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Unpleasant office environment

(36 Posts)
kernowgal Thu 05-Oct-17 21:50:21

Not really sure what to do about this, would appreciate any advice.

Started a new job a few months ago - internal promotion. I've worked in active, outside roles for years but this one is desk-based. Our office is small and we're packed in. There's no air con and we have a kitchen nearby so have food smells wafting in. My colleagues don't like having the windows or door open as it creates draughts and they get cold, plus we have noise from the kitchen. So it regularly reaches 25ºC and is stuffy as hell but nobody seems to care.

The desks are next to each other and today I was treated to stereo sound of one colleague sniffing and the other eating crisps. I can't concentrate and it's affecting my ability to do my job. There isn't anywhere else I can sit. I'm dreading the winter when the heating goes on.

Any advice? I am already looking for another job!

Loopytiles Thu 05-Oct-17 21:51:13

Sounds like normal office life!

kernowgal Thu 05-Oct-17 21:59:28

It's been a while since I last worked in an office! It's horrible! grin

Katescurios Thu 05-Oct-17 22:04:47

Yep this is standard office life.

- dress in layers so you can strip down or bulk up as needed dependant on who has control of the thermastat
- get a USB fan to move the air around at your desk
- if allowed listen to low level music while you work, if not just put headphones on to drown out the surrounding noise
- get some hand sanitiser, colds run rampant in offices because they are stuffy air con environments where everyone works closely so germs everywhere.

chipsandpeas Thu 05-Oct-17 22:07:48

sounds normal to me
a fan and headphones are a must unless you are on the phones all the time

zippydoodaar Thu 05-Oct-17 22:08:08

Welcome to working in an office!

kernowgal Thu 05-Oct-17 22:20:22

I honestly don't recall it being this bad in past jobs.

The USB fan idea is great - I shall definitely do that. I'll try to take more screen breaks too. We can listen to music, which definitely helps, especially as a couple of my colleagues often think out loud or want input into their [unrelated] work and it is very distracting.

I'm supposed to be getting a screen guard because my screen is glass and reflects the glare from the overhead lights, but I need to chase it up.

I sound like a right sensitive flower but it's been a real shock going from the great outdoors into a small, packed office. It feels really claustrophobic.

Autumnchill Thu 05-Oct-17 22:20:38

You just need to add a phantom shitter and you’ve got office working down to a tee grin

stoneagemum Thu 05-Oct-17 22:36:27

Layers, earplugs (an extra set work as mini stress balls), headphones, scarves, blanket and fan if you are not cold blooded like me. It helps if your phone has lights as well as noise. Also set your phone ringer to a different pattern if possible

LucieLucie Thu 05-Oct-17 22:43:18

I sympathise, I work in a similar environment and hate hot stuffy rooms with no fresh air.

Desk fan, lots of bottled water under the desk, ear phones at the ready. grin

Also, in a previous job I worked in I said the high temperatures were a health and safety issue and monitored it using one of these thermometer cards wink

Visually the ‘cold entitled office queen bee’ couldn’t argue as it was telling us all the room was too hot and so I’d open the window and turn heaters down.

kernowgal Fri 06-Oct-17 06:56:47

We've got a phantom shitter! Can I call bingo?

I'd forgotten how offices magnify everyone's eccentricities. And this lot were mad to start off with.

zippydoodaar Fri 06-Oct-17 08:09:55

Stuck in one space for hours on end with people you'd probably not be friends with is not good for the soul!

WeAllHaveWings Sat 07-Oct-17 18:39:06

A good average office temperature is 22 degrees. Those who find this too cold need to layer up, if they don't like windows open they should sit away from them. if it regularly hits 25 as it's way too hot. Hard to do though if everyone else is happy, do you have a facilities/maintenance department to decide a fair compromise temperature. Your company should do dse assessments and fix problems like glare

2 small personal desk fans, one for your desk another for under on low desk to keep air moving around you really helps. Earphones and music when you need to concentrate on something.

whirlyswirly Tue 10-Oct-17 22:05:06

Kernowgal, From your user name, I'm wondering if you work with me? hmmgrin

kernowgal Fri 13-Oct-17 21:21:51

It's entirely possible - we are a big team! Are you the phantom shitter? grin

Phoebeandme Sun 15-Oct-17 08:40:49

Office life is shit. I have tinnitus and I have become quite good at lip reading as I can’t hear naff all over the deafeningly loud obnoxious lady, sodding radio and a lovely colleague constantly friggin waffling at me about I don’t know what and then expects me to have some idea what she is in about.
I find myself wanting to scream shut the F up all the time.

Wear earphones, talk to HR and wear layers, make sure you make full use of your breaks!

LevelHeading Sun 15-Oct-17 12:15:45

Are you the phantom shitter? grin

grin grin grin

kernowgal Sun 15-Oct-17 19:57:06


I'm so fucking glad we don't have an office radio. I worked somewhere where we could only pick up one station - a shit one - and I had a role that required a lot of concentration. Used to drive me mad.

Slimthistime Sun 15-Oct-17 19:59:28

sounds like most offices I've worked in except summer temps hit 34

It may be annoying you more because you've not done it for a while
I should be home working only from late next year and I can't fucking wait

Slimthistime Sun 15-Oct-17 20:02:05

Also the woman behind me puts on a blow heater the minute it goes below 22

The kind that fills a small space with hot air really fast and then sucks all the moisture out of your skin and makes the stale air seem burnt.

AnxietyStrikes Sun 15-Oct-17 20:10:43

Before I went off on maternity leave i worked in an office that had broken windows so they were permanently slightly open making the winter freezing and awful and broken old radiators that were controlled by the office downstairs and were constantly on.

We also only had two toilets for about 90 people, one of the toilets was frequently blocked by our mystery shitter hmm

DarthMaiden Sun 15-Oct-17 20:18:05

I’ve faced similar in the past - suggestions below (many already posted above).

- wear layers
- fan on your desk
- invest in sound cancelling headphones
- try and bag a desk near a window

Depending on the company it might be worth speaking to HR - 25 degrees is far too hot. Companies do have a a responsibility to provide a reasonable working environment. If you are all that squashed in they might be in breach of fire regulations - are exits clear? Is their air con? Are there temperature sensors?

Having said the above it can be a nightmare. I’ve worked in an office where air con wars were an everyday occurrence. Problem was people sitting under the vents were freezing and those far away were too hot. There was constant turning the thermostat up and down. One day I remember the heating and the air con were on and loads of windows open.....madness.

Ijustlovefood Sun 15-Oct-17 20:32:46

I used to work in an office like that. It was a court and the level we were on the windows did not open (bomb proof) no air con, disgusting smells, gross. Luckily it's in the past now.

kernowgal Sun 15-Oct-17 22:30:36

I honestly don't think it's fit for purpose. Mind, most offices probably aren't. No air con. We have a clock with a temperature sensor so can monitor that, but it regularly goes over 25ºC. Some folks hotdesk so there can be eight of us crammed into a room that's maybe 4m x 8m.

I remember the good old days of air con wars - but to be honest I'd welcome that because at least then there's some chance we'd have some air movement.

I like my job but I do dread going into the office each day. It's been a real shock.

Slimthistime Sun 15-Oct-17 23:24:06

OP I can only sympathise
However there's no max working temperature so I couldn't report that in any case and Blow Heater woman would argue she's freezing

I have been wondering if there's any regulatory body to contact because our office now has so many boxes it's a fire hazard and a trip hazard

Allegedly a senior member of staff is going to look through them "soon" but we were told that weeks ago. Also, if she decides most of the stuff needs to be kept?

I'm not sure how to go about doing any kind of anonymous report and my worry is that everyone will suspect me as well. I do the tidy desk thing to keep sane, the others are surrounded by papers. There are shredding bags everywhere even though Directors have their own offices and could keep a shredder there, but no, they must look posh.

I work for a large and prestigious organisation as well.

I'm quite glad you started this as I really hate the office and need to vent but sorry you're having the same

My work is fine, colleagues are nice
Office is a huge problem

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