Yawning at Work: Rules on Open Mouths in the Workplace

A cartoon man at work yawning heavily
Slap him with disciplinary action!

From the likes of pandiculation through to actively falling asleep at their desks, your employees will yawn at work. What can your business do about it?

Unfortunately, yawning in the workplace is a legal right under the Yawning at Work Act 1992. However, there are certain steps you can take to control the issue to ensure productivity.

The Right to Yawn at Work

Whilst you may look at a yawn as an act of gross negligence, insubordination, or misconduct, it is also a common bodily function.

As with using the toilet at work, yawning employees are a bit weird and it’s gross but you should just try and deal with it.

The reality is, you may have staff members turning up to work who’ll yawn due to:

  • Hangovers.
  • Newborn babies keeping them up all night.
  • Raging arguments due to relationships.
  • Collapsing marriages.
  • Drug addiction.
  • Abduction by aliens.
  • Antipathy towards the role they’re in.

Every time you see an employee yawn, as an employer your blood very well may boil. However, you should control your urges to power trip like crazy and respect employment law.

It’s good business practice to choose a specific room for all yawn-based activities. This can then keep yawning to a minimum in more open working areas.

Under the Yawning at Work Act 1992, guidelines stipulate:

“You should designate a specific room for employees to yawn in. Once this room is established, hold lengthy training sessions in this room indicating how, and when, members of staff should involuntarily open their mouths to inhale due to tiredness and/or boredom.

Whilst they partake in the aforementioned yawning, you should remonstrate with them about why your working environment is highly stimulating and that they should not be yawning at all.

Remind them they should, in fact, be arriving at work each day amazed at the sheer privilege of getting to work for your business. This should not induce yawning. Unless it is a yawn of sheer astonishment.

Should an individual then mention there are thousands of other businesses they could work for in the local area, fire them on the spot. That is insubordination and also a little too close to reality for you to deal with. Better to bury such realisations beneath a raging ego.”

So, how does one go about choosing which room is suitable? We cover this below.

Choosing a Designated Yawning Room

There are healthy and safety considerations to be wary of when picking a suitable room for only yawning.

For example, you shouldn’t choose a room that:

  • Is near to a smoking shelter, which would lead to passive smoking and widespread addiction problems across your workforce.
  • Has major construction work in the vicinity, as an employee may be yawning and then suddenly have a steel beam slam into their face.
  • Is near to other employees offended by yawning.
  • Is next to a visitors’ room, which could make your workforce look really bored to unsuspecting visitors.

Instead, choose a room tucked away from everyone else where employees can head to yawn as much as they require.

Ensure this room is in quick sprinting distance of various locations (such as main working areas), should the urge to yawn suddenly overwhelm a member of staff.

The room should be large enough to contain at least 30 individuals simultaneously—have an active air conditioning system to remove the yawn stench from the room.

Punishment System For Failed Yawning Attempts

Should an employee fail to yawn in the designated room, you should have a disciplinary system in place to monitor insubordination.

You can use a scoring system to check the number of times employees break your rules. For example:

  • One missed yawn will lead to the removal of the lunch break for that working day.
  • Two missed yawns will result in a disciplinary hearing.
  • Three missed yawns will result in 30 public lashings from a rusty chain.
  • Four missed yawns will result in a public execution using a guillotine.

However, you can scale this system as you see fit. It doesn’t have to be quite as draconian as our suggested system.

But the more brutal it is, the less chance there is of someone slacking off and yawning at their desk. Which is just disgusting.


  1. I’d like to institute a similar program for people who eat at their desks and chew loudly. Nothing in the world makes me wish I were somewhere else (even if that means jumping out the 50th story window) than that.

    Liked by 1 person

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