I work at a smallish (30 something person) company based in NYC. The office consists of 2 floors, with most of the engineers on the first floor and the executive staff on the second. Due to the construction of our office, there is are only two bathrooms on the first floor, and a single bathroom on the second floor. The bathrooms on the first floor are gender specific, whereas the second floor bathroom is not. Additionally, the second floor bathroom is single person, whereas the first floor bathrooms have space for multiple people to be in them at one time. However, there is only 1 toilet available in the mens bathroom. The vast majority of our staff is also male. This means that there are around 25 men on the first floor that need to share the first floor bathroom. There are no rules against engineers on the first floor using the upstairs bathroom, but it is quite awkward as it is clearly setup for use by the executives and a particular executive who sits in front of the second floor bathroom has a penchant for making poop jokes, exacerbating any embarrassment regarding the use of the bathroom.

I provide all this context to explain my issue. I have a particular male coworker who will take extended periods of time (around 15 minutes or so) in the bathroom, occupying what is effectively the only toilet. I frequently use this toilet and make a point to get in and out as quickly as possible, as a courtesy to my other colleagues. While I absolutely understand that this person enjoys spending their time in the bathroom (as I do at home), it's pretty rude to occupy what is an essential resource for the other staff. Personally, I've had to wait quite uncomfortably for some period of time for this fellow to leave the bathroom. What can I do to alleviate this issue without confronting this person in a rude manner?

  • 8
    Some people just take more time doing their stuff on the bathroom... some are faster than others (not to mention what you had for lunch also affects the time...). Are you implying this person is doing this deliberately to "kill" some time?
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Jun 18, 2018 at 23:40
  • 1
    Time to upgrade and get more bathrooms.
    – jcmack
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 0:45
  • 4
    The person could have medical issues (please dont make me elaborate) which makes things take more time.
    – solarflare
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 1:08
  • You have 1 bathroom for each 10 people. 1 co-worker who wants or needs a little time is not your problem.
    – Ben Mz
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 1:48
  • 3
    And the executive has so much free time that he can devote his time to monitor the first floor toilet?
    – L.Dutch
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 5:45

1 Answer 1


If the bathroom is not your private bathroom and the downstairs employees are permitted to use the upstairs restroom, then firstly you likely have nothing to be upset about.

I would assume that since the downstairs employees are permitted to use the upstairs restroom that the upstairs employees are likewise permitted to use the downstairs restroom. My second piece of advice is that unless this employee is volunteering specific details about their bathroom habits involving 5 minutes of doing their business and 10 minutes of reading their email on their phone...which would be a weird thing to bring up in conversation...then there is nothing specific for you to even raise about the particular individual; even if there were, that would be a very weird thing to admit to paying attention to.

If you are permitted to use the downstairs restroom, then when the upstairs restroom is occupied, you should seek a vacancy in the downstairs facilities. If there is no vacancy there, then you will come into the realization of why the upstairs restroom is occupied and you have real examples of a capacity problem that may need to be raised with facilities management.

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