woman speaking in bathroom with caption 'my boss messaging me like why aren't you online I'm like babe I'm on the toilet' (l) woman on phone with toilet paper on lap using toilet (c) woman speaking in bathroom with caption 'diarrhea like I don't know what to tell you' (r)

Monthira/Shutterstock @empalmz/TikTok (Licensed)

‘Like, babe, I’m on the toilet’: Remote worker’s video on workplace boundaries sparks discussion

'I'm permanently set to offline.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Jan 31, 2023

A user on TikTok has sparked a discussion about workplace boundaries after her comedic video on the topic went viral.

In a clip with over 512,000 views, TikTok user Emily (@empalmz) speaks to the camera while appearing to be sitting in her bathroom.

“My boss messaging me like, ‘Why aren’t you online?’” Emily says. “Like, babe, I’m on the toilet. Diarrhea. Like, I don’t know what to tell you.”

@empalmz In my “escaped the psych ward” nightgown #fyp #foryou #friday #pooptok ♬ original sound – empalmz

In the comments section, Emily notes that the video isn’t meant to be taken seriously, clarifying that her boss is “literally the best” and that she’s never had an issue like the one portrayed in the video.

“Both my boss and employer are incredibly flexible, understanding, and human,” she told the Daily Dot in an exchange via Instagram direct message. “They get that people have doctors appointments, life emergencies, even days where we need to log off early for mental breaks and more. We have a hybrid work schedule and even though the in-office days are enforced, they also are flexible. I am not expected to be ‘on’ all the time and we have a really open honest communication style about what’s going on in our lives. I’ve been given a lot of grace that I’m so thankful for; it makes working so much more pleasant.”

While Emily may have a great work situation, many took the comments section as an opportunity to vent their frustrations about constantly needing to appear as though they are working. Some told stories about their own situations.

“Had a similar issue with Walmart,” recalled a user. “I’m like we’re all grown here you don’t need to watch my every darn move.”

“My boss yells and curses if we use the bathroom,” claimed a second.

“Question is why don’t you trust your employees and don’t you have work to do?” asked another.

A few users advised that brutal honesty is the best way to have bosses never question your personal time again.

“[if] they wonder, never let them want to wonder again,” wrote a commenter.

“I have zero shame in telling them that I have IBS and I’m usually pooping lol,” shared another. “that’s on them for asking.”

“Send a selfie tbh,” offered a third.

Additional users noted that it’s important to set strong boundaries in the workplace.

“I’m permanently set to offline. Everyone knows I’m online when I need to be and that’s what’s important,” stated a commenter.

“i’m a people manager and i have literally never even noticed if one of my team is offline,” shared an additional TikToker. “The worst type of managers.”

For Emily’s part, she says that there are some things employees can do to better enforce boundaries in the workplace.

“I think it comes down to respect,” she told the Daily Dot. “I do my job and get my stuff done on time, so in return, I am granted a bit more leniency because there is trust I’ll get it done. I think we all need to see each others humanness more. My boss was honest with us when he was going through a breakup about needing some time and space, and it gives us the ability to do the same.”

“I think from an employee side, it may make sense to go back to the basics. Original contract. I work 8:30-5:30 and nowhere in there does it say ‘have to answer weekend emails, can’t go to the doctor during the day, no running errands or having spontaneous diarrhea,'” she continued. “Also, [it] would make sense to vocalize how much better of an employee you are when you are given the appropriate resources and time to take care of yourself.”

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*First Published: Jan 31, 2023, 2:02 pm CST