How to approach poor hygiene in the workplace

Tuesday July 19, 2022

Something you certainly wouldn’t have had to deal with when we were all working from home is now back in the office and causing a stink, one that you simply cannot ignore.

We’re talking about poor hygiene.

Poor hygiene can present in many different ways such as:

– Bad body odour

– Unclean behaviour in the kitchen or bathroom

– Improper sneezing or coughing technique

– Dirty clothing

Broaching the subject of poor hygiene with an employee is no doubt up there on your list of conversations you never want to have, but you need to push through the pain for everyone’s sake. Remember, poor hygiene can negatively affect the happiness and productivity of other employees and may even impact the health and safety of your workplace.

How to do it

When you approach the employee in question, do so subtly. Pull them aside into a private space and talk to them one-on-one.

When it comes to actually having the conversation, it’s all about how you frame it. Don’t skirt around the issue and don’t make a bigger deal out of it than you need to.

While its about getting to the core of the issue, you want to treat the person with compassion and try to minimise their embarrassment as much as possible. If the matter has been raised by their colleagues, keep this information to yourself. They needn’t know.

If you believe their poor hygiene is impacting workplace health and safety, let them know specifically how, some people may not even be aware of the issues being caused by poor hygiene. Set expectations and agree on the steps to be taken to improve hygiene. If a medical condition is revealed, ask how they plan to manage this.

No Improvement?

You’ve had the difficult conversation and there’s still no improvement. Now what? Call The HR Dept – we are always here to help!

Preventing People Problems

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