Employees aren't given a handbook or presented with guidelines for using the office bathroom because it's assumed that people know how to use the facilities properly. Unfortunately, there usually are certain people in the office who fail to treat public restrooms as nicely as they do their bathrooms at home. You can do your part to keep the workplace bathroom in a more pleasant state by observing certain rules.
Make It Quick
Workplace bathrooms range in size from company to company, but chances are the facilities aren't palatial. The number of stalls and sinks is likely determined as the number needed to best accommodate the amount of workers on that particular floor. When bathrooms get crowded, it's best to get in and out quickly. Don't dawdle by the sink area socializing and don't hide in a stall to avoid seeing the boss.
Keep the Area Clean
You don't have to take on janitorial duties, but by making sure you keep the bathroom as clean as possible, you can inspire those around you to follow suit. Make sure the toilet seat is clean and dry after you flush. Ladies, wrap up sanitary napkins and dispose of them in the garbage or special bins in the stalls. Pick up after yourself if you drop toilet paper, tissues or paper towels on the floor. If you drip soap or water around the sink or onto the floor, wipe it up -- this is especially important on the floor, where it becomes a slipping hazard.
Just because you didn't clog a toilet, crack a seat or cause a faucet to drip doesn't mean you should ignore these and other problems, assuming someone else will notify the maintenance department. Take it upon yourself to contact the maintenance staff so the repairs can be made in short order, particularly if a hazardous situation exists. In the meantime, if necessary, hang a sign on the door of the stall or the restroom itself warning others of the problem.
The consideration you show to your co-workers around the office must extend into the bathroom area, as well. Knock on stall doors or give a quick peek for feet instead of assuming a stall is free and barging in. Don't talk loudly or gossip in this enclosed, echoing space; it's unprofessional and annoying. Last, but not least -- wait your turn; no one likes a line-cutter.
Jennifer Pinto has been an editor and reporter since 1999, working with newspapers in the Midwest and on the East Coast. She serves as a contributor for several print and online publications, covering business, real estate, religion, home improvement and interior design. Pinto earned her B.A. in English and psychology at Northern Illinois University.