outrank you is tricky.

Maybe your boss was clever, came here, read these rules, and is acting like he should in the bathroom. Then again, maybe he's not. Maybe he keeps trying to strike up a conversation with you at the urinal, while all your instincts tell you to stare straight ahead and ignore them. We feel the need to warn you that following proper bathroom etiquette rules in the context of such an ignorant boss may jeopardize your job, or at least your standing.

The ICBE also offers some guidance on e-mailing while in the bathroom. And don't miss the ICBE's blog Porcelain, where one person asks for the ICBE's take on workplace restrooms with doors that don't close automatically.

Source: ICBE

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