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How to handle workplace personal hygiene issues

Personal hygiene should be practiced by everyone at work. It’s a professional, courteous, and often necessary element of your job. Employees with poor personal hygiene, on the other hand, may make others’ working conditions uncomfortable.

Employees should be aware of your dress code and grooming regulations from the first day of work. If an employee’s poor personal hygiene becomes a problem, you must address it.

Workplace personal hygiene can have a detrimental impact on a team, an office, or even a whole company. As a result, you must treat it with seriousness.

What role does personal hygiene have at work?

Personal hygiene in the workplace may have an impact on another employee’s quality of life. This includes issues such as a stinky workplace or growing ill.

Personal hygiene concerns include the following:

  • Body odour;

  • Unclean apparel;

  • Bad breath;

  • Persistent coughing;

  • Flatulence;

  • Overuse of deodorant, perfume, or cologne.

Some employees may be fully oblivious to their poor workplace personal hygiene. This is why having a personal hygiene policy in place at work is smart business.

It’s difficult to grasp how dangerous poor workplace personal hygiene may be to coworkers. Many people feel that poor personal hygiene at work reduces personal productivity.

Personal hygiene concerns can make working conditions unpleasant. Issues such as chronic coughing or overwhelming odors can impair concentration.

A chronic cough, for example, could be the result of a person working while sick. This is a medical issue that you should address. Now is the time to consider how to address personal health and hygiene issues at work.

The keys to coping with personal hygiene issues in the workplace

Personal hygiene guidelines are a good technique for preventing poor workplace hygiene.

Because of the COVID pandemic, workplace personal hygiene is more important than ever. In the workplace, handwashing and sanitization are crucial.

Established policies will equip employees with a common understanding of the cleanliness standards that must be met.

Understanding how to apply a workplace dress code helps with the formulation of personal hygiene requirements. Read our guide to learn more about workplace dress codes.

It is vital to maintain personal cleanliness when interacting with coworkers. The following are important ‘risk locations’ to clean on a regular basis:

  • Toilet paper dispensers, cubicle handles, and flush buttons/handles

  • Common locations include kitchens, cafeterias, and passageways.

  • Workstations, sign-in clipboards, pens, and door handles are available at the reception and entrance sections.

  • In lifts and stairwells, handrails and buttons are available.

  • Meeting rooms and desks: keyboards, computers, and monitors.

Desks are an extension of an employee’s personal hygiene, which might affect others. Cluttered workstations can be equally annoying to other team members as body odor and persistent coughing.

Coworkers may complain about issues such as cluttered desks. This is an excellent issue to bring up when discussing personal cleanliness, as well as an example of poor personal hygiene at work.

Make no distinctions while dealing with personal hygiene issues at work.

Any individual who is unable to achieve the prescribed requirements should be accommodated under personal hygiene policies. These policies should not discriminate against any protected characteristics in order to avoid employment tribunals.

When considering disciplinary action for inadequate personal hygiene on the part of an employee, keep the following in mind:

  • Is this due to religious convictions or cultural differences?

  • Is a lack of hygiene due to a physical condition, emotional stress, or disability?

  • Is the employee experiencing financial difficulties, making it more difficult to remedy poor personal hygiene?

Employee rights should be aligned with personal hygiene norms. The Equality Act of 2010 outlines these rights in great detail.

How to handle workplace personal hygiene issues

Only two parties should be involved when it comes to poor personal hygiene at work. Employees and HR managers with poor personal hygiene fall under this category.

Approaching the employee in a respectful and professional manner is the best method to deal with personal hygiene issues at work. Handle it quietly by arranging a meeting with the employee.

Make sure you have all of the facts before meeting with the employee. Instead of relying on hearsay, gather your knowledge personally. If at all possible, directly address the issue, such as disheveled clothing.

Make contact with the employee and arrange a meeting. Attempt to address a problem as soon as possible. You can avoid more conflicts with other employees and keep them from being the focus of rumors this way.

Positive feedback and compliments on the job keep the employee from feeling abused.

Maintain a professional demeanor and refrain from exceeding your authority. Avoid blaming, giving unsolicited advice, or attempting to diagnose the employee. Address the employee’s poor hygiene and give them a chance to speak for themselves.

Maintain a supportive tone and approach if they become upset or defensive. Return the discussion to a positive tone so that it can continue in a way that benefits both parties.

After discussing the employee’s poor hygiene, schedule a follow-up meeting. Communicate your expectations and talk about the employee’s future steps. Create a timetable for progress.