06/05/2010 13 Comments
Over the past few weeks I have been closely monitoring my bathroom habits at work. On average I do 4.6 wees and half a poo at work every day.
A round trip for a wee takes 107 seconds. A round trip for a poo takes 343 seconds*. This means every day I lose 11m 4s of valuable work time going to the bathroom. I work about 225 days a year but 5 of them, a full work week, is spend going to the bathroom.
The number of people employed in the UK is 28.82m so we are losing around 664,000 years of work time every year by people going to the toilet. Imagine if somehow we could get this time back. Imagine the boost to the economy if overnight we added 664,000 person-years of work to the economy annually.
I have a solution. Office furniture.
Specifically, I have designed a new chair. For the most part it is the same as a standard office chair with variable height, arms and lumbar adjustment. However it has one key, built-in feature not found in the current generation of office chairs – a toilet.
Just take a moment to behold the beauty of this suggestion. Office chairs with built-in toilets.
There are two key benefits:
- 664,000 person-years of work extra in the economy every year
- Cheaper office space (since you don’t need to pay for floor-space for bathrooms)
There is one down-side however:
- Someone in the office might do a smelly poo
I have thought about this problem at length and have solved it by making a small adjustment to the chair design. I would have one of these built into the arm on every chair so any worker could quickly avoid embarrassment with a simple press of the button.
The chairs would not be cheap but given the boost in productivity they would easily pay for themselves in a few months.
Although the office is the most obvious place for such a device there are many more applications. A couple of years ago on a flight to New York, I sank a few mini-bottles of wine and just as my bladder told me it was time to go to the toilet, we hit turbulence and the seat belt light came on. I spent the next hour in agony – unnecessarily in my opinion. The simple installation of toilets into aeroplane seats would have completely removed this problem. It would also mean that airlines could remove bathrooms from the plane and therefore fit in more seats. Again – they pay for themselves.
Our fragile economy needs a boost now more than ever. No party has shown us a policy which comes close to instantly add 664,000 person-years of work to the economy annually. Our nation’s financial ills will not be solved overnight by national insurance hikes or inheritance tax cuts. The solution is far more simple. The solution is office furniture.
* Note I did not count today’s disaster in the time keeping as it would have skewed the figures
P.S. Since writing this article I have trade marked The Stool Stool as the brand name for this product.