'Scuse me while I run downstairs...

For the past 19 years I’ve worked in various multi-story office buildings. I’ve noticed that every office building environment in which I’ve worked includes some of the same characters. All of the buildings I’ve worked in have had a contingent of people (both male and female) who consistently use the restroom one floor down or up from the floor on which they work.

My questions are:

A.) Am I not really observing a phenomenon? Is this just a peculiar thing about where I’ve worked over the years?
B.) If not A.), what is the psychology operating here?

I’ve noticed that on my floor too. People are always coming up/down to use our bathrooms. The logic was explained to me as thus:

Sometimes the going the shortest distance between someone’s lab (or office in your case) and a bathroom involves going downstairs. Apparently, walking down the stairs to the can on my floor (which is right by the stairs) is quicker for them that walking around to the bathroom on the opposite corner of their floor. Hooray for them: they think in three dimensions. I’ve never even pondered that concept.

Of course maybe our bathrooms are just cleaner for some reason. That thought frightens me.

Given that I can’t easily articulate (I’m tired, it’s late, etc…) why, somehow efficiency does not seem like a global answer. I think it probably does explain the situation in some cases.

Maybe they do not want to be blamed for the stink or the noisy farts emanating from the bathroom so they bypass the closest one to perhaps gain some anonimity. I know I cannot help commenting my coworker on the healthy blast when I am in there (hehe)

I’m totally with Heath here.
People want privacy and isolation in the toilet, and it’s better that a stranger barges in than someone you have to see every five minutes.
Don’t know why that is, but it is.

An alternative rationale: in older buildings, such as the one where I work, the original bathrooms were re-designed to accomodate separate men’s/women’s privys 50/50 to comply with Federal regulations, although that may not necessarily reflect the actual ratio of male/female workers.

In my building, and several Federal buildings I work in, there is a ladies’ room whose sign always seems to be green [vacant], and the men’s room is nearly always occupied - hence a trip to another floor. Again, in my building, the left WC accomodates one stall and one urinal (when for guys), or [presumably] two stalls when for gals (I haven’t checked); the right-side WC accomodates just one stall. The left stall on the 3rd and 5th floors is for men… you get the idea. When the gender gap closes, less employees would be running up and down. BTW, those offices with larger staff, more administrative personnel, hence [unfortunately but true] more women, seem to have their own CRs.

Perhaps an architect with corporate building remodeling experience could chime in here ?

I’ve only seen this when there’s only one rest room per floor and you have to go up or down to find one of your gender.There was one floor where nobody ever used the ladies room.
People get used to a routine and use the same rest room, even the same stall every time.They go to that one stall wher the door actually satys shut!

This could become a great debate!

I’m a facility manager, so I can give you my professional take on this. There is no one answer, but several different reasons.

(1) Employee doesn’t want to be seen, heard, or smelt by fellow employees in the bathroom, so employee uses toilets on other floors.
(2) Employee works on a floor with a high population density; floor below/above is less crowded. Those bathrooms are usually less crowded and cleaner (or the employees convinces his/herself this is so).
(3) Employee wants to find most time consuming way to take breaks, in order to goof off less conspicuously. This also explians why some people take the elevator up/down one flight, instead of walking.

These reasons apply in building with identical restrooms. If you’re in an older building, many times one floor with have larger restrooms, so they will attract users from other floors.

In the case of males, its done to avoid the dreaded Awkward Urinal Conversation. You don’t feel like you have to talk to people you don’t know.

Damn! Finally a question whose answer combines equal parts 1)efficiency, 2)stinky poo phenomenon, and 3)embarassed kidney/colon syndrome and everybody beats me to it!

Lenny Bruce once said “The most terrifying sound in the world is when that toilet flush noise finishes before you do.”

I know people who will make a trip home and back rather than use the restroom where they work.

Alright, who here uses those paper ass-gaskets that are sometimes offered? I tried one once or twice, and I did not feel especially protected or anything.

“I had a feeling that in Hell there would be mushrooms.” -The Secret of Monkey Island

I have to agree with the privacy side of the house. There are times when I just don’t want to be around anyone when I am on the can. Much less someone I work with all day. I think using the bathroom should be of a private, personal affair. I personally don’t like urinals. If I was building an office building, I would not use them. I would use all private toilet rooms. That is how it should really be.

“Alright, who here uses those paper ass-gaskets that are sometimes offered? I tried one once or twice, and I did not feel especially protected or anything.”

Thet’re not protective, Diceman. I checked on it quite a while back.
They’re there for people who don’t thier nekkid butt to touch where someone else’s nekkid butt has been.
This one belongs on the “decaf coffee” thread.

Work like you don’t need the money…
Love like you’ve never been hurt…
Dance like nobody’s watching! …Unknown

I’m usually in too much of a hurry to bother with one of those. Besides, while they might protect one’s butt, somes studies show that one’s hands are more susceptible to germs while trying to spread out the paper.

“Age is mind over matter; if you don’t mind, it don’t matter.” -Leroy “Satchel” Paige