The great debate: is it ever acceptable to poo at work?

Going for a number two, dropping the kids off at the pool, laying a cable — whatever you like to call it, pooing is a natural and necessary bodily function. Every human being, no matter how fancy or famous or squeamish, does it.

Yet when it comes to relieving the ol’ bowels in a workplace toilet, it seems not everyone is on board. In fact, there’s some pretty firm opposition to the idea.

On Show and Tell, writer Erin O’Grady contends the office toilet should not be one’s go-to for a number two.

“Unless you are struck down with chronic food poisoning because you ate week old leftovers and it’s two days before pay day, then you are allowed to have one emergency visit. After that, get the hell away from me and take your tap-ass with you,” she writes. Strong words there.

O’Grady is so reluctant to relieve herself at work, she’s been known to ask her boss if she can go home at lunch time to get the job done offsite.

Watch: What the colour of your urine says about your health. (Post continues after video.)

“At first I told little fibs — ‘The real estate agent needs to come and look at the oven’, ‘I have a specialist appointment’ – eventually it has just become a knowing look and then off I scoot for 30 minutes,” she says.

That might seem like an extreme example — not to mention a very understanding boss — but a quick poll of Mamamia HQ revealed many of us felt ill at ease in the office cubicle.

“I can’t go at work. I have a fear of going anywhere that isn’t my home, and it legit causes tum issues,” one wrote.

“I don’t know if anyone else does this, but I kind of have to get familiar with a new bathroom environment before I feel comfortable enough to go. This includes work,” another added.

Stage fright is one thing; there’s the audio issue.

Haven't you heard? Ladies don't poop. (Image: Poo-Pourri/Youtube)

"The only thing bad about pooing at work and in any communal bathroom is the awkward moment when you realise that the person in the cubicle next to you is also oddly quiet, and neither of you want to be the first to drop," another mused.

Apparently, this phenomenon is known (hilariously) as 'Battle Shits.'

Others detailed the extreme lengths they go to in order to conceal the sounds and smells of bowel excavation — from constructing toilet paper "landing pads", to timing their flushing to coincide with the time of impact.

Some are so reluctant to do their business in close proximity to people they know and work with, they've researched and developed an intimate knowledge of all the public toilets within a certain radius of their workplace.

Sounds exhausting, right?


#toilethumour @sundaystyle #????

A photo posted by ZOË FOSTER BLAKE (@zotheysay) on Mar 16, 2014 at 5:53pm PDT

For something that occurs naturally, there are office workers out there putting a lot of thought and strategy into their pooping behaviour.

And from observation, this office cubicle angst seems to be felt more keenly by women than men. Maybe it stems from the ridiculous yet persistent belief/expectation that ladies simply do not experience any bodily functions.

Whatever the reason, it's not an overly helpful — or even healthy — way to go about life.

As author of Gut Sense Konstantin Monastyrsky notes, holding in your business even once can allow stools to stack up on top of each other, drying out and blocking your system and leading to constipation and even an impacted bowel.

Jeopardising your health for the sake of being polite? That's just shitty. (Post continues after gallery.)


On the whole, the ladies of this particular office agree with the philosophy that when nature calls, you should probably answer — regardless of who's in the cubicle next door.

"I feel like as feminist women we need to abandon the shame and be comfortable to go," one particularly passionate co-worker says.

"Feel free to poop at work, coz you know what? Men do, and they probably have competitions. But if we're sitting here holding it in being afraid to go, it holds us back in the world. AMIRITE LADIES?"

She's got a point. And if it's any further incentive, by doing your business on the job you're actually being paid for it — and you can figure out exactly how much by using the Paid To Poo calculator. Think of the money, ladies.

Where do you stand on this highly divisive topic?

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