• More than half have been ‘appalled’ by the state of their office bathroom at least once
• Almost 75% of British workers are more likely to wash their hands in the presence of another person
• Not flushing the toilet is one of the biggest pet peeves of office workers
• A third of workers would consider confronting a colleague over cleanliness and hygiene

A large majority of illnesses that result in employees needing time off work are contracted from dirty office environments. Poor hygiene and cleanliness in office bathrooms can intensify the problem further, and place workers’ health at risk. Thus, despite the ‘taboo’ surrounding the subject, sought to find out what workers dislike the most about their colleague’s dirty bathroom habits and what the ‘correct’ bathroom etiquette is. polled more than 1,400 UK men and women, employed in a wide number of industries, asking questions about their workplace bathroom, and what they truly think and feel about their co-worker’s bathroom habits.
The findings were shocking…

Over half of workers (51%) have been ‘appalled’ by the state of their office bathroom at least once, over the space of 6 months, and just under half (48%) of people worry about going to the bathroom at work, in fear of being greeted by an unclean, smelly environment. One in 10 would give the bathroom a miss altogether if they could.

Despite this, a staggering 7 in 10 (74%) claim to leave the bathroom ‘in the same way they would like to find it’ and make a conscious effort to ensure the cubicle is acceptable and tidy once finished with
. found from their survey that the bathroom now has several uses; perhaps the reason for the level of dirt and grime found at work. The alternative uses of office bathrooms include: putting on make-up, discussing work, going on social media, catching up on emails/texts – even calls – and gossiping.

When workers were questioned on how long they typically spend in the office bathroom, the results vary on the situation. Some would rather be in and out (43%), however others will use the opportunity to take a break from their work (31%). 29% of office workers admit to taking their phone into a cubicle, with a large number admitting to just sitting in the cubicle playing games, or browsing the internet, and not using the toilet for its primary purpose.

In the survey, for the most part, 73% are more likely to wash their hands when in the presence of another colleague, either for a longer amount of time, or when they normally wouldn’t.

However, according to the analysis, found the following reasons why people do not wash their hands after using the bathroom:

• A queue at the sink/hand-dryer (28%)
• Sink is dirty (24%)
• A bad smell (17%)
• Simply couldn’t be bothered (13%)
• No soap/sanitiser (10%)
• Fear of colleagues being judgemental for taking too long (8%)

Over two thirds (68%) of people feel ‘disgusted’ when they notice a colleague not washing their hands. Surprisingly, a third (34%) of workers would consider confronting a colleague over poor hygiene and cleanliness in the bathroom.

According to analysis, the biggest pet peeves cited by office workers are as follows (number 1 being the worst):

1. Not flushing the toilet after use (39%)
2. Not replacing toilet roll (24%)
3. Leaving make-up/dirt around the sink (16%)
4. Not putting rubbish in the bin (12%)
5. Having conversations in the bathroom (9%)

Case studies:

“I once walked into my office’s shared bathroom to find a monstrosity standing before me. It literally looked like someone had a party with the toilet roll, as it was sprawled from corner to corner, on the floor. If that wasn’t bad enough, once in the cubicle, it became evident where the toilet roll had come from… and I was left waiting (embarrassingly) for another colleague to come into the bathroom, to pass me some toilet roll. To this day, we still don’t know what happened, or who it was.”
- Samantha, 46

“As a woman, I find it totally understandable that other ladies wish to touch-up, or re-apply their make up in the office bathroom, however, it becomes incredibly irritating and gets under my nails (literally) when blobs of foundation, bronzer and blush powder have been splattered around the sink – and what women don’t realise is that make-up stains if not cleaned straight away. What happened to that life-lesson parents taught us about cleaning up after ourselves?”
- Marie, 25

“It’s a given that male bathrooms are often untidy and odour-prone, but one particular day stands out for me as clearly, one of my colleagues didn’t follow bathroom etiquette. By failing to flush the toilet, and leaving the basin open, as well as the cubicle door, it ultimately led to the severely unpleasant smell to wander – and combined with the average scent of a male toilet, it was stomach-turning. Every male co-worker I know decided against using the toilet that day, to avoid being consumed by the repulsive smell circulating the bathroom and the corridor. I refuse to use the bathroom now, unless it is urgent.”
- Oliver, 31

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