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The Top 3 Reasons Why Savvy Operations Managers Choose the Briefcase Commode Instead of a Porta-Potty for Remote Teams and Worksites

For millions of people who work on remote job sites in construction, clean energy, public utilities and more, lavatory access isn’t a given, but it is key to maintaining sanitation and a safe and productive work environment. For the last 80 years, the porta-potty has served the need in all but the most remote environments, but anyone who has ever used one knows that a porta-potty leaves a lot to be desired. For operations and safety managers, the choices you make regarding facilities for your remote teams affect CapEx, OpEx, employee health, efficiency, and even turnover. But are there alternatives to a porta-potty?

A Better Way to Go

Today there is an alternative to the classic porta-potty.  The Briefcase Commode, recently introduced by Brief Relief is a lightweight, sturdy, and highly portable solution that, unlike bucket-based portable toilets, comes in a collapsible, briefcase-sized formfactor that weighs only 7 lbs. and can be set up in seconds.  When used in conjunction with a pop-up privacy tent and Disposa-John portable restroom bags, the Briefcase Commode is the most versatile portable toilet solution available

These incidents, which are not isolated, deteriorate a company’s credibility and reputation.

Briefcase Commode

There are many reasons why the Briefcase Commode is superior to the classic porta-potty for the user including the absence of messy, smelly chemicals and waste storage tanks.  But for the operations decision maker, the benefits break down into the following three attributes.

A Versatile Portable Toilet

There are some places you just can’t take a porta-potty. To maintain OSHA compliance, companies must provide adequate access to restroom services, meaning employees must be able to access them in 10 minutes or less. Urban sprawl has exacerbated this challenge with 80% of future electric, gas, water and waste to residential and commercial plans designated in areas that are difficult to deliver and service a porta-potty per EPA and OSHA requirements.

It is hard to imagine getting a porta-potty to a crew inspecting power lines deep in the mountains. The Briefcase Commode, on the other hand, is light and small enough to transport in a crew’s vehicle and its three-leg design provides stability on uneven terrain. With the exceptions of under water or outer space, it’s hard to imagine a place you couldn’t take the Briefcase Commode. What’s more, it transforms from a convenient carrying case to fully functional outdoor restroom in just a few seconds.

1. Pull out each leg until it snaps into place.

Illustration of setting up Briefcase Commode

2. Press thumb tabs to remove lid.

Illustration of setting up Briefcase Commode

3. Unfold the foil bag.

Opened Disposa-John Solid and Liquid Waste Bag

4. Set foil bag inside the commode and unfold the waste bag.

Illustration of placing Disposa-John in the Briefcase Commode for use

5. The seat holds the waste bag in place or alternatively, the waste bag can cover the seat to keep the seat clean.

Illustration of placing Disposa-John in the Briefcase Commode for use

6. After use, lift bag with the attached draw straps. Holding the straps together, slide the liner closed and tie straps. Tuck the liner inside the foil bag and firmly seal the zip-top.

Illustration of Disposa-John Solid and Liquid waste bag being opened

7. Dispose of the used foil bag in any trash receptacle, and remember, unlike the chemicals in most porta-potties, the sealed bag is landfill safe.

Illustration of used waste bag being thrown in a trash bin

The Most Sanitary Portable Restroom

Current OSHA guidelines require one portable restroom for every 10 workers. However, since the start of the COVD-19 pandemic, the Portable Sanitation Association International, and many leading construction companies have updated the septic waste standard to at least one restroom toilet for every eight workers. Portable restrooms should be spaced to accommodate social distancing and avoid creating lines or choke points.

Additionally, the guidance of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) says portable restrooms should be cleaned by your service provider, at minimum, two times a week. Between cleanings, high-touch areas of each restroom unit should be disinfected at least three times a day using an EPA-approved hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectant solution.

As pointed out in our recent blog post, “Your Business Reputation is on the Line When it Comes to Remote Bathroom Solutions” a standard porta-potty is a hotbed of viruses including Norovirus, Salmonella, Shigellosis, Hepatitis A, Seasonal Flu, and over the past year, COVID-19.

The Briefcase Commode employs single-use waste collection bags and kits that include antimicrobial wipes and toilet paper for extra sanitation. The commode is made of durable plastic that can be thoroughly cleaned after each use with spray disinfect or wipes, helping to keep employees in a multi-user environment safe and healthy. Additionally, the privacy shelter not only provides personal privacy at any outside worksite, but also ventilation to let airborne microbes out.


Illnesses contracted at work from the lack of sanitary conditions can mean significant losses of employee productivity, but that isn’t the only factor. Productivity is lost for remote workers who need to travel an excessive distance to access bathrooms. Walking to and from porta-potties, waiting in line, and walking back again can take 15 minutes per trip or 45 minutes per day of lost productivity, which costs employers an average of $6000 per year per employee. And if that walk to the porta-potty takes more than 10 minutes, OSHA fines can hurt the bottom line even more.

Because the Briefcase Commode goes where your employees go, it is available on-demand wherever it needs to be.

Summing it All Up

In summary, the Briefcase Commode offers your employees a clean, sturdy, private, and convenient restroom experience when they need it, where they need it. Whether they are a construction team on top of a skyscraper or a public utilities team deep in the back woods, there is not a more sanitary or portable lavatory system available. When you are considering versatility, sanitation, employee health, and team productivity, the Briefcase Commode wins out over a porta-potty every time.