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to think that a desk, chair and working computer isn't expecting too much?!

(24 Posts)
velvetspoon Wed 19-Nov-14 19:28:54

I work for (although am not employed by, my employers have a contract with this firm) a fairly large,well-known company.

Because of the role I do (kind of, but not quite management), I don't have a permanent desk. None of the managers do. However for the last 2 years, there have always been fewer people than desks, so space hasn't been a problem.

As of the end of this week, due to recruitment, that will cease to be the case and there will be no spare desks at all. There will be a couple of spaces every day because of holidays and sickness, but as there are 8 of us without desks it's unlikely there will be enough spares.

So I have nowhere to sit. The managers don't really need desks because they have laptops and blackberrys, but will take them anyway. I can't be given a laptop because I work for an external company. But I won't have a desk either.

I have flagged it with everyone I can, and the response is a laissez faire something will get sorted out, which it clearly won't. I'm not exactly enjoying my job at present, this desk nonsense feels like the final straw. I just really resent, with 20 years experience in my field, going round desk by desk asking I I can sit there like bloody Tiny Tim or something!!

DoJo Wed 19-Nov-14 19:41:10

Can you work from home? Working in pyjamas rocks!
However, this is an issue - have you come up with a plan for the first time you get to work and have nowhere to sit? Do you think they are trying to get unpaid overtime out of people who want somewhere to sit and so will turn up at dawn to nab a desk?

velvetspoon Wed 19-Nov-14 19:47:18

I'm not allowed to work from home.

I can't see how i can plan, beyond flagging it to everyone, which I've done. There just is nowhere to sit. I am starting to feel ill worrying about how I can get my work done, i have various reports and training to write for which i need systems access.

Because i am not an actual employee, i can't really sit anywhere other than my current dept, except i won't be able to sit there either!

TheAlias Wed 19-Nov-14 19:53:57

What do you think they should do? Rather than telling people what's wrong can you tell them what needs doing to put it right, or tell them what you're going to do to put it right?

I had a similar situation in my last job - I was a contractor and there weren't enough desks. It was very much our problem to resolve and a very dim view was taken of people who complained or used it as an excuse not to get things done.

We implemented a desk booking system which covered everyone, staff and contractors and found space in other local offices that we could book if necessary.

DoJo Wed 19-Nov-14 19:54:42

By plan I meant have you got someone that you can go to, stand next to their desk and point out that you have nowhere to work? Or someone who deals with your contract who you can pass the buck to if you are unable to actually do the job they are paying you for? Or could you go and see someone in HR (either at your company or the one you are working for) and point out that these arrangements are causing you significant stress and you would like things resolved asap? It sounds like a massive pain in the arse, but there's no way you should be worrying this much over it when there is clearly nothing you can do.

ghostyslovesheep Wed 19-Nov-14 19:56:14

welcome to the hell that is 'hot desking' a recipe for resentment and germs - I sympathise

velvetspoon Wed 19-Nov-14 20:05:26

There are no nearby offices. The next nearest is 160 miles away. I could go to my employers office, however as I am not based there, I don't have a desk either. I might be able to find one, but I wouldn't have any access to the systems I need from there, so that's no help.

There are no contractors, no-one works from home. The only way there will be free desks is holidays or sickness, and in a dept of 150, it's unlikely enough people will be sick/ on hols to give us all a desk.

I can let my manager know if I don't have a desk, he'll be the first person I tell, but he'll pass the buck to the office manager who I expect will shrug and say there's nothing he can do...

HR are probably my only hope tbh!

seesensepeople Wed 19-Nov-14 20:11:14

Your employer is paying you to do a job for this company. In the contact there will be obligations on both sides. There is probably something in there about the company providing you with the facilities to do the job. I would speak to your employer. If its not in the contract then its a learning curve for them!

WhizzFucker Wed 19-Nov-14 21:31:42

I don't understand why they can't issue you a networked laptop. If they trust you on their systems there is no more issue with a laptop than letting you hotdesk. Would there be somewhere to sit and work if you had one?

LaurieFairyCake Wed 19-Nov-14 21:37:05

There will be enough desks if you turn up early - get in at 7.15 and leave at 4 - job done grin

itispronouncedpenguin Wed 19-Nov-14 22:09:48

This is the reality (and future) for a lot of UK employees. Flexibility for the employer, not the worker. Raise this issue, raise it again, keep asking what they're going to do until they can give you a concrete plan. You cant just be left to stand in a corner all day.

Can you tell I'm not a fan of hotdesking

velvetspoon Wed 19-Nov-14 22:57:02

I cant have a laptop because I'm not an employee. Laptops are pretty scarce anyway, in our particular area only 2 very senior people (employees of course!) have them.

I could possibly get a laptop loan from my employers, but I couldn't connect it to the systems in my office as they don't allow any foreign equipment to be connected. So that's out.

The problem with getting in early is the other 150 people in the office have their own desks. It's just 8 of us that don't. I can only sit in the seats of those 150 if they are on hols/sick. But the other 7 get priority over me, so I'd have to give up a seat for them. Plus until the team leaders get in at 9 I wouldn't be able to find out who was off and what seats were spare.

I just have visions of not doing any work at all for days, and then getting bollocked when I can't meet deadlines.

NormaStits Wed 19-Nov-14 23:42:54

I don't have a solution to the actual desk/sseating issue, but every day, record how long it has taken you to find a seat and either holdonto the record or email it to your manager every day. This way you are at least covering yourself for any deadlines being missed.

Isabeller Wed 19-Nov-14 23:47:57

Not that I know a thing about the relevant law but you sound as if you are in danger of constructive dismissal if the system fails to 'magically' work of it's own accord and you find yourself unable to meet contractual obligations.

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 19-Nov-14 23:59:17

Get one of those inflatable armchairs, blow it up and sit in the middle of the office. Let them know first thing in the morning what you won't be doing that day i.e. anything that requires a desk.

bunchoffives Thu 20-Nov-14 00:04:39

Leave a paper trail - email with lots of CCs to anyone likely to help/hold you to account. Focus on solutions in your messages.

slightlyglitterstained Thu 20-Nov-14 00:27:06

Okay, so despite not having a laptop, you'll be expected to vacate your desk when a laptop bearing senior manager turns up, instead of a colleague who can go sit in another dept/work from home?

Changing that priority could be one suggestion - let them kick out someone who can work from home.

Another suggestion: give you access to the leave calendar (or at least the number of people on leave that week.) Then you can plan ahead for weeks where there'll be no "planned" access for you. Perhaps they could then pair you with someone who can work from home that week, while you use their desk.

Ask HR to confirm that in the event of there being no way for you to do your job, you will not be asked to take leave or disciplined for unfinished work.

50ShadesofNope Thu 20-Nov-14 00:53:57

OP I have an almost identical situation. My old desk has been taken over because my hours have dropped and now I'm being made to jump around the office depending on who is in. Infuriating doesn't cover it!

Thankfully my constant complaints gentle suggestions that they find me a work station so I can actually do my job haven't gone unnoticed and they've sorted something out but it took some doing.

I agree going to HR to clarify your position and asking for support until it has been sorted. Good luck!

Want2bSupermum Thu 20-Nov-14 01:09:21

Hotdesking sucks. Go to HR and the office manager, cc your employer and set out how you want to resolve.

FWIW I think this gimmick is the biggest time waster ever. The person who thought of this deserves to live on an 8 bed hospital ward with no curtain for privacy. My back is so sore from sitting at a desk not set up right. These companies are being beyond cheap and it cuts into productivity much more than anyone in mgmt realizes. I'm in the US and all the big 4 do it but not many outside of that group do. Praying it doesn't catch on everywhere!

t3rr3gl35 Thu 20-Nov-14 05:34:00

I was in a similar situation a couple of years ago and regularly found myself without a desk. In sheer frustration and trying to meet deadlines, I eventually set up my laptop on the visitors side of the reception desk and worked from there, greeting every visitor with a big smile and cheerfully answering any questions regarding my unusual work area. Miraculously, a permanent desk was appointed to me within days.

greenfolder Thu 20-Nov-14 06:32:28

In my office, team leaders put a desk vacant sign,in effect an a3 sheet of paper over the chair of anyone off the following day. Simple but effective. They also do it later if someone is sick. As long as someone checks that they are doing it every now ans again it is fine

UsedToBeAPaxmanFan Thu 20-Nov-14 06:37:20

we're in this situation at work, where there is one desk for every two employees. It works (just!) because at any one time people are out at meetings, on training, annual leave etc. However, there are two fundamental principles which allow it to work

1. no-one has a fixed desk - all desks are hot-desks
2. employees with a laptop have to give up the desk and pc they are working at if an employee who doesn't have a laptop is stuck for a desk.

Yes, there are days when you have to traipse round the office looking for a desk, but it's really not a big deal.

Littleturkish Thu 20-Nov-14 19:30:15

I think you need to ask for a solution by x date and if nothing materialises you have to go to your HR with your concerns.

Chunderella Thu 20-Nov-14 20:10:21

Yanbu, hotdesking is a terrrible thing. I just don't even understand what the supposed benefits are. For part of my time as a trainee solicitor, I didn't have my own computer or phone, just a table in the supervisor's office, and was expected to move around as and when people were off, at court etc. As this was a law firm, obviously people were away from their desks a lot due to court, home visits etc. And it was still a solid gold fucking nightmare.

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