One of my co-workers went on a special diet lately as part of a fitness regime and he’s had a major flatulence problem ever since. I know it is not his fault, but I work in the cubicle next to his and I frequently have to endure smells I’d rather not have to smell. Do I just have to put up with this?
Of course not. Buy and wear a gas mask. Problem solved.
— Evil Skippy
Are you on a friendly basis with this guy? Not friendly as in you smile and say good morning every day – but friendly as in you could conceivably have a conversation with him about the fumes. (“Hey Bob – are you trying to kill me? Get some Beano or head outside before the next attack.”)
If you are not close enough to him for the incredibly direct approach, you could take the sneaky option. When you find yourself alone with him, ask if he’s noticed the smells and whether he has any idea who might be the culprit. Don’t do this in a group because you don’t want to gang up on the guy unless he is doing this on purpose. (I once investigated a harassment case where the alleged harasser employed the Hit and Run Gas Attack.)
If the problem is chronic, talk to your supervisor. Dealing with issues like this is the reason supervisors make the Big Bucks. (If it is just a once-in-a-while event, consider doing nothing. You don’t want to be a whiner.)
In the meantime, buy a small fan for your desk. The sooner you can circulate the air, the sooner the stench will dissipate. (I had to do this when I worked for a major law firm – and it worked). Go with an electric fan. Unless you are a southern belle or a geisha, waving a hand fan around looks strange.
Happy breathing. (By the way, you can find our Top Ten Tips regarding smelly co-workers in a post from 2010: Help! My Co-Worker Smells!)
Readers – what would you do about this ecological hazard?