Too Many Bathroom Breaks at Work? An HR Nightmare!


I used to think we live in civilized times, where health and body matters was not a part of performance management. A little bit of research on the Internet however showed me, that I am wrong.

There are people who bother with the frequency and or duration of the toilet visits of others. Wow! But yes, those people exist. Maybe you are one of them, finding this article on your Google search. If you are, please consider my opinion on this before you take any actions.

Personally I would question the person who is so idle to make time for toilet reporting, but some people really make this an issue. Why would someone even think about that? I don’t know, but here’s my take on this.

Can this be an issue?

No, it can’t become an issue. Before we continue, check out the following key questions:

  • Is the employee generally performing poorly?
  • Is there a medical condition involved?
  • Is there a negative impact on the team’s performance?
  • Does it anyhow affect the wellbeing of others?

For bothered co-workers

If the answers to these are “no”, stop your plan of making this an official issue here and now. I am shocked, that I have to say it, but I say it: You need to stay out of the “business” of other’s restroom activities. If you’re a bothered co-worker, please consider the following. Are you ready to explain your line manager or HR, that you have that much idle time, to track, monitor, measure, and report how often and how long others use the bathroom? Are you going to complain to the person face-to-face? Prepare for the ultimate rapport elimination between the two of you.

For the management

If you’re an HR manager, team leader or have another supervisory function, think about this carefully. If the employee is generally a bad performer, why would you even mention their restroom visit frequency or duration? Just focus on what it is, bad performance. If you pull someone into an official work performance dispute about their toilet behavior, brace for heavy emotional impact and embarrassment. Even after settling such a case, many employees will just resign after such a thing, and it’s a good decision too. Nobody should work in a place where they make something like this a problem.


In general it doesn’t matter how often someone grabs coffee, goes for a smoke, visits the restroom, chats next to the water cooler or just strolls around the block. We work with individuals and everybody works differently. They think differently and make decisions differently. They need to manage themselves in the way, which produces the best possible results – you don’t know anything about that. Just one thing matters, is the work done? If yes, why even bother with any other thought. If not, talk about it, but please don’t focus on one particular subject.

Please also remember to consider your local HR and employment laws. It might be even illegal to track personal performance, especially related to the biology of staff. Walk away from this kind of micromanagement. If you don’t, your staff will walk away from your company.

Again I want to emphasize that this comments, opinions and other remarks are sourced from conversations on various Internet boards. Thankfully none of these scenarios are related to organizations I work together with.

Photo credit: Mario Antonio Pena Zapatería

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Christopher Isak
Christopher Isak
Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I'm Chris the founder of TechAcute. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. Drop by on Twitter and say 'hi' sometime. ;)
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