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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

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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...

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.


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!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 07:25:51

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!

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.

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.

giraffesCantBoogie Wed 16-Apr-14 07:04:51

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.

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?

stolemyusername Wed 16-Apr-14 06:54:50

Take the blinds down and cut the plug off the heater while she is in Florida smile

You are going to have to go to HR about this though.

Thattimeofyearagain Wed 16-Apr-14 06:50:30

Hi op. I have a condition that has affected the back of my eye, so that normal light levels seem like blazing sunshine.
I have glasses to deal with this. They were massively discounted. Cost me no more than normal single vision lenses.

Andrewofgg Wed 16-Apr-14 06:38:36

Open the blinds, lower the heating, and if she closes them and turns it up, open them again and lower it again. TNS. Your employer only has to make "reasonable" adjustments for her and has to have regard for your health, which is not promoted by sitting in the dark and in an over-heated room. Good luck.

MrsGeneKelly Wed 16-Apr-14 06:01:37

My eyes are sensitive, I wear sunglasses when they are bothering me, I have some that fit right over my regular glasses.
What if you were suffering from S.A.D.? (seasonal affective disorder) and needed that sunlight to help you fight depression? I don't think she is trying very hard to be thoughtful to those around her.

Nennypops Wed 16-Apr-14 00:02:19

I think you'll need to go to your line manager and put to him the points that have been made on this thread, i.e.:
1. Colleague almost certainly can get special glasses cheaply if she needs them for her disability. He needs to get HR to check for her.
2. Her disability does not mean that she can demand that the heating be put on because she can't be bothered to bring in a cardigan or jumper. He needs to double-check with HR that there is no reason why she can't wear jumpers, vests etc and, if there isn't any reason, he needs to tell her that she has to meet you half way and put on warmer clothes. She would not be able to complain legitimately about this.

And I think you need to tell him that if he isn't prepared to sort this out you will have no choice but to go to HR yourself.

kinkyfuckery Tue 15-Apr-14 22:24:08

Tell your line manager if nothing is done about your working conditions you will take it further.

Can't they put either of you in a different office?

Though, I'm feeling this is getting slightly more unbelievable with reference to a holiday in Florida hmm

FunkyBoldRibena Tue 15-Apr-14 22:11:18

Isn't being in the dark a major health and safety risk? Trip up a few times and you might find the blinds open again.

feebeecat Tue 15-Apr-14 22:01:48

Isn't it quite bright in Florida??

We have someone similar in our office, think manager is also scared of her. We have regular moves and she just gets passed on to annoy someone else for a while. Not had my turn yet and am lost as to why no one has cut the plug off her heater yet and told her to dress appropriately?! Guess I'll probably find out when my turn comes tbugrin
Do like the charity shop hideous cardie idea though.

Hissy Tue 15-Apr-14 21:43:53

You will have to go to HR tbh.

Iwantsun Tue 15-Apr-14 21:39:22

She has a special chair that the company paid for that cost £1500. She has a special keyboard, mouse and foot rest, not her £500

That is fine, just wish they would pay for a dark room to be kitted out for her then she can cook herself silly in the dark away from me grin

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