When you share the same working space with a smelly coworker, it makes you want to cry for help.
You know how important it is to come to work fresh and clean but you can't understand why the smelly employee doesn’t bother about that?
It’s simply not fair.
It’s not fair because you are put in the situation to gag, have your eyes watering or move strategically through the office, trying to avoid meeting the smelly employee.
Both of you have equal rights to work in a comfortable and hygienic working space but he doesn't bother about that. That's why it's not fair.
You need a solution.
This forces you to look out for a way to stop this personal hygiene nightmare at work.
And you wonder.
Should you have a conversation with your coworker about his hygiene issue or should you complain to your HR manager about this?
But first, let's understand how important personal hygiene in the workplace is.
- Why is it important to maintain good personal hygiene at work
- The negative effect of toxic employees over your job satisfaction
- The link between employee health and hygiene at work
- Hygiene issues coworkers don’t tolerate
- How to approach an employee about his personal hygiene issues
- Workplace hygiene policy
1. Why is it important to maintain good personal hygiene at work?
I, personally, don’t know of anyone who has ever dreamed of working in a dusty office among smelly colleagues.
According to the Frederick Herzberg's two factor theory, from an employer aspect, maintaining good personal hygiene in the workplace speaks a lot about the employee's level of dissatisfaction or satisfaction.
If you feel comfortable in the company why would you want to change your workplace?
On the other hand, unhygienic coworkers, who spread germs and microbes, and dirty bathrooms, kitchens and floors may increase your dissatisfaction at the workplace.
In the end, you spend almost 1920 hours during an entire year at work.
That’s quite a lot of hours. Enough to put your health at risk if you are constantly affected by the unhygienic coworkers or offices.
2. The negative effect of toxic employees over your job satisfaction
Employees who don’t bother to think that their behavior is disturbing other coworkers, I call them toxic coworkers.
They don’t bother to think that their bad breath is repulsive to you.
They don’t bother to take a shower before work or changing the two-week used shirt. As a result, their body's toxic smell forces you to close your nose.
They don’t bother to wash their hands after eating or using the toilet.
The behavior of these toxic employees increases your dissatisfaction at work.
A work space is a place where the entire team, during the working day, acts like a family.
You don’t bother your coworker and he is not bothering you.
Removing the effects of poor personal hygiene in the workplace is crucial. Especially in agglomerated offices.
3. The link between employee health and hygiene at work
If all employees follow a good personal hygiene routine and office cleanliness etiquette lowers the risk level of you getting a disease, which maintains you safer and healthier.
On the other side, if the shared bathroom is dirty and smelly, the kitchen gathered a mountain of unwashed dishes or the floor is dusty, then such an environment is unsafe for your health.
It promotes the spread of unhealthy germs and microbes through these unhygienic shared areas or contact with employees with poor personal hygiene, which may put your health at risk of contamination.
4. Hygiene issues coworkers don’t tolerate
Some types of personal hygiene issues and habits are impossible to tolerate at work.
Here is a short list of offensive odors in the workplace and habits that you should avoid doing in the office.
Now, that you know what causes complaint you can build your strategy on how to approach a coworker about his poor personal hygiene.
5. How to approach an employee about his personal hygiene issues
The worst part about encountering someone’s poor personal hygiene is when you don't know how to talk to an employee about body odor.
It’s a very sensitive topic.
Though, most employees are affected by a coworker’s poor personal hygiene only a few have the courage to speak directly with the employee about fixing his personal hygiene.
At the same, time you don’t want to be rude. Address this problem in a professional way.
In the end, decide whether you want to have this conversation with your colleague by yourself or better have your HR manager address the employee’s poor personal hygiene issue.
6. Workplace hygiene policy
The HR manager has the necessary tools to address the employee’s personal hygiene issue from a company’s standpoint.
If you are an HR manager, you can make this a company-wide issue. This means that every employee should respect the personal hygiene and appearance standards mentioned in the company policy during the entire employment period.
This gives room to the employee not take it personally but rather a necessity of the company.
Having a personal hygiene policy helps and HR manager address an employee with a personal hygiene issue in a professional manner.
Managing employee complaints about a coworker’s hygiene issues is not fun.
To make your life easier make personal hygiene and appearance a company rule.
Having everybody follow these guidelines removes the sources of employee complaints.
Find more information in this guide to personal hygiene.