Every society has rules. Every society needs rules. It’s clear that cities and governments must impose rules in order to keep us from devolving into a culture similar to Lord of the Flies. We also need rules in the workplace. There are rules for what you can and cannot expense while on a business trip. There are rules for discussing confidential information. There are rules for trading stocks. Ultimately, there are rules, both written and unwritten for pretty much every role in a a company.
Yet no matter how prepared people, governments and companies are, you can never cover ever situation with rules. And, in most cases I’d say that’s a good thing. To many rules and regulations and you stymie progress and growth.
While I’m not in favor of excessive rule creation, there is one area of behavior that must have a set of rules in corporate society – Rules Of The Office Bathroom.
I’ve witnessed so many bathroom behaviors over the years, some of which still give me nightmares today (yes George congrats you are the root of many of these). Over and over I keep seeing these blatant examples of rude, disgusting and sometimes disturbing behavior. Once again, I’m convinced my coworkers didn’t have a mom. So, I felt it was high time to formalize a set of rules outlining what is not acceptable bathroom behavior. So, without further ado, I bring you:
CV’s Rules Of The Office Bathroom
- Let’s start with the entry into the facility. Gentleman, if there are more than 2 urinals, and someone is already using one, you pick the farthest open one available – Period. You do NOT choose the one right next to a guy doing his thing. Note, this rule doesn’t apply if there are only 2 urinals. If so, get in and get out without talking. In most rooms for the male, however, there are at least 3 (FYI that’s because we males design these rooms). If your only choice is one next to another guy, you choose the one closest to the guy who you believe will be done soonest in order to minimize time next to each other. When you need to go and there are multiple urinals, there are many combinations and permutations to calculate. So, make it simple and have a buffer. I call this the “Mind The Gap” rule. If you need help, may I suggest you hone your skills here. God, love the interwebs.
- The handicap stall is prime real estate, it’s larger, and has the bathroom equivalent of a bar stool…the more comfortable, higher toilet. Those bars on the walls make for great magazine holders too. But, be respectful and don’t take all day. You do not need to stay in there longer than most meetings last. And, if you do NEED to stay in there, I suggest seeing a doctor immediately as you clearly have something wrong.
- Speaking of meetings, the bathroom is NEVER a place to conduct one. Look there are very few things that should be done in the bathroom. Defining the corporate strategy is not one of them. Beyond small pleasantries, you should not have a conversation in the bathroom.
- Despite that last sentence you should avoid having even small pleasantries in the bathroom. Generally, people who ask, “how are you?” don’t really want the answer anyway. So, don’t ask and definitely don’t ask in the bathroom.
- Despite the fact that my father often said, “If you need me I’ll be in my other office”, this is NOT your office. Do not bring your laptop into the stall with you. It’s disgusting. Yes, I know almost everyone brings their smart phone to the stall with them, but a laptop is altogether different. As I’ve said, I don’t want to talk with you in here, and I really don’t want to get my next urgent email from a guy who thought of it while on the throne.
- Courtesy flush. ‘Nuff said.
- Wash people. And, no swiping your hands under the stream of cold water fast enough that it will break the sound barrier does not count for washing the hands. Soap, lather, rinse, dry. And, yes you should use a towel to turn off the water if it’s not automatic. And, you should use a towel to open the door. It may not be ecologically correct, but bathroom germs are gross.
- Related – don’t brush your teeth in the company bathroom. At home, it’s acceptable and common behavior. But, given how many people I’ve seen who touch the fixtures and the amount of splashing on the counter…ugh it sends shivers up my spine.
- Speaking of splashing. I’m a guy and have been around corporate environments (and by default their bathrooms) for more than 2 decades. Yet one thing I still can’t understand is – How the hell do so many of my male coworkers miss the target? Is your hand-eye coordination so bad you can’t hit a urinal a few inches away? What are you dancing while pissing? In an old Seinfeld episode Jerry is compelled to throw away his belt because it brushed against the urinal. Me, I feel like I need to burn my shoes daily as the floor has more piss on it than the dog run in my backyard.
- Never ever, ever drink out of the bathroom sink. Who are you people? Are you that lazy and/or dehydrated that you can’t hit the water cooler a mere 20 feet from the bathroom?
- Taking a call on your cellphone or bluetooth headset while taking a leak? Stop it! And, if you decide that your business call is more important than a call from nature I hope that the mic on your phone is so good that it picks up your coworker’s regret for having had the roach coach daily double special for lunch.
- Do not touch me. There is not to be any physical contact in the bathroom. No hand shakes, no slaps on the back, no pats on the ass (yes this has happened and unfortunately company benefits do not cover therapy for related issues).
These rules are obviously taken from the male perspective. I have no idea (nor do I want one) of what goes on in the ladies room. This despite the fact that both room’s doors are right next to each other and I’ve experienced many awkward, unavoidable glances into the ladies lair. Having said that, I do have one question, why do you have a sofa in there? I mean, the bathroom is the last place I’d like to lay down and take a nap.
Help me make the office a better place. What rules do you have in place for when nature calls?
It’s not often I update a post that after the post has gone out (ok never) but this one warrants an update.
As I strolled into the men’s room this a.m. at the office, a colleague was in there already. Fortunately, he had chosen the proper urinal – far right against wall leaving me the opportunity for maximum buffer.
+1 for colleague.
And. Then. It. Happened.
Colleague (with a chuckle): “Hi CV, come in here often?”
-8 Bazillion 2
Folks, you can’t make this shit up.