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How You Poop At Work Actually Affects Your Productivity

How You Poop At Work Actually Affects Your Productivity
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Everybody poops, and sometimes it stinks.

Everybody works, too, and that stinks all the time.

Pooping at work, or in any public place, can be an overwhelming obstacle. Someday you’ll need to overcome the crippling awkwardness of the public plop.

Here are some effective techniques to combat social constipation, toilet paper tyranny, and the discomfort that accompanies the work poop.

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And let’s be honest. If you don’t poop at work, you won’t be comfortable, and if you’re uncomfortable, you’re not going to get s*** done. These tips will help you overcome stall schizophrenia to help boost your work productivity.

Remind yourself of the natural, biological state of poop

Every person you know does it. Your grandma poops. Your high end corporate boss poops, and even your mini dachshund Tootie drops a deuce probably once a day (and you probably have to pick that poop up). Poop may be mysterious, but it’s a natural part of a healthy life. Without getting too graphic, poop needs to happen lest your body retain all it’s waste and you become a bloated irritable mess. Ever been seriously constipated? It’ll only take one bout of that to appreciate every urge to go.

Re-calibrate your ‘colon clock’

Since at least the 1600’s, Americans have been caffeine guzzling machines. As a guy who loves coffee, I understand what my body needs to do almost every day after that first cup goes down the hatch. If this is you, simply change the pattern of your coffee (or tea) intake. Pour your first cup after the 8 am toilet troop has already gone, or drink your coffee during your commute so poop comes before other poopers down their dark roast at their desks.

Bring your Jukebox (iPoo’d) 

Take your mind to a special place when doing your dirty business. This can be even more crucial if you share a “communal” bathroom where stalls are snug. Queue up TNT by AC DC or Full Body Yawn by Walter Mitty & his Makeshift Orchestra (my preferred poop tunes) and let your poopy paranoia fade away. If music isn’t your thing, listen to a podcast or talk show. If you want to avoid things in your ears all together, put some toilet paper down on the seat to create the aversion of a crinkling sound.

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Secret, secret, I got a secret (poop place)

Aside from Caroline from OutKast’s Roses, everyone’s poop stinks (okay, her’s probably does too). You surely don’t like the idea of Ted from the fraud department knowing what your specific scent smells like. Do you work in a floored business facility? Use the bathroom a couple floors above or below you. Even if you’re stall to stall with someone else, chances are high that you don’t actually know them or interact on a daily basis. The cafeteria or cafe is completely empty a 10 AM? Sounds like a perfect excuse to head there, enjoy the tranquility of an empty bathroom, and grab a starchy ripe banana on your way out. Search around and experiment with a few different locations to find the specific places and times which are the least busy. Be sure to keep an eye out for single bathrooms, the sanctuary for defecation.

Break free from technology

This point may seem a bit contradictory to one listed above, but having a quick “drop-n-dart” is essential to overcoming the fear of public pooping. Part of the “drop-n-dart” is limiting distractions so you can focus on the poop at hand (not literally). Removing the use of time wasting apps, crosswords, flash games, and videos is crucial to a successful “drop-n-dart.”

Be weary of reading materials

Things like magazines, books, and newspapers can be dead give aways if you don’t work at a newsstand or a book store. As someone who loves to read while they poop (old school aesthetic), keep an eye out for pocket sized bathroom readers that are easily concealable.

Double check the lock 

It seems obvious, but I haven’t met anyone who wants their boss to accidentally disrupt their stall solitude.  If they walk in on you, expect uncomfortable cooler talk and to be the butt of every joke that week.

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Always bring a match

They’re free almost anywhere and, though some may know what you’re up to when they smell something slightly ashy, it’s preferable to something that smells like two week expired eggnog.

Utilize the No Look Flush

No, I’m not talking about a LeBron James breakway dunk. Sometimes people have a trouble with understanding how something so disgusting (poop) can come out of such a pristine and perfect creature (human). If this is your holdup, simply reach behind you, close your eyes if need be, a flush without giving it a second glance. Never saw it? Never happened.

Cover your tracks

At some point, everyone’s poo has streaked down the sides of the bowl like a soccer spectator hoping desperately for press coverage. There’s no reason to let the person who follows your toilet tirade see aftermath of that morning’s biscuits and gravy. If need be flush several times to leave a clear path for the next occupant, so be it.

Wash Your Hands…

You slob.

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Get over it and just poop already.

Your porcelain throne awaits, your majesty.

Pooping at work can be challenging, difficult, and scary, but everyone has to do it, and it will always stink. Unfortunately, the office or professional work environment is where you’ll spend the majority of your time, second only to your house or apartment. So feel powerful when you poop, get excited for excrement, be cool when you crap by using the steps outlined above.

Say goodbye to being defeated by your own defecation, and say hello to pressure release and productivity.

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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