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Personal hygiene at work: How to approach an employee

When it comes to personal cleanliness at work, how do you approach a colleague about their body odor?

As an employer, you may find yourself in a variety of embarrassing circumstances, but few are more awkward than approaching an employee who has body odor. While an employee’s body odor could be related to personal hygiene difficulties, it’s crucial not to assume this. Other things could be causing or contributing to the problem.

You clearly don’t want to insult or shame the person, but body odor can make the office environment unpleasant. If your colleague works in a customer-facing position, it may reflect poorly on your company.

You may be tempted to put off dealing with the situation as long as possible, but it’s critical that you do so as soon as possible for the sake of the entire team.

The following are the most crucial things to remember:

  • Be sensitive in your approach to the situation.

  • Ensure that the matter is kept private between you and your employee.

  • Body odor isn’t always caused by a lack of personal cleanliness.

 

What are the benefits of addressing body odor in the workplace?

Employees with body odor are more likely to make the working atmosphere unpleasant for the rest of the team, which can lead to a decrease in motivation and productivity.

 

Symptoms of something else

Body odor could be a sign of a medical condition, a disability, or personal issues, all of which the employer should be aware of and address.

 

Taking care of personal hygiene at work

A firm is unlikely to have a specific personal hygiene policy that pertains to body odor. However, you might want to incorporate written personal appearance requirements into your contract or into a dress code policy.

You can then use these to penalize an employee who is not meeting the anticipated standards in terms of how they present themselves.

Food firms will, of course, have food safety measures in place, which will include personal hygiene standards.

Body odor can be caused by a variety of factors, so it’s critical not to jump to conclusions.

The following are examples of possible causes:

  • At home, there are no personal washing facilities.

  • absence of clothing washing and drying facilities

  • Sweating can be caused by your commute to work, your work environment, and your work tasks.

  • Despite all efforts to maintain hygiene, health issues might create body odor.

  • Lack of attention to personal appearance may be linked to poor mental health.