I’m not sure how or when it happened but somehow monitoring the restroom has fallen into the scope of responsibilities for human resources. I guess it comes along with being the fashion police. Other HR bloggers have bravely addressed aspects of the bathroom issue. You can check out their musings here and here.
But today’s reader question has a bit of a different twist. It deals with an emerging bathroom issue – Facebook:
We have an employee who visits the restroom at least 4-6 times per day and spends 6-10 minutes each time. We felt we couldn’t say anything to her, but she mentioned to another employee that she checks Facebook while in the bathroom!!
Are we allowed to do anything about this? How do you possibly tell someone they are not allowed to spend so much time in the bathroom? Thanks for your help!
According to Advertising Age, over 25% of Americans check their Facebook page while using the bathroom. And no surprise, the number of women who check their Facebook page is higher than men.
Let’s make the assumption there is no medical reason for this employee to visit the restroom frequently. If I were faced with this situation, there are a couple things I would want to know.
Does the employee get their work done? Yes, it might look weird that an employee takes a lot of bathroom breaks. No different than the employee who takes a lot of smoke breaks. But if the employee is getting their work done in a satisfactory manner…does it matter? I once worked with an employee whose kids called her all the time. It was a wonder they could put their socks on in the morning without her. But she got all her work done. And it was quality work.
Can employees check Facebook at their desk? I wonder if part of the reason this employee checks Facebook from the bathroom is because the company has put the lock down on social media. Realistically, employees are checking their Facebook from the bathroom, parking lot, cafeteria, etc. Maybe the company needs to examine how disruptive it would (or wouldn’t) be to have employees check their Facebook from their work areas. Of course, this is predicated on the first question about getting the work done.
Companies need to focus on getting the work done. Not controlling every little bodily function of an employee. If the employee isn’t getting their work done – then deal with the lack in performance. But if spending five minutes checking a Facebook page is the worst thing this otherwise good performer is doing…is it possible that putting controls on the situation will do more harm than good?
Image courtesy of HR Bartender2