It sucks dealing with gross co-workers, especially during cold and flu season. (Mine have been generous enough to have already gifted me with an awesome bronchial infection. Thanks guys!) We all know we’re supposed to wash our hands after we pee, not pick our noses, not suck our thumbs then use company computers—but that doesn’t mean everyone actually buys into and follows those guidelines, no matter how remedial they are. Here’s how to deal when a co-worker really grosses you out.
Make it about you, not about them.
I used to sit across from a weirdo who would clip his nails in open office space, and they’d occasionally go flying in my direction. Nice, right? But instead of being like, “Hey creep, you need to cut that out,” I told him, “Hey, I’m really weird about nail stuff and it always distracts me for some reason because it’s a pet peeve of mine—do you mind clipping your nails in the men’s room?” And it was fine.
Don’t leave notes or signs in the bathroom to get people to wash their hands.
They still won’t.
Talk to your boss about it.
Your boss probably doesn’t want to deal with this kind of thing, but that’s still your boss’s job. That’s why your boss makes more money than you do. Let her earn it.
Invest in hand sanitizer. Use it often.
If you can’t make other people less gross, you can at least get as many of their germs off of you as possible. Good luck and Godspeed.