Avoiding Flatulence Problems in the Workplace
Flatulence problems can make for an unpleasant workplace atmosphere. As with other hygiene problems like bodily odor or bad breath, flatulence can make it so that a worker becomes isolated and demoralized. Although someone might have an occasional bad day when he or she can’t help breaking wind, if a worker becomes associated with breaking wind frequently it can start to have a real effect on how fellow workers treat them and ultimately on the productivity of the worker.
So what do you do if you have a flatulence problem?
Avoid the Causes of Flatulence
If you find that your flatulence problem worsens in the afternoons, your diet may be the cause. As you probably know, certain kinds of foods tend to increase the probability of flatulence. Spicy foods and foods that involve beans make many people feel much gassier than they normally would. Although your workplace choices may be limited, you will generally want to avoid Mexican, Chinese or Indian food for lunch if these tend to spark the gases in your intestines. You might consider bringing a bagged lunch if the location of your workplace limits your choices. In fact, studies show that home-prepared meals not only protect your pocket book, but also are far healthier overall.
Of course, there are times when you do not have the deciding vote as to the locale for lunch. Coworkers may favor a particularly spicy restaurant that you know will only make for an uncomfortable afternoon. In such social situations, you should consider ordering foods that are least likely to stir things up in your intestines. Often you can avoid the worst effects of certain meals by avoiding sauces and spices that make them into stinky time bombs. Ask the waiter to hold back on the sauces or order the blander choices in the meal. Go for sweet and sour, rather than “hot”. Furthermore, if you are lactose intolerant, avoid beverages that involve milk products. Too much coffee in the morning can also lead to an unsettled stomach.
Another way to decrease the chances of flatulence problems in the workplace is to buy medications that help settle the stomach or reduce the odors such as Alka Seltzer or Beano. Such medications can help settle the stomach and make the natural post meal emissions a little more bearable for your coworkers. Of course, they are not a cure-all nor do they work for everyone.
Using the Bathroom When Necessary
Sometimes when you have a flatulence problem, it is just because you need to use the facilities. This seems like a simple problem but as those of us on very busy schedules know, finding the appropriate facilities in a spare moment is not always as easy as it sounds, especially if your are often in groups. Generally, however, solving this problem just requires some forethought. If you know that you will be in meetings all afternoon and that the location of the meetings does not have the appropriate kind of facilities to accommodate your needs, then you should plan to go well before hand and not eat anything that will make matters more extreme for you in the meantime.
When another Worker is the Source of Problems
Sometimes flatulence problems are not your problem but that of a coworker. Broaching the topic can be a bit difficult when this is the case and will require a great deal of tact if you do not want to create office tensions. The easiest way to enter into this conversation is to befriend you fellow worker and make sure that you have a well-established and smoothly running relationship before you actually mention the problem. Even then, it is best to make sure that you mention the problem in private and that as much as possible you put yourself in the same boat with your worker. Sometimes your fellow co-worker might take a gentle hint and will not require an overt intervention.