Problem Solving for Dummies

Some people can not seperate cause and effect when solving problems, and every now and then you run into a great example.

If this is your problem… this is not your solution
Some people are still trying here... "It is not allowed to throw paper towels into the toilet."

The towel bin is next to the sink. Why would anyone walk all the way back to the toilet to throw their paper towel in there? Well maybe it’s because they have nowhere to put it? There is a simple solution to solving problems with other people’s behavior, without having to put up signs and making up silly rules:

Make the right thing to do

the easy thing to do.



8 Responses to Problem Solving for Dummies

  1. Verik says:

    Grin! Being a coworker of Rolf, I’m following the development of this mini-facilities-management-soap with great interest.

    When installed, it soon became clear that the standard towel bin located in the washing room was not big enough to handle the daily dose of paper towels. People were not really interested in this fact, and kept putting more paper towels inside it and forcing the lid shut. Rather predictably the lower part of the bin (the container) broke free from the upper part (the lid). Since only the upper part was attached to the wall, the lower part ended up on the floor, and acted like a regular (but ugly) office garbage bin.

    Neurotic people -like myself- could amuse themselves by depositing towels through the non-connected upper part, having it fall through free air, and still ending up in the actual bin. The actual problem was still not solved: the bin was just not big enough. By the end of the day the bin was the center of a small mount of paper towels.

    And then the first pragmatic and brilliant solution was implemented. The strangely broken but functional small bin was replaced by a normal office garbage bin. Each desk at our office comes equipped has one (which is way to many to start with). The normal office bin is larger than the toilet bin. Although slightly less aesthetic, it was an actual improvement.

    When it became clear that even this bigger bin was not big enough to handle all paper towel refuge, another brilliant mind added a second bin. How easy can it be! I was delighted that our big(ish) company still had the capacity to implement simple and efficient solutions.

    Which translated into disappointment when the functioning solution was replaced by fixing the original wall mounted and way-too-small bin. Gauging from the picture, the bin has broken yet again and the solution now seems to place the garbage bag on top of the lid…

    So I’m looking forward to witnessing new levels of brilliance and stupidity šŸ™‚

    • rolfje says:

      The pictures were actually quite old, I didn’t take the time to write this post until now. Although the bin has been repaired, the images are still relevant enough to the current situation šŸ™‚

      Given the current usage, it will break sooner or later…

  2. Enrique says:

    Perhaps our facility manager thinks developers do not wash hands after a visit to the toilet.

  3. Bas says:

    Dear dr. Restroom,

    I must admit I have place a piece of paper in one of my companies restrooms with the text “Laat u het thuis ook zo achter?”. That, of course, didn’t solve the problem of people urinating everywhere and not cleaning up the mess aftwards.

    Would you be so kind to share with me your thoughts on this problem?

    I’m in urgent need.


  4. rolfje says:

    Dear mr. Bas,

    We see your problem is of the advanced level. People urinating everywhere are not simply inconsiderate, they have a serious problem -illness if you will- and must be helped. We advise you to take the following measures:

    1) Place the desks of some “carefully selected colleagues” closer to the urinals, so that the time between detecting bladder problems and dropping pants is minimized.

    2) Rebuild the toilets, remove the urinals and design it like a walk-in shower. This will remove any need to aim. Pressing the “flush” button should activate multiple shower heads. This may add the added benefit of having showered colleagues.

    3) Add water resistant screens into the wall the “customer” needs to face when urinating. Have a slideshow of delightful pictures on it. If your budget is more modest, choose a pin-up calendar. This will work just as well, but you may have to laminate it.

    4) Depending on their ability to make it to the toilet without leaking, you may want to schedule a blind date with a urologist and/or proctologist for some of your colleagues. Be discrete and friendly about this.

    We hope these measures will alleviate some of the problems. Until they do, you might want to get a pair of rubber boots, and strong disinfectant.

    Kind regards,
    the solution dept.

  5. Sybren says:

    The issue with the toilet-incompatible paper towels was exacerbated by the absence of regular toilet paper. Apparently there were colleagues who used the last paper without putting up a new roll. So what is one to do, when the only whipy-thingy isn’t allowed to swim in our sewage disposal system?

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