to want to sit at work with the blinds open and no heater on?

(90 Posts)
Iwantsun Tue 15-Apr-14 13:13:02

I share an office with a colleague who has a disability. I am not sure what it is and she has never disclosed the nature of it, just that she has one.

The weather is absolutely gorgeous at the moment. The minute she gets in, she closes all the blinds, claims it is freezing and has the heater on all day. She puts the lights on because she has closed the blinds. I am fed up of sitting all day in the dark roasting because of the heater.

I have dropped several hints that she should wear more layers but she prefers to sit in a thin dress with the heater blaring on.

I have spoken to my line manager and he says he cannot do anything about the situation because of her disability. There is no other room for me or her to move to.

I just want some sun and fresh air sad

withextradinosaurs Wed 16-Apr-14 07:00:36

If her requirements mean she can't effectively share an office, your employer might have to put her on her own somewhere. I needed to use voice recognition software for a while, which worked better if I wasn't sharing. My employers huffed and puffed but found me a solo office in the end. It was in a different building though! Also I had an occcupational health letter which stated my requirement to use VR. Does she have an occupational health assessmenta. Can you encourage your line manager to get her one?

Do you have "near miss" forms at your work? Like accident reports but where an accident only nearly happened?

Keep filling them in saying you feel faint because of the temperature.

SarahAndFuck Wed 16-Apr-14 07:09:07

Can you go to lost property or the charity shop and bring a job lot of cardigans, jumpers and wraps into the office so when she forgets to dress suitably in a morning she can still put something on once she gets to the office?

And I believe they have sunshine in Florida, so whatever she's planning to do about the light out there should surely work here as well. Unless she's planning to make Florida pull all it's blinds down and turn it's lights on all day?

She is entitled to have her work space reviewed and adjusted so that it is suitable for her disability.

I can't see that this will involve needing the blinds closed and the heating on, but it might mean that she gets to move her desk away from the windows if possible.

Can that be done anyway? Can she move to the back of the office and you to the front or whatever, so you are by the windows and she is not?

Or can you open the blinds at your side but she have her back to the light?

Can you have an office screen installed, so that she has a partition between her and the windows? They can be very effective for blocking light and drafts.

Or can you say that you will open the blinds in the morning but close them later in the day (or vice versa) so they are open when the full sun is not on your office window but you still get part of the day with daylight on you?

And get a fan for your desk so you have something to combat the heat? Ask your boss to pay for this fan, so he can then see the pointlessness of running a heating system and a cooling system simultaneously in the same office.

And while you are at it, ask for those lightbulbs to be fitted, the ones that are meant to be like daylight, so he can also see the pointlessness of sitting in the dark under artificial lights when you could just have a bit of daylight now and again.

LoveBeingCantThinkOfAName Wed 16-Apr-14 07:21:21

They haven't paid out that much without knowing what's wrong, that doesn't mean you have a right to know what it is. They have as much responsibility for your working conditions as hers.

As I said before you need to do a dse and should also look her at upper temps for work. Basically tgey have made provision for Her complaining it's cold but not for you complaining it hot.

You need to raise this formally with your manage, it's not about her, you are raising concern over your working conditions it's up to them to resolve it.

Sunnydaysablazeinhope Wed 16-Apr-14 07:25:51

Ask your manager again, verbally. Nicely. Log Time, date and what you say and his response again. Specifically say as previously several times verbally if am not happy because of x y z situation. Be specific which changes you need to talk about (talk as there may not be much compromise but a few degrees)

Give it a couple of weeks. Then email him saying you had x conversation and nothing happened. You wish to raise it with him to the person responsible for occupational health. There will be one, it comes via health and safety. I mean it as it's illegal to operate without cooperating with H&S regulations. Note his response.

Couple of weeks later, chase.

You will have to be a bit 'dog with a bone' but he needs to see this is serious not a whine.

In offices few things are more controversial than temp!

Albaba Wed 16-Apr-14 07:26:30

I work in a medium size office. In my group there would be 6 people and I think that I am the only normal one. This pisses me off every year. There are two women and they start moaning about how it is absolutely freezing from about September and this continues right away through the year until about spring. So we have storage heaters which sit under your desk which are to be used if it is really cold ie December or January. So the two of them literally sit on top of these heaters from about September. One of them even brings in a blanket to put round her legs like a pensioner!!

On the other hand one man and one woman always feel the heat. He would be sitting with his fan on while the other two would be sitting on top of their radiators. The woman wants to have the window open and then the other two complain about getting a draught.

Sometimes I think that I am the only normal one who works in the office. There is no air conditioning in the office so open the window in the summer and use fans and it has central heating in the winter. Also I know to dress sensibly layers in the winter so you can add or take away and less in the summer. I am very easy going so don't get involved in the too hot, too cold dispute but doesn't mean that it doesn't piss me off. It's the same every year so you are not on your own with infuriating colleagues.

Sunnydaysablazeinhope Wed 16-Apr-14 07:28:33

As love says it's about you. Don't say anything like 'because of her'. Just I am hot. It affects my work. I want this looked at.

Sookster Wed 16-Apr-14 07:30:42

Can you bypass the line manager and either go to HR or the manager above your manager?
I'm all for people with disabilities being able to work but to have such specific needs seems unreasonable.
And she better get her very dark glasses out for Florida.

PenguinBear Wed 16-Apr-14 07:33:25

You need to say to your line manager that uses things change e.g. You are moved (or she is) then you will be taking things further.

I'd then speak to HR and log it and then potentially take out a grievance depending on how it goes with HR. There must be somewhere in the building for one of you to move to, even if it's on a different floor.

Cornettoninja Wed 16-Apr-14 07:46:41

I think you need to push your manager to review the office environment with the person who did her assessment - and she's clearly had one if they've spent that much money on her. Then your manager can have support to approach her.

If she feels the cold and it affects her health it's definitely not UR to expect her to utilise ways of warming up (jumper, slanket, wheat packs etc.) that don't impact everyone else.

I'm not sure how you'll fare with the blinds though, I'm presuming the lights in the office are on (if not that's unacceptable and h&s, you need adequate light), but you can get other types of blinds that will minimise glare while letting the light through.

Be generous and try to remember that these things might actually cause her genuine discomfort, it doesn't mean she gets to dictate everyone else's environment though.

I agree with the strategy of reporting every time you feel the consequences - feeling faint from heat, eye strain/headaches if you are working in a dimly lit room.

Personally I find it really hard to breathe in stuffy rooms, I don't have any illnesses but couldn't bare having to work in air that's overheated and thick so you have my sympathies.

Iwantsun Wed 16-Apr-14 08:29:50

Thanks for all your advice and support everyone thanks

I wll go to line manager one more time, and then if he doesn't do anything I will take it direct to HR

I will make sure I focus on the environment, that it is dark and too hot rather than saying it is her - thank you for that. I have been blaming her which is not the best approach

I will get a break next week because she will be in Florida!

Iwantsun Wed 16-Apr-14 08:31:27

It's the same every year so you are not on your own with infuriating colleagues

Thanks for that Albaba I have been getting so annoyed!

Hissy Wed 16-Apr-14 14:28:36

While she is away, you really DO need to kick over this hornet's nest.

Open the blinds, bin the bloody heater and call a meeting with your line manager and your HR and state that IF this woman has a condition that she can't bear light WTAF is she doing on holiday in bloody florida then?

Assuming she comes back with a tan ffs, she has no issue with light then.

t

Hissy Wed 16-Apr-14 14:30:10

... but yes, focussing on the office environment and how it affects the rest of the team is probably the best way forward...

Teabellie Wed 16-Apr-14 14:53:33

Albaba I am the same, for all you know they have poor circulation, or Raynaud's, which means they're cold.

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