How To Go To The Bathroom In The Office

Many people work in an office or other workplaces where we have to share a bathroom with other people, and most people are usually potty-trained by the time we begin our careers. However, if you share an office bathroom with enough people, you’ll know that the question “how to go to the bathroom” is not as trivial as it seems.  Judging by the behavior of some of our coworkers, many of us don’t use the bathroom correctly.  Here are a few hints on how to go to the bathroom in the office properly.

Just because it says "rest" room, it doesn't mean you have to stop working.

Just because it says “rest room”, it doesn’t mean you have to stop working.

Use the time you spend in the bathroom stall to call in to a meeting or make a personal phone call.  You have more privacy there, because the walls of the stall are higher than the walls of your cubicle.  Always pick a bathroom for its cell phone reception because the rest of the stuff there is pretty standard.

Do not flush. Flushing wastes water, and you know how your company is committed to slashing costs. Also, a flushing noise can disturb your colleagues in the nearby stalls who might be in a meeting.

If you need to use the stall, don’t automatically assume that a closed door means that the stall is occupied. Shake the door a little bit. If the door doesn’t open, it still doesn’t mean it’s locked from inside – the door could just be stuck. Look under it. You may see the shoes on the floor, but once again, don’t make any assumptions, because someone could have just left their shoes there. Instead, jump up a few times until you can glance over the door and decisively verify that the stall is occupied.

If you are the one inside, the only way to prevent people from jumping over stall the door to look at you, is to call in to the meeting from inside the stall.

If you work in a place where the stalls are always occupied (for example, where Arby’s is the only lunch place within driving distance), and you are sure that your co-workers will never read this post, you can always designate your own personal stall by tightening the door and leaving a pair of old shoes on the floor.

Remember, when the money’s tight, the workplace bathroom is the place where you can stock up on some free toilet paper.

How to go to the ladies room. Do not go into the ladies room if you’re a guy. This may seem obvious, but in some offices this advice can be really tough to follow with the company’s tendency for constantly moving the bathrooms and for using really gender-neutral signs on the bathroom doors.

This is how the men's and women's bathroom door signs look at the office that requires all employees to wear business suits.

These are the signs on the men’s and ladies’ bathroom doors from the office that requires all employees to wear business attire. Men’s restroom is on the left – you can tell because there are urinals inside.

Unlike the ladies’ room, the men’s room has a designated area for having brief in-person business meetings.  Just head to the nearest urinal and wait for the person you need to talk to.  Scientific studies have shown that people are more likely to be honest with you when their pants are down.

To maintain professional appearance, do not go to the bathroom empty-handed. Print out an article from the internet (this post is a good choice) to read and carry it with you to the bathroom in a neat stack or a folder. Also, waiting to go to the bathroom until the last minute will give your face an extremely concerned and professional look, and add the sense of purpose to your walk.

If your office doesn’t care about professional appearances, bringing printed reading materials is still a good idea. You think you can just read anything from your smartphone, but let’s see how useful your iPhone will be when you belatedly find out that somebody just used your stall to stock up on the toilet paper.

And finally, don’t forget to thoroughly wash your hands. That way, you can delay going back to the routine of your work.

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31 thoughts on “How To Go To The Bathroom In The Office

  1. Reblogged this on The Blurred Line and commented:
    Toilet étiquette is always a touch and go subject. This blog sums up workplace loo issues. Sadly it misses out the one where you can leave an irritating sign on the door reminding your colleagues to treat the office loo as if it were their home one. Very bad idea.

    • Thank you for the re-blog! Actually, the omission was intentional: there is no way I am telling my co-workers to treat their work bathroom as they would treat their bathroom at home. I’ve seen a couple of private bathrooms compared to which average truck stop restroom looks spotless.

      • I know! Every time I read one of those signs written by the type of woman who makes me see red (these never appear in men’s rooms, although I haven’t actually checked).

      • I haven’t seen them either. That makes me think that every man who uses this shared bathroom knows that their own bathroom is much dirtier than the shared one.

  2. iPhones do have their limits. Thank you for pointing that out. Paper will never be dead. Except that it is, because it used to be a tree. But whatever. I think I’m late for a meeting. I had a lot of coffee this morning, you know.

    • I’m just glad that Apple doesn’t make toilet paper yet – if they did, we’d have to replace all our toilet paper stash once they release a new version (iPaper 2: now available in white)

  3. Excellent post, but I read an online article whilst sitting with pressing issues in the bathroom about the amount of germs on a mobile device taken into bathrooms. yes I know it was a trap which I fell for wholeheartedly, but now I cannot take the damn thing with me anymore….I’m ruined.

  4. This is hilarious!! I peed reading it which means I DO NOT need to take it with me to the bathroom! Cool!! Took care of that whole…”having to stop to go to the bathroom” problem that we deal with in America! I’m thinking….Fuck it…nobody has the time to pee anymore, so why hasn’t someone created the toilet in a chair office chair. Then nobody ever has too leave their desk. They can do their business right there, and no one even has to know. Of course if a person had some burritos the night before, and wasn’t doing to well in the rotten stomach department, people might know….Just make sure you stock up on extra candles, and some Febreeze. I am a GENIUS!!! Right????

  5. Very funny! Especially the gender neutral signage… you should do one on toilet etiquette internationally, when you have no way of reading the words for ladies & gentlemen (or the strange signs – I was once wondering if I was a circle or a triangle).

  6. “Also, waiting to go to the bathroom until the last minute will give your face an extremely concerned and professional look, and add the sense of purpose to your walk.” ~lmao It’s usually those co-workers who tell you they’ll be back and rush out of the office and you’re never to see them again until the end of the day. lol

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