User Conflict

It’s an issue that comes up over and over again. User conflict. How do you manage your park for dog lovers, hikers, bikers, radio control car enthusiasts, runners, joggers, baseball players, picnickers and on and on.

Whether it’s a lake, a park, a sports complex or an aquatics facility, decisions have to be made, priorities set and, in the end, somebody’s happy and somebody’s not (usually that’s you – the one caught in the middle playing diplomat).

Well, relax. I’m here to tell you, you’re not alone. In our little office in beautiful, sunny, Medina, Ohio we too face daily user conflict issues. Of course, us creative types responsible for collecting and spreading parks and recreation information worldwide had to put our own spin on the problem. You see, we only have one bathroom in our office.

Granted, it’s large, clean and nicely lit. But, there’s no changing the fact that it’s unisex.

How I overlooked this little design flaw when I rented the space seven years ago is beyond me. Of course, I also haven’t moved locations, so maybe that means we’re managing the situation well.

In any event, this one-room bathroom feature has created many a funny situation over the years (our employees may not be teenagers, but they sure know how to dance!) and, in a weird way has brought us closer together.

New employees quickly learn the art of managing the bathroom.

1. Keep a keen eye on your coffee consumption

2. Don’t wait to the last minute

3. If a spot in the rotation opens up, move on it quickly

4. If a true emergency develops, head next door to the American Red Cross offices

5. And, of course, always put the seat down

It would be wrong to say a “usage schedule” has developed, but as the self-proclaimed “Lord of the Bathroom” – my office is right across the hall from it – I can say that the ebb and flow of employees in and out of the little room has become a time-worn dance with nary an emergency arising in months.

This issue is chock full of ideas and resources designed to help you resolve user conflicts in your organizations whether it be in your public waterways or management style.

And, of course, we’d love to hear from you about your common sense solutions. Just get them to me quickly – before my next turn in the rotation.

Till next month,

Rodney J. Auth