I'm starting a prescription medicine that I'll have to take twice during the work day, at 10am and 3pm. I love my open office so I don't intend for this to devolve into a rant on them, but I don't know where I should go to take my meds. I've never seen anyone else do this here and I'm sure there must be people who have to. We have a shared kitchen/lounge but I'd feel uncomfortable since it's still out in the open. I've thought about taking them to the bathroom but that feels really weird and a little gross. Should I just try to do it discreetly at my desk?
I work in an open office setting where all of my co-workers just do it at their desk.
It's a prescribed medication, you aren't doing anything wrong and there is no need to hide it. If someone asks what it is, you can either tell them (if you feel comfortable doing so) or just say "it's my medication" and leave it at that.
You may want to check with your supervisor. Keep in mind they have no right to know what medication you are taking. Just ask them if the desk is acceptable in your workplace, or if there is a designated medical area. If there is a designated medical area for taking prescriptions, you should adhere to that. If not, your desk is just fine.
The meta question here would be "what's a good place to do something private at work". Could be meds, could be a personal phone call, could be attending to a bodily need, could be doing your yoga.
The answer depends on what you have available. Options are
- Grab a conference or meeting room.
- Some work places have "phone booths" which are specifically designed to make phone calls. Doesn't matter if the phone calls are for work, private or no phone call at all
- Shower rooms, locker rooms or bathroom. In my place it's not uncommon for people to brush their teeth after lunch. I don't see why taking meds would be any different. We have decent bathrooms though.
- Lab or a work space that you regular use but that's not used by other people a lot.
The key here is that you are NOT doing anything wrong, but you are doing something private, which is perfectly fine but not anyone else's business. That's a perfectly normal thing and happens daily in pretty much every workplace.
@Borgh I work with a few really nosy people. Like they'll stand behind you without you knowing and read your email over your shoulder. – PascLeRasc 1 min ago
This complicates matters. I assume that they are also the people who will happily dive into the depths of your personal health problems?
i'd suggest getting one of those nondescript containers with the days of the week on them (also great for just reminding you of when to take the medicine) so they can't read the label and then taking the medicine in the kitchen. If someone happens to be there you can always just grab a glass of water and return to your cubicle and take the medicine there.
I work in a cubical work space and as far as people taking med's most just have them in their desk and take them when they need them. No one complains and its never been something people scoff over so I would say its fine to just take your med's at your desk.
That said I am also diabetic and I take insulin shots so I often take my syringe and bottles into the restroom (the best place if you are concerned about nosy people IMO) and give myself shots in there as I don't think people want to see me lift my shirt lol.
As long as its just pills you can take with water or food you should be fine to take them as you need them at your desk.
Shots/Inhaler and such
If you want privacy while using a medical device such as a syringe or inhaler, talk to your Human Resources department or personnel director.
- They should be trained to respect your privacy both professionally and legally (to various degrees).
- And they should be able to suggest a private location. You are not likely the first with this issue.
- They can note in your records that you will be taking legal medication on-site. This is valuable in case of future rumors about you being a secret junkie.
As others suggested, keep pills in couple of innocuous vitamin bottles in your purse or bag. Take the pills quietly at your desk, without hiding it. If anyone asks, tell them Vitamin D (small tablet or gel pill) or Vitamin E or Magnesium (large tablet or gel pill) to quell their nosy curiosity.
You do not owe your co-workers any true explanation of your own medical condition, if it does not affect your job performance nor human safety.
And for pills too, it may be worthwhile in some situations to formally advise your Human Resources department that you will be taking medication on-site. I would not discuss it with my supervisor/manager if it does not interfere with duties.
I, too, work in an open environment, "Agile Space" as we call it. After reading your comments and explanations as to why you don't want to take your meds because of "really nosy people" there is really only one solution:You must assert yourself in your office and take your pills with pride.
If, and apparently when, your coworkers ask questions simply respond that you are taking your meds, and if they ask more questions tell them politely but firmly that "They're for my health." If you keep having issues of them prying into your life you can simply tell them you would rather not discuss it.
I'm starting a prescription medicine that I'll have to take twice during the work day, at 10am and 3pm. I love my open office so I don't intend for this to devolve into a rant on them, but I don't know where I should go to take my meds. I've never seen anyone else do this here and I'm sure there must be people who have to.
This part is important.
There are all sorts of reasons why people may need a few minutes of privacy in a workplace: prayer, first aid, sensitive conversations, pumping breast milk, etc. etc. This need should be identified and addressed when planning the workplace. If your workplace doesn't have a suitable private space, then it needs one. (If it does, then you just need to know where it is.)
Either way, the first step of the solution is to talk to somebody else - either your manager or a sensible co-worker.
"Hey, do we have a space that staff can use when we need privacy? [Optionally:] I need to take some medication and I'd rather not do it at my deck.
If answer is "no", then something along the lines of:
"Can we make one, then? I'm sure I'm not the only person here who needs that occasionally."
For your specific situation, there are ways to disguise what pills you're taking. But that's more of a work-around than a proper fix; it's better to address the underlying issue and solve the problem for everybody.
Depending on your country you're usually allowed to have short breaks during the day.
If you're truly uncomfortable taking medication in the office or don't want others to know, you could use those breaks to take them at another (private) location of your choosing.
As has been said though, it usually is no big deal.
If it is something completely innocuous like antibiotics or anti-allergy medicine, I would take them at your desk. You could even leave the pack of medicine sitting at your desk. That way you go full circle.
If it is something you may not wish to share with everyone (like antidepressants, for example - not to imply that that is something to be ashamed of, but you may still not want to share it), then just go to the bathroom if you do not want people to know about it.
If they are really nosey and you don't care about their opinion (i wouldn't), just say "it's garlic, good for your health and keeps vampires away! Unfortunatelly it doesn't affect nosey coworkers!".
I work with Mr. Supernosey for a whole year and have pills lying around and take them twice a day and he never asked or mentioned them. So if yours do, they are a special kind of nosey and need to be dealt with accordingly.
protected by Jane S♦ Dec 10 '18 at 7:00
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