No Room at the Inn

(13 Posts)
SunnyL Fri 01-Nov-13 10:22:25

I'm a little peeved at the moment and I can't tell if I should/could raise it as an issue with my employers or not.

I went in this week to discuss my return to work in January after maternity leave. Since I've been away they have employed a number of new staff. There is limited office space and therefore one of these people has been allocated my desk. I've now been told that while I will be welcome back to the office in January there is currently no desk available for me so I will either have to work in the open plan with the admin staff (I'm a senior technical consultant) or 'hot-desk'.

Apparently my old desk is not available to me because I'm coming back part-time (3.5 days a week with a view to increasing this to 4 days) and I don't warrant a full-time desk.

I'm peeved because the person who has been given my desk is a) temporary, b) more junior to me and c) only here 2.5 days a week.

I've said the open plan is not an option for me as when I was a junior I had to work out there and it was incredibly noisy, distracting and meant my productivity was very low. I said I could do hot desking as a short-term solution but that I had my doubts about it given how messy my colleagues leave their desks. I said if they forced me to work in the open plan then I'd end up working from home far more which would make it difficult for me to remain integrated in the team.

Am I being snotty or should I just put up with the lack of desk space?

baffledmum Fri 01-Nov-13 13:23:35

There is an element to you being snotty, yes grin I am a manager where I work and sit in the open plan, goodness knows why sitting with "admin staff" is seen as a comedown. You sound archaic and out of touch. Put some ear plugs in for goodness sake and tell people to pipe down if they are making too much noise.

If you raise it I would leave out perceived status and the fact that the other person is temporary. I would only raise the number of days in the office.

If you are hotdesking then your team manager should ask people to clear their desks at the end of each day and make sure the desks are cleaned. I do share my desk and think it's a courtesy.

magnumicelolly Fri 01-Nov-13 14:14:21

Can you have your old desk for the 1.5 days the other person is not in it, then work from home the other day?

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 01-Nov-13 14:19:39

I'm afraid this is one of these situations where out of sight is out of mind.

We had a desk restructure issued yesterday and I didn't even appear in it - I had been left out as I just joined the team a few weeks ago. I very politely pointed it out and they were very nice about it and told me I didn't have to move, phew.

Anyway, I share your frustrations but I think you need to be a bit more diplomatic about it. At our place we now have a locations board that everyone fills in - means you know automatically if there are any spare desks. Also as hot-desking is in place the company needs to have some rules around desk tidiness, so suggest they bring these in.

I hear what baffled mum is saying, but I can't say I'd be happy about coming back from mat leave and being removed from the people I am meant to be working with, particularly as you are part time. I'd go for the hot desking, but let them know you want first dibs on any free desk.

SunnyL Fri 01-Nov-13 17:39:28

Thanks for all your responses. I'm keen to avoid the open plan as I find it really hard to concentrate there but also I'm a little worried that by sitting apart from the technical team I'll start to lose out. From not being considered for jobs that come up or for people's perceptions of my rank in the company (only juniors or tech staff sit in the open plan).

The more I think about it the more I think hot desking, while not ideal, could have some hidden benefits in that I will get to mix with more members of the technical team and interact with folks I don't see a great deal of.

I'll try to come off my humpy grumpy horse about it. It just hurt that 6 years service and being a senior member of the team didn't seem to count for anything.

baffledmum Fri 01-Nov-13 19:04:45

Where do the technical team sit and how do they sit? Are they in an open plan of their own?

SunnyL Fri 01-Nov-13 20:38:19

The technical team are in smaller side rooms - generally 3-4 people per room. I had a fantastic desk before I left. Corner office, views over the parkland, well ventilated in summer and warm in winter.

The open plan is too hot in summer, too cold in winter, has no views, has no doors so if you need to have a Skype conference call the whole room has to listen in. It's rubbish. Guess I'll just have to suck it up though.

Strumpetron Fri 01-Nov-13 20:43:47

I've seen this from the other side.

A woman left on maternity, I was employed to do her work and had her desk for a year. When she came back she promptly shoved all my stuff into a bin bag (office supplies, photos, personal items etc) and put all her stuff there. The area manager saw this and had words with her and said she'd been allocated another desk and it whilst it was her rights to return to her previous job, it wasn't in her rights to have the same desk.

I'm in the same situation AGAIN this time and the woman comes back soon and I'm worried about it happening again. I really don't want someone going mad at me because of what she thinks of as her desk.

Please don't be like that with them. And the 'junior' bit does sound a bit snotty to be honest.

BonaDea Fri 01-Nov-13 21:11:17

This is ridiculous and not at all snotty. It matters how you are perceived and if in your company technical consultants have offices and admin staff are in open plan it is not reasonable for you to be put with the admin staff by virtue of you having taken your maternity leave.

I think you should raise it. They are treating you less favourably because of mat leave and / or part time status and that is unlawful.

SunnyL Sat 02-Nov-13 07:37:33

Sorry Strumpetron the Junior / Senior thing is reflected by our job titles. As a Senior I have large financial targets to meet each year. Juniors have no financial targets as they are expected to support us Seniors. If we dont meet these targets it can mean redundancies. I lost one of my best work friends a couple of years ago through this which I still feel really bad about. It is one of the reasons I worry about my productivity.

Bonadea now Ive calmed down I can kind of see where they are coming from. Cos of lack of space Im asking them to move another member of the technical team out in favour of me. Actually Im asking that they move this bloke back to his old desk in the open plan while I get my old desk back with the technical team.

Arggg. Never thought Id get this upset over a desk!

nicelyneurotic Sun 03-Nov-13 10:18:53

I sympathise. It must feel like you're being singled out as no one else has to hot desk.

I would agree for a limited time only. Once I was in this position. I hated it. I felt unvalued and it was not ideal being so far away from people I needed to work with. Some days there wasn't even a desk for me and I had to move about all day taking people's desks while they were in meetings! It really harmed productivity.

It's also unhygienic. The state of some people's desks... yuck!

I'd give them a few weeks to sort out a regular desk. Then I'd have words about being singled out, your working life being made more difficult and being discriminated against as a part timer.

SunnyL Sun 03-Nov-13 13:33:05

Thanks Nicely. Sounds like a sensible plan and I can't really see them arguing against it. Watch this space!

baffledmum Sun 03-Nov-13 22:40:20

This doesn't feel like discrimination under the law to me. I have been sat thinking it over during the weekend as I work 4 days a week and on the 5th day a colleague who works 3 days sits at "my" desk. If I go in on the 5th day I have to sit elsewhere.

I think your better option is to get to the bottom of why someone working 2.5 days has a bigger claim to the desk than you do. Just ask what the criteria are in terms of allocating space.

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