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Let’s Discuss Bathroom Etiquette Now That We’re Returning to the Office

a sign in the restroom at an EY office advising staff to flush the toilet

Perhaps this post is long overdue and should have been written at least two years ago when the professional workforce began returning to the office post-pandemic but better late than never eh? Take notes, slobs.

Over the years, we have covered various incidents of college-educated professionals behaving as though they were raised in a barn when utilizing the office restroom. In one such case, one EY office was so plagued with restroom problems an employee felt compelled to produce the guide pictured below and stuck it to the lunchroom wall. The note remained there for exactly 22 minutes until the OMP swung by to see to its removal. Guess we know who the biggest offender was.

A guide to using the restroom at a professional services firm

Cameras in the client’s restroom? There’s got to be a story there. We don’t have a peeping clients story but we do have a story about an accounting professor recording students who came to his house to party taking a piss that will have you checking tissue boxes in bathrooms from now on.

At another office, EY had to spend money on stickers reminding the “if it’s mellow, let it yellow” crowd to flush.

We can’t help but wonder if this pervasive issue is part of the reason why they moved away from the “Quality In Everything We Do” tagline when they rebranded, clearly employees of the firm were struggling with the “everything” part.

And somewhere in another EY office, one exasperated public accountant urged colleagues to keep business out of the restroom. The other business, that is.

Also, keep business out of the restroom, even if a colleague wishes to talk business suggest that the conversation be moved elsewhere.  No-one wants to talk about the “unhh, grunt, grunt..” unpaid invoice from inside a stall.

These incidents happened years ago, long before professionals were spending entire weeks working from home and pissing all over their own toilet seats. You can still do that…at home. But let’s remember some basic bathroom manners apply when you’re sharing the space with others that may have been forgotten because we were working from home.

a very passive aggressive bathroom sign on r/passiveaggressive

Here are just a few rules users of office restrooms should keep in mind when hitting the head.

Flush

Look, I get it, I lived in California for a long time. In a communal restroom situation, you are expected to flush it down every time regardless of what “it” is. Unless “it” is wet wipes or feminine hygiene products in which case there’s usually a handy receptacle called a trash can. Flushing wipes — and yes, even the ones that claim to be flushable — is a no-no and can lead to something horrifying called a fatberg that lurks in the sewers and screws up our fancy modern day wastewater systems.

From Wikipedia:

A fatberg is a rock-like mass of waste matter in a sewer system formed by the combination of flushed non-biodegradable solids, such as wet wipes, and fat, oil, and grease (FOG) deposits. The handling of FOG waste and the buildup of its deposits are a long-standing problem in waste management, with “fatberg” a more recent neologism. Fatbergs have formed in sewers worldwide, with the rise in usage of disposable (so-called “flushable”) cloths. Several prominent examples were discovered in the 2010s in Great Britain, their formation accelerated by aging Victorian sewers. Fatbergs are costly to remove, and they have given rise to public awareness campaigns about flushable waste.

Oh my God, Wikipedia has a “notable fatbergs” section.

12 September 2018: Workers in Macomb County, Michigan, US discovered a fatberg 100 feet long, 11 feet wide and as much as 6 feet tall. The Michigan Science Center launched a ‘fatberg’ exhibit in December 2018, which included real pieces from the mass found in September.

First In First Out

Unless your bowels are erupting at that very moment, don’t barge your way into a stall if someone is waiting ahead of you. Give the person exiting the stall plenty of space to finish their business and wander over to the sink to (hopefully) wash their hands.

It goes without saying, if you stand too close to the stall the user will automatically assume you’re peering through the unfortunate gap. Don’t do this. Unless you’re purposely peering through the unfortunate gap in which case, seek help weirdo.

Avoid Eye Contact

This one is mostly for the guys. Eyes up, gentlemen. The last thing you need is an eyeful of the top performer at your office.

Wash Your Hands

Do you all remember how at the beginning of 2020 the Centers For Disease Control actually had to produce an excess of content explaining to grown adults in the first world that you’re supposed to wash your hands?

For anyone who may have missed those copious PSAs, here’s a refresher. Remember: use soap!

Keep the Crying to a Minimum

Remember there are other people waiting to cry in the bathroom.

Clean Up After Yourself

Just because someone gets paid to clean up after you doesn’t mean you can’t clean up after yourself, too. Don’t leave a trail of toilet paper pieces scattered all over the floor or unravel the entire roll of TP like a cat high off his ass on nip.

With these few things in mind and the right attitude, we can all work together to make the office restroom a less disgusting place. Maybe. Hopefully.

2 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss Bathroom Etiquette Now That We’re Returning to the Office

  1. Just want to add another layer of etiquette – when you are taking a dump in a public restroom, such as the office restroom, there is a simple way to not stink up the restroom. Flush when each turd hits the water – you may need to flush 2 or 3 times, but buy flushing as soon as each turd hits the water you’re eliminating the chance of smelling up the entire restroom. This is good for everyone.

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