Chinese firm 'controls employees' bathroom breaks' with timers
2nd November 2020

Chinese tech firm installs TIMERS above toilet cubicles to check how long staff are taking in the bathroom

  • The monitoring devices were spotted inside the restroom on the site of Kuaishou
  • A display screen can be seen timing how long an employee has used the cubicle 
  • They were used to boost productivity by limiting workers’ toilet breaks, it is said 
  • But the firm denied the accusation after the pictures drew an online backlash

A major technology company in China has faced a fierce backlash after being accused by web users of installing timers in the toilets to check how long its employees spend in the bathroom.

Pictures widely circulated online shows a digital timer placed above a toilet cubicle in the building of Kuaishou, a Beijing-based firm known for its popular video-sharing mobile app with 200 million active users.

Kuaishou claimed that the monitoring devices were implemented as part of its plan to build new restroom facilities.


Pictures widely circulated online shows a digital timer placed above a toilet cubicle in the building of Kuaishou, a Beijing-based firm known for its popular video-sharing mobile app

The incident came to light after anonymous social media users recently shared images showing the digital timer placed in the public toilet on the company’s site.

A display screen that read ‘occupied’ can be seen hanging above the cubicle with a timer showing how long the person has used the toilet.

A sign on the cubicle door says: ‘Timer is being trialled.’

Accounts claimed that Kuaishou had installed the monitoring devices to control its employees’ bathroom breaks and increase their productivity, according to reports.

Kuaishou, a major technology company, in China has faced a fierce backlash after being accused by web users of limiting its workers’ bathroom breaks by installing timers in the toilets. The company’s logo is seen being displayed at a game expo in Shanghai on August 2

The pictures quickly became a trending topic on Chinese Twitter-like Weibo and drew thousands of comments from angered netizens who slammed the tech firm’s approach. In this file photo, employees are pictured working in an office in Shanghai on August 28

The pictures quickly became a trending topic on Chinese Twitter-like Weibo and drew thousands of comments from angered netizens who slammed the tech firm’s approach.

One commenter wrote: ‘Now people don’t even have the freedom to take a s***?’

Another one said: ‘This is outrageous. They want you to do your work quickly and also take a dump quickly!’

In response to the public’s criticism, the Chinese company explained that the timers were installed to solve the site’s problem of ‘toilet shortage’.

In response to the public’s criticism, the Chinese company explained that the timers were installed to solve the site’s problem of ‘toilet shortage’. In this file photo, three workers are seen having a meeting at an office in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province of east China on Thursday

‘The fact is that there are currently a limited number of toilets on the site, and there is a serious problem of employees queuing to go to the toilet,’ Kuaishou wrote in a Weibo post.

‘But because of the building’s construction layout, it is extremely difficult to build new toilet cubicles within the building,’ it read.

By installing the monitoring devices, the firm claimed it could determine how many portable toilets it needed to accommodate its staff’s needs.

It remains unclear if the timers had been removed following the controversy.  

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