(Unsplash, HelpStay.com Team)
(Unsplash, Gabor Monori)

South Africans tend to have good office etiquette, but there is always room for improvement, says Riandi Conradie, founder of the South African Etiquette Academy.

“While many of the aspects of business have moved to the online sphere, real-life interaction prevails as an enduring part of this industry,” Conradie told Business Insider South Africa.

Courtenay Kleu, CEO of The School of Etiquette, says South Africans tend to take a casual approach to office etiquette in general. 

“A defined office etiquette creates a common culture which assists everyone in creating a fluid and happy working environment.”

Kleu and Conradie gave Business Insider South Africa a list of nine office bathroom behaviours South Africans can improve on.

Speak up when the roll runs out.

A woman stocks up the bathroom with toilet paper

Conradie says when someone depletes the toilet paper, it is important to notify maintenance and cleaning staff.

“This is simply courtesy.”

Leave your pimples alone.

“Squeezing pimples in the office bathroom is pretty disgusting,” Kleu says.

“Do not get caught hanging over the basin squeezing.”

Clean up where things get dirty.

(Unsplash, Gabor Monori)
(Unsplash, Gabor Monori)

Employees should clean a toilet bowl themselves if it's not clean, Kleu says.

“We often are sure to clean up and look after our own homes but when its office property we seem to think its okay to leave it in disarray.” 

She says it isn’t someone else’s responsibility to clean up your mess.

“People are always in and out of the bathrooms and are aware of whose leaving it in a state.”

Don’t use the word “toilet”.

Toilet. (File)

Call it the restroom or lavatory, Conradie says.

“Never use the word toilet.”

Always – always – dry your hands.

“No matter how many times you might mention it’s just water, they won’t necessarily believe you,” Conradie says.

Instead, make sure your hands are dry before you leave.

“You never know who’s hand you have to shake when you enter the office again.”

Keep mirrors clean.

(Pexels, bruce mars)

People tend to flick water on to the mirror while drying their hands, Kleu says.

“Rather flick your hands into the basin or use the paper towels at hand.”

She says this is such an easy fix and shows respect for the person cleaning the bathrooms.

Stop making phone calls.

Portrait anxious scared girl looking at phone seei

It is unprofessional to make phone calls in the bathroom, Conradie says.

“You don’t know who might be listening.”

Always – always – knock.


Nothing is more mortifying than opening a bathroom door while someone is in the bathroom, Conradie says.

“Even if the door is half open, still knock before entering.”

Never announce a bathroom visit.

You should never announce that you are going to the office bathroom, Conradie says.

“It’s not necessary.”

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