Q & A with Jane: How to Address Hygiene Issues in the Workplace

Hi Jane,

I work in the kind of workplace where people are busy minding their own business and hardly interact with each other. This kind of atmosphere is quite convenient for me as I’m an introvert and avoid social interactions whenever possible. Due to this, I hardly have any friends around especially those belonging to the female gender. But our office has a common bathroom which is used by male as well as female employees. Lately, I have been noticing that the washroom is unhygienic which disgusts me. I’m not a cleanliness freak but I would appreciate basic hygiene etiquette. The lack of this is bothering me for the past two weeks, and I don’t know what to do about it as I’m not comfortable talking about it to anyone.

Whenever I go to use the washroom in the middle of the day, I notice numerous strands of hair lying all over the floor. Not only this, but certain times I have noticed bodily fluids on the commode which is absolutely unacceptable. This makes me feel nauseated. I know these are issues related to the personal hygiene of an individual but they are adversely affecting me. I’m unable to understand how I should address these unpleasant incidents as they are embarrassing to talk about and I don’t want to offend anyone. Please give me appropriate suggestions.

Q & A with Jane_04

It is important to realize that personal hygiene is important in the workplace.


Even though hygiene issues are considered to be hush-hush topics in a workplace, it is important to address them in order to avoid the inconvenience caused to other employees. I understand that you don’t have cordial relations with the people around you and hence you are conscious about bringing up such an issue. It will be better if you don’t address this issue yourself. Personal hygiene is a sensitive topic which should be dealt with in a tactful and respectable manner. Pointing fingers and accusing someone of being messy might make them feel humiliated and offended. Therefore the best way to tackle it is to personally report it to your HR manager. Make sure that whenever you tell the manager about this problem, don’t name anyone even if you suspect who does it. This will portray a negative impression of you.

The next time you notice any of the above-mentioned malpractices, go and talk about it to your manager. Tell him that you noticed an unhygienic bathroom which bothers as well as disgusts you. Do mention that you have been observing this for a while now, but you didn’t bring this up as you thought it was a one-time issue. But due to its repetition, you had to report it to him. I’m sure he will address the issue in such a generic way that nobody will feel offended. Also, everyone will become aware about maintaining cleanliness in the washroom as well as the entire office. I have a personal piece of advice. Try to develop friendly relations with the people around you. It will make your professional life a pleasant one.

Q&A with Jane: The brutal and straightforward answers to HR-related queries and concerns. Send in your queries with the subject line ‘Ask JANE HARPER’ at

Jane Harper
Writer. Human resources expert and consultant. Follow @thehrdigest on Twitter

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