I've noticed something in the places I've worked - a little device I'm going to start using in determining whether or not my place of employment is a good environment for me to be in or not. Yes, I'm talking about how often people wash their hands after using the restroom.
My last workplace was the pits. I hated it and so did a lot of other people I spoke to who worked there. In my small circle of work-place "friends", we all felt constantly bedraggled by poor management, unrealistic expectations, and lousy employee morale.
In the time I was there, I noticed an exceptional number of grown-ass adults zipping up and walking out, maybe pausing by the mirror to stare forlornly at their own sad, rumbled reflection or stick a digit or two up their nostrils.
It always made me a bit uncomfortable, especially the audacity with which it occurred. They didn't seem to care if I was standing there diligently lathering up my hands in an attempt to wash more than just the splash-back off. The just shuffled out, leaving a trail of jumping, happy germs in their wake.
Now I'm working for a completely different kind of company. It's a company that seems to bend over backwards to keep their employees content (even though it sometimes seems like a chore they have to maintain to keep up their stellar reputation - don't tell them I told you that).
The expectations are fair. People are listened to. People are always given credit for their contributions. There's a general positivity that flows through meetings and emails.
So much so, that I often feel embarrassed by my contrastingly careless scrubbery. It is indeed an office of people you wouldn't hesitate to shake hands with, although I can't necessarily speak for the women. God only knows what they're up to in their restroom.
It occurs to me that perhaps this attention to cleanliness isn't simply a product of the people's habits (they might intentionally pee all over themselves at home - who am I to know / judge?), but instead a reflection of the respect that oozes from the walls in this place.
Before, no one wanted to be at work. It sucked. It was unrewarding. You felt isolated and disrespected every hour of every day. Why should you worry about keeping it clean and tidy? Why should you care if your soiled fingers leave traces of your unique "mark" all over the office? You hate that place anyways.
Take a short reconnaissance mission to your nearest restroom. Pick an empty stall, hold your nose, and peek through that tiny crack in the door. If you notice full-grown adults skipping the hand-washing altogether, it might be time to start brushing up on that resume.