Chinese techies timed for bathroom breaks

Published (HKT): 2020.10.27 18:17

Chinese video-sharing app Kuaishou is facing a backlash for installing timers in bathrooms to collect data of the toilet use of staff members. Netizens slammed the company for monitoring and timing its office workers, while the app explained that the new setup will help determine the number of mobile toilets it should add.

According to a viral article on Chinese social media, a timer on the ceiling above the toilet shows how long the cubicle has been occupied. The article questioned if employees are also under scrutiny for the amount of time they spend on toilet breaks.

Responding to queries, Kuaishou’s customer service expressed surprise that testing for a single toilet cubicle has attracted such widespread attention. The company claimed that the office has a limited number of toilets, which led to long bathroom queues. The timer was thus installed to collect data for an appropriate solution.

Employees of other tech firms have revealed methods corporate management typically uses to reduce toilet breaks. One firm in Shanghai limits employees' toilet use to 10 minutes each day, while bathroom breaks are rostered in another company. One even monitors how long and where staff members go to the bathroom.

Netizens lament how such practices are dehumanizing and depriving workers of their dignity. Chinese tech workers are already known to work long hours and, in some cases, beyond the 996 schedule of working 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week.

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