Restroom etiquette? Whatever happened to “clean up after yourself”? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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Restroom etiquette? Whatever happened to “clean up after yourself”?

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Question: “I am an admin for a major corporation (group of 100 people, 75 % women). In addition, I am the facilities coordinator for two floors.  My problem is how to address the sensitive issue regarding the condition of the ladies’ room (and I have had complaints about the men's room, too).  I have tried to address the issue with notices (even those posted by the property management company) with no success.  I'm beginning to think it will never have an impact on the junior-high mentality! I would appreciate any advice.” — Jayne Pease


Ok... thats just gross... people who don't clean up after themselves... time to take them for a tour of the restroom... ask them if they live like that at home...
I get tired of cleaning up our breakroom and kitchen... told one of the ladies I work with if coffee cups continue to be left dirty in the sink, I would start throwing them in the trash... two cups are gone... no one asked where they are at... now other ladies are washing their dishes... hmmmm... their putz frau (German) for cleaning lady, is leaving in three weeks - time for them to learn to clean after themselves.

I am the Exec Admin to the GM and as such took on the Exec. kitchen. For over 3 years I cleaned and organized and even went so far as to successfully convince the powers to be to install a dishwasher. Guess what? We still have people who cannot follow simple instructions. We have the dishwasher and yet the sinks continue to fill up with dishes and cups. Some of the items would take first place in a science fair! The same goes for the refrigerator and the micorwave. All of this provided for the convenience of all. My solution: throw it away!!! I have a sign I post on the "throw away" days. I open the refrigerator and toss out everything but condiments (with limitations), coffee creamers and coffee. Sometimes I have tossed containers that I refuse to open - they have green, hairy stuff in them. As for the sink...same thing. I place my sigh on the countertop in front of the miscellaneous cups and glasses. If they are not removed by the end of the day, out they go. You would be surprised how effective it is.

1) Post a sign saying all personal items left overnight will be DISCARDED

2) Start a rumor that you have seen the cleaning people USING the personal items (toiletries, etc) that employees leave in the rest rooms. In our case, this was TRUE and people IMMEDIATELY stopped leaving their hairbrushes, toothpaste etc. out on the counter.

3) Provide lockable lockers for personal items - a little old-fashioned, but might ease the clutter

4) Post a schedule for rotational restroom cleanup duties

If you have the time you could have a sign out sheet for the bathroom and then you would be able to identify the promblem employees. Or put the bathroom duties on the staff on a rotating schedule. If they have to clean it I doubt they will make a mess. All that is alot of effort, and it may not even work. People are just digusting and will not change, it is awful.

change everyone's job description to having random one day bathroom cleanup duties. See how much things change...

We had this very conversation at our Administrative Professional's Day luncheon on Wednesday. We all agreed we are tired of being treated like maids! It is amazing how other office personnel feel as though the support staff is responsible for cleaning up after everyone. It has gotten so bad at our office that my Office Assistant and myself left dishes in the sink to see how long it would take for someone to place them in the dishwasher. took a week before someone stated we had no clean cups and what were WE going to do about it. I ended up doing the dishes, however, have since put a new policy in place that each associate must take a turn cleaning the kitchen. They definitely are NOT in favor of this. The first one on the list couldn't believe how disgusting our kitchen was. Thought the lipstick on the cups was really gross. They also couldn't believe just how messy the breakroom tables are left and how much stuff is thrown on the floor. Thank goodness we don't have to clean the bathrooms. I just don't use the one the majority of our office uses. I go up one floor to where it is less populated and use that one. It is always clean! I am amazed at the total PIGS I work with and I don't see things changing anytime soon. Good luck with your slobs!

Go to disposables and tell them to keep their cups etc AT THEIR DESKS. What you describe is just totally inequitable, demeaning and RIDICULOUS. You should not have to even be dealing with these dweebs.

Well, its seems no one is immune from an environment that is disgusting. It's as if no one was taught how to clean up. I quit cleaning up the bathroom and breakroom including the microwave and frig. I don't use them so I quit cleaning them. After about three weeks of not cleaning up after everyone the Director asked me why it was so messy and I told him why. The Director said it should have never been my place to clean up after everyone and his staff are adults and should act accordingly, he then assigned staff to clean up the bathroom and breakroom, what a difference that made. I use the restroom in a different part of the building. The less used restroom is kept clean and I do assist in keeping that one tidy.

Thanks God we have a daily cleaning person, but we did have to post signs asking everyone to not leave their dishes in the sink. The sign did make a difference.

Having the 'higher-ups' support a policy that everyone is responsible for the cleanliness of the office is an outstanding way to implement a 'cleaner policy'. That is how it is in my office and I've only had to remind people once that we have TWO dishwashers. We also have a company come and clean daily-I'm sure if we didn't have that it would be more difficult to keep a clean appearance.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

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Fixer February 4, 2009 at 5:16 pm

My office recently encountered the “cleaning bathrooms” issue. The following email message was sent to all staff members and seemed to get the message across in a positive way: “Please remember to observe proper measures and assure that unisex restroom facilities are left sanitary and gender-neutral after each use. Thanks very much for your cooperation.”


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