31

This is a small company in India which has engineers, finance professionals, janitors and even interns from abroad, working there.

The founders noticed that many employees aren't very familiar with lavatory etiquette and ensuring hygiene, and they wished to conduct a small training to inform employees about it.

Since this is a slightly touchy issue, they aren't sure how to proceed. An online search showed some pages which had requisite info, but do not speak about how to proceed with educating employees about it.

Would it be too in-your-face or insulting if a small training session was conducted about this where everyone is invited?

Is there a better way to proceed with this?

  • 5
    I don't know about "better" but angry signs with "don't pee on the floor" and "your mother doesn't clean up after you here" are a staple in many places where this is a problem. At least it avoids being "in your face" by putting the signs close to the crime scene. – tripleee Sep 25 '17 at 11:14
  • 9
    If you post sign(s), don't make them angry; make the message a matter-of-fact reminder "Employees must wash hands before returning to work" or perhaps include light humor if feasible. – Brandin Sep 25 '17 at 11:16
  • 15
    What type of sign/humour to use may also be culturally different. An example from Germany may be found by searching for "Toilettenbürstenbenutzungsanweisung", but I wouldn't assume that example would translate well to another culture. – Brandin Sep 25 '17 at 11:31
  • 18
    I'm not sure what kind of etiquette isn't being followed. Do people try to open stall doors when they're locked by turning via the little slot on the outside? Are the guy's aim poor? Do people yap on the phone in the bathroom? Is it a simple failure to wash hands? I would think these situations would all require different answers. (I get the last 3 in my office in the US and have seriously though about putting up those "angry" signs since people from different departments & different companies use the same bathroom...) – FreeMan Sep 25 '17 at 13:23
  • 4
    Whatever you do, people react much better when they are explained why the rules are rather than just saying what they are. – Davidmh Sep 25 '17 at 13:49
18

Would it be too in-your-face or insulting if a small training session was conducted about this where everyone is invited?

No, it's just an information, and something the company wants to take care of.

Is there a better way to proceed with this?

The signs you put in the bathroom are commonly useless for the ones who know and already take care of their personal hygiene, and helpful (and not helpless, typo corrected thanks to @Brandin) for the ones who don't care and/or don't know.

In order to create awareness for the ones who don't know, it's always useful to show them the benefits of doing something. As a simple search (that you already did) can give many information (e.g. diseases spread not washing hands, I think you could let people know what they face.

Before you set up a meeting, you can send an email, sharing data about the diseases than can be spread. Or just say nothing, call for the meeting, and explain. But it's important that people understand that the company does that not to bother them or to "educate" them, but to protect everyone's health, including the company (less people calling off, better the rate of return, greater benefits for eveybody).

Then, when everybody knows, put the signs. As a nice reminder.

Don't put the blame on anyone, show them why it's good for them, AND everyone around them, and they will be more willing to listen to you. Create awareness for the ones who don't know.

  • 1
    "The signs you put in the bathroom are commonly useless..." Says who? At least one research seems to show promising results for signage (some may ignore them, but if you see the same sign every day...): ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25603617 – Brandin Sep 25 '17 at 12:00
  • @Brandin : I agree, that's why I was careful and said are commonly (you know: useless, of course, because you already take care / don't know: helpful / everyday information). I thought it was clear, but I'm willing to improve if it's not what people understand from my phrase. – OldPadawan Sep 25 '17 at 12:07
  • OMG! just saw the typo!!! sorry @Brandin, I wrote helpless instead of helpful, I understand why you wrote this comment, thanks for pointing out :) – OldPadawan Sep 25 '17 at 12:13
  • In addition to this, I'd like to note that you should SET UP your bathroom for hygiene. If you are expected to wash your hands under the tap, but then have to shut the valve that you touched before with the same hands... Nobody will. Motion-sensitive taps are way better. – Weckar E. Sep 25 '17 at 13:18
  • 1
    @WeckarE., Along the same lines, some workplaces have foot-pedal activated faucets and swinging doors to get out of the restroom that do not require you to touch the door handles to get out. Also, having a well stocked, regularly inspected, and pleasant bathroom to be in can go a long way. Showers and changing rooms can be helpful too if employees bike to work or work overtime. – Stephan Branczyk Sep 26 '17 at 8:35
34

The most common method (actually the only one I have seen) is to post signs. Either humorous picture ones or more bland ones from management just stating the expectations on hygiene and proper usage. Or a combination of both.

If it was an ongoing issue the best recourse would be a blanket email, either to staff or managers from someone up the hierarchy. Along the lines of "Your sections toilets are a disgusting mess, please make sure I don't see them in this condition again." more or less polite as suits the situation.

The manager could also bring it up in a staff meeting. It's not so much training or educating as reminding them to respect others and their workplace, most people already know that they're not supposed to pee/poo on the floor/seat/walls and don't do it at home. In the same way that they would reprimand staff who made a mess in the workspace.

  • 8
    Aye. Post signs up. Even in a Western based FTSE 100 company, we still have to educate people what bins are for and that cleaners don't wash the cubicles immediately after they've left it. – Snow Sep 25 '17 at 11:37
  • 1
    in 2012 Swansea University was highlighted in the press for putting up signs giving instructions for the use of toilets bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-16983788 - interestingly they seem to be in English only rather than bi-lingual English/Welsh – uɐɪ Sep 25 '17 at 13:51
  • I love the one from Google's office: searchengineland.com/figz/wp-content/seloads/2013/02/… – usr1234567 Sep 25 '17 at 14:32
  • 1
    @Rich nor will they pay attention to training etc,. some do it on purpose. You don't need to train adults how to wash their hands – Kilisi Sep 25 '17 at 20:01
  • 1
    "Nobody pissed on means nobody pissed off" :) – rackandboneman Sep 26 '17 at 10:35
2

Would it be too in-your-face or insulting if a small training session was conducted about this where everyone is invited?

No, it would not be too in your face, it everyone is required to attend. Regardless of who you are, and what your position is, it is not unreasonable to expect when the time comes for the lavatory to be in a clean state.

Is there a better way to proceed with this?

Besides mandatory training for all, I am not sure what else can be done. Signs I think will be ignored for the most part, once the novelty wears off.

This article contains an email that was sent to everyone in the office. I am not sure how well this will be received, as personalities differ, but I thought it may be of use to you. From the article:

Cleaning Up Treat the public restroom even better than the one at your home. In a public restroom, flushing every time is considerate. If you make a mess, use every effort to clean it up. The restroom should be left in as good as or better condition after your use than it was before you entered. Always wash your hands with soap after conducting your business.

Entire article: software firm office wide bathroom etiquette email

  • In this company they are planning to have a small powerpoint presentation meeting with all employees about the matter. – Nav Sep 25 '17 at 11:40
  • @Nav Take a look at the article. The approach to the subject is spot on IMHO. Sad that this has to happen, but if necessary, the article is a good resource for the presentation. – Mister Positive Sep 25 '17 at 11:41

protected by Monica Cellio Sep 25 '17 at 21:04

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.