The “pan-xiety” of going back into the office is real, and there is one symptom that some people are particularly worried about as a result… poo paranoia.
After enjoying the freedoms that come with working from home – including being able to poo peacefully in the comfort of our own toilets – it seems re-adjusting our bowel patterns upon the anticipated office return is a big concern, a study from health startup The Gut Stuff has found.
After all, we are creatures of habit.
The Gut Stuff surveyed a group of 2,000 UK adults and found that 18 per cent said that their most pressing back-to-office concern was going to the loo at work, Refinery29 reported. So if you’re feeling the poo paranoia you’re definitely not alone.
It’s even more common for UK workers to leave their place of work just to find somewhere to go to the toilet peacefully – over half of them in fact at 53 per cent.
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Meanwhile, people really do go to some lengths to avoid pooping in the office bathrooms as some of those surveyed (18 per cent) said they will hold it in all day, 28 per cent of workers have snuck off to another floor and 18 per cent admitted to going home in order to use their own loo. While these options are time-consuming, “holding it in” is not good for our bodies and can cause long-lasting discomfort – and nobody wants that while they’re working.
One demographic is affected more in particular and that’s women. 67% of women stated that they felt uncomfortable pooing in the office. Perhaps this is because women are also thought to be disproportionately affected by Parcopresis – the social anxiety condition sometimes referred to shy bowel syndrome.
After reading these shocking stats, perhaps it’s time to get rid of the loo taboo once and for all.
The Gut Stuff founders Lisa and Alana Macfarlane told Refinery 29 that it is “vital for employers to try to help break the loo taboo.”
Some helpful tips from the pair include – sparking a conversation to address the subject or get interactive with an office poll, and (this goes without saying) but ensuring practical steps are in place by ensuring there’s enough bog roll to round for everyone.
They added: “It’s so much more than feeling embarrassed – employers have a responsibility to make sure their team’s health and wellbeing is supported in the back-to-work transition, and that absolutely includes encouraging people to go, when they need to go.”
And if you take anything from this, remember that everyone does a number two – “Nobody cares as much as you think they do,” Lisa and Alana added. “They’re all too busy worrying about themselves, we promise!”
People, be kind to your bowels.