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Subject:How would you solve this problem?
Time:04:20 pm
The office space I'm in has a ladies room with two stalls, and a mens room with one stall and one urinal.

More men than women work here, and apparently there's often a wait for the mens room stall. The ladies room is less backlogged, but we also occasionally have to wait. It doesn't happen in the ladies room often enough for it to be a real problem, though.

For the sake of discussion, assume that adding more capacity to either restroom is infeasible.

If you were the office manager, what would you do?
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cork_dork
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-15 11:25 pm (UTC)
Given that more men than women work there, I'd propose keeping the mens room as-is, and reconfiguring the women's room to have one "women only" stall, and one co-ed stall, if possible.

Or, you could scrap the whole gender-based restroom thing, pile them both together, get rid of the urinal, and have four co-ed stalls.
(Reply) (Thread)


rhiannonstone
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-15 11:38 pm (UTC)
Is the men's room the sort that's really only usable by one person at a time because the urinal isn't actually private? If so, putting up a stall around it would help a little. Replacing the urinal with a real toilet would help more. Making both restrooms gender-free would help the most, but only if your office culture supported it.
(Reply) (Thread)


jcdill
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-15 11:56 pm (UTC)
At times both rooms have a backlog, people need to wait. Since it's FAR more common for women to wait for a free stall in the ladies rooms, I don't see the problem here. We gals wait all the time, and office managers don't see any need to "fix" it. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

It looks like your company might have too many people for your office space (and bathroom space) and the real solution is to move to more spacious offices. The office manager might want to look for space that has a few unisex bathrooms (e.g. handicap suitable single-person bathrooms) in addition to the usual Mens and Womens rooms with rows of stalls and wash basins. This makes it easier to accommodate a fluctuating gender balance in the office.
(Reply) (Thread)


whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-15 11:59 pm (UTC)
We're certainly at about max capacity for the office, but moving isn't in the cards for a year or so I'd imagine.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


crayonbeam
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 12:33 am (UTC)
Plan A: there is no problem to solve

Plan B: switch restroom signs

Plan C: install a lighted sign above the rooms so that someone can see from a distance if the stalls are full, and plan accordingly

Plan D: put signs on both rooms that say men/women and are cover-up-able. if you knock on the door and no one answers, go in, and cover up the gender you are not
(Reply) (Thread)


gayathri
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 04:11 am (UTC)
I like plan D! :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


ronsrants
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 01:06 am (UTC)
Here's what I don't get...why do you work in a bathroom?

-R
(Reply) (Thread)


catness
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 01:19 am (UTC)
If I were the office manager, I'd wonder what all the fuss was about. "Sometimes one has to wait for the bathroom. This is a fact of life."
(Reply) (Thread)


whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 05:44 am (UTC)
Productivity, workplace happiness, the usual.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


violet_tigress1
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 01:49 am (UTC)
Women wait for the bathroomm everywhere else. Let men wait, for a change.
(Reply) (Thread)


spicole
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 02:21 am (UTC)
I would do nothing. If moving offices or remodelling the bathrooms are not in the cards, there isn't any easy practical solutions.
(Reply) (Thread)


jpmassar
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 02:35 am (UTC)
Wire the stalls with sensors and a computer or whatever, and set up an online queue, with automatic notification to the next in line via email, texting and a phone message.

In 1984 we wired the coke machine so you could buy a coke from your computer terminal and it would log the expense (to be billed at the end of each month), then you could go to the coke machine and select what you wanted and out it would come.

Surely by 2010 one could wire bathroom stalls and create an online queue.
(Reply) (Thread)


slfisher
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 02:18 pm (UTC)
Actually, it was done in the early 1990s or late 1980s, with SNMPv2, at the University of Tennessee.

http://www.simple-times.org/pub/simple-times/issues/1-4.html

That said, I'd go with D.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


yayhappens
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 04:52 am (UTC)
Hmmm...

Is there a neighboring office or lobby in the same building where the manager can get permission to allow any employee from your office to have access to a restroom?
(Reply) (Thread)


whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 05:45 am (UTC)
Nope.

I'm oversimplifying a bit. There's actually another floor of the office with another pair of bathrooms. It's awkward to get to, though, and probably has a similar crowding problem.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


walterzuey
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 05:26 am (UTC)
Fire the women and convert the (current) men's bathroom to 3 urinals, and use the girls' for the two stalls.
(Reply) (Thread)


abostick59
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 05:31 am (UTC)
Get the men to eat more roughage?
(Reply) (Thread)


bldrnrpdx
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 06:40 am (UTC)
I work most of my week in a good-sized PreK-5 elementary school. There are 4 sets of bathrooms for the kids (4 each boys' & girls'), and there is exactly one bathroom - one toilet - for all the adults in the building. By adults, I mean teaching staff, para-educational staff, custodial staff, admistrative staff, parents, and any other adult in the building long enough to need the bathroom.

I work one full day a week in a preschool building with four classrooms, a handful of para-educational staff, and tons of parents. Again, one toilet for the adults.

My supervisor and most of my co-workers, where I have staff meetings and where I get my materials and supplies, are in another building. A couple of clinic rooms, a couple of classrooms, lots of cubicles, probably 50 people based in the building total not counting scores of parents and professionals passing through the building each day. One toilet for the adults.

The various elementary schools and preschools of various sizes I have worked at over the last several years - one toilet for all the adults in the building.

I have no sympathy.
(Reply) (Thread)


rightkindofme
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 03:55 pm (UTC)
This.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


essaying
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 03:18 pm (UTC)
Convert the urinal to a second stall and make both bathrooms unisex.
(Reply) (Thread)


drj0402
Subject:If I were the office manager...
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 06:52 pm (UTC)
Chamber pots for each cubicle.

Portable urinal pans.

All branded with the company logo.

(Reply) (Thread)


allknight
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 07:08 pm (UTC)
I liked option "D" best...
(Reply) (Thread)

[icon] How would you solve this problem? - Patti
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