For millions of Americans, working from home has been synonymous with pooping from home. The initial stress of lockdowns caused rampant quarantine constipation before everyone settled into their routines. And now, over a year later, our workforce must brace for a transition back to the office grind.
It's all (probably) coming back: the inane chit-chat around the water cooler, your coworker Karen chiding you for making the microwave smell like leftover Chinese food, and most notably, shared bathrooms.
But the return to pre-pandemic pooping patterns is stirring up lots of controversy. One writer recently sounded the alarm on office pooping, going as far as saying, "office life as a whole is not conducive to good gastrointestinal health."
Make no mistake: having home-field advantage is great. But we don't believe an essential bodily function should be the source of so much stress. Whether you're the CEO or an intern, you're gonna have to drop a deuce in the company john at some point—so you might as well prepare for it.
But before we discuss your game plan for going number two, let's start with a thorough assessment of the corporate pooping landscape.
Pros of Pooping at the Office
If you thought excreting at work was uncivilized, think again.
It's Good for Your Gut
Holding in a day's worth of poop until you get home isn't just uncomfortable; it's bad for your bowels. Your poop can get lodged in your colon (that's called impaction), and you lose that desperate urge to go. You might think it's disappeared, but you're only getting constipated. When it comes time to evacuate next, it can be really hard to get that log out, causing some more time on the toilet and straining that you're used to.
Instead, go when your body tells you it's time—even if you're on the clock.
It's an Excuse to Stop Working
Pooping is a great occasion to get away from the desk and enjoy much-needed solitude. Assuming your boss isn't watching you like a hawk, take your time on the toilet. Peruse some memes, slide in someone's DMs, maybe even finish an episode of Game of Thrones ON the throne. Don't be shy about dropping a deuce on company time. You earned it.
Cons of Pooping at the Office
The disadvantages of office poops are enough to scare many people away, but some people just power through it for the sake of relieving their mid-morning coffee rumbles.
Lack of Privacy
If you're shy about your bowel movements, the office bathroom is obviously a troublesome environment. Between the stall doors that expose your shoes and the echo-ey walls that turn even the subtlest of farts into a thunderclap, it can be impossible to relax. One survey found that 60% of people won't even use a public restroom if they felt it wasn't private enough.
Swapping Butt Bacteria with Coworkers
It's probably not the first thought to cross your mind, but you're sitting on the same toilet seat where all your coworkers plop their sweaty, hairy cheeks--and you know it's not getting sanitized after every use.
You have two options if you're a germaphobe: sanitize the toilet seat or squat without making contact.
The 2 Types of Office Poopers
When it comes to office pooping, most working professionals fall into one of two camps:
Shameless Toilet Wreckers
These are the guys who treat the office commode like a frat house. Common characteristics include an utter disregard for personal space, audible grunting during bowel movements, and in some cases, bragging about how big of a dump they unloaded.
Don't expect this guy (or gal) to do a courtesy flush or spritz any Febreeze to mask the deathly stench. If you identify this beast at your office, avoid bathroom encounters at all costs.
People with Bathroom Anxiety
Bathroom anxiety is a documented medical phenomenon that affects untold numbers of potential poopers. Perhaps you suffer the irrational fear that your coworkers will judge you for *checks notes* pooping like every other human being on earth.
Nervous poopers have been known to orchestrate Fort Knox-level missions to bathrooms on different floors within their building, or maybe even a Starbucks across the street. Those on the extreme end of the spectrum might cower on the toilet seat, clutching their sphincter, unable to evacuate their bowels for fear of being exposed as "that guy who poops at work."
3 Tips to Optimize Your Office Pooping Experience
Before you pay your first visit to the corporate can, familiarize yourself with office bathroom etiquette:
1. Stay Ahead of the Stench
Before you drop a bomb on company time, drop a DUDE Bomb. These 2-in-1 toilet deodorizers create an indestructible barrier to neutralize stank in the air, leaving no trace of the crime. You can literally walk around like your s*** doesn't stink.
2. Avoid High Traffic Times
The start of the day and after lunch are generally the busiest times in the bathroom, so plan your trips accordingly. Scheduling firm YouCanBookMe says 2:30 p.m. is the best time of day to hold a meeting. If everyone is busy, there'll be nary a soul in the loo.
3. Be Efficient
If you have the privilege of a private bathroom, you can disregard this tip. However, if your office bathroom resembles an assembly line for bodily functions, you'll want to get in and out to minimize the chance of an awkward encounter. That means no texting or mindless scrolling. Drop and dart, dude.
4. BYO Wipes
Chances are your employer hasn't seen the light and forces you to scrape your rear with two-ply. The last thing you need is an itchy butt to put you off your game, so make sure you have an ample supply of DUDE Wipes on hand. If you want to be discrete, keep a pack of singles in your desk drawer and sneak them into your pocket when you get the urge to go.
The Stakes Aren't as High as You Think
Despite what you think, nobody cares if you poo at work. Everybody poops. Seriously. Even if you stink up the whole floor or rip a thunderous fart, it'll be a non-story compared to everyone's conversations about what vaccine they got or how Becky learned to bake banana bread.
Don't let anybody work poop-shame you. Taking a dump at the office is one of your rights as a working American (one that your employer is legally required to tolerate), and you should exercise that freedom whenever you feel the urge.