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Desk taken at work while on maternity
459

Flopsy145 · 25/01/2022 04:23

I'm coming to the end of my maternity leave and have found out that a man in my team has moved into my desk while I've been off and replaced it with a standing desk. I love my desk, it has a window and privacy which I need more than him in the role I'm in, and I can see my daughter's nursery.
He's on more money than me, and didn't even ask to have my desk, which still has a locked cupboard of mine next to it which I need.
The desk I've been moved to is pretty shit.
AIBU to demand my desk back?

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Am I being unreasonable?

AIBU

You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

Porcupineintherough · 25/01/2022 04:27

Do you have an office manager? If so, speak to them, if not I guess your boss. In my office you dont own your desk or your desk space and they might certainly be relocated if you were not in the office for months.

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Haus1234 · 25/01/2022 04:32

Hmm I do understand it’s frustrating but I’ve never worked anywhere where this would be seen as a reasonable request as we have frequent reshuffles.

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holdonbaby · 25/01/2022 04:36

Sorry to hear, I had this happen too.

It felt so rude, I had my office taken away! Same as you I needed privacy for my calls and confidential work.
I was told I didn't own it and it was a decision already made end of.

My company was not supportive!

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LaBellina · 25/01/2022 04:42

Wouldn’t this count as some sort of maternity discrimination? Might sound like a far stretch but some companies/bosses/ coworkers could actually use this to punish /bully their pregnant employees for taking up maternity leave. Sad, but it’s an actual thing.

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EmmaGrundyForPM · 25/01/2022 04:45

I haven't worked anywhere where I've had my own desk for years, so I'm.probably not best placed to comment. However, if you've been on maternity leave for a year, surely it's only reasonable that if someone else wants that desk/space then they should have it rather than it sitting there empty?

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Elbie79 · 25/01/2022 04:51

I'd hate this!

Can you put together a business case as to why you need the old set up back? They presumably won't be interested in emotion, but if you can outline the greater efficiencies that come with you being where you were? Can't see what else you can do. Really shit, OP.

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AlDanvers · 25/01/2022 04:54

It depends.

Why does he have a standing desk? He didn't just rock up with it.

Surely there was some sort of input from OH or HR or Senior management?

It could be that it was decided he needed a standing desk and that was the best place for it to go.

It wouldn't be maternity discrimination unless everyone has their own desks and no one ever gets moved, for any reason.

Liking your desk often doesn't mean you have a right to keep it.

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DolphinFC · 25/01/2022 04:55

Is it your desk or the companies?

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sofato5miles · 25/01/2022 04:56

Office reshuffles are a nightmare for this very reason, as people feel genuinely terratorial over their space. I get it.

However, as much as i understand your resentment i think you have to let it go. You were gone for maternity and that is a substantial amount of time. Some change was inevitable but i understand that that is unsettling.

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Bussinbussin · 25/01/2022 04:58

It's frustrating, but it's not technically your desk, it belongs to the company and they've let you use it. So I don't think you can 'demand', and please don't pull the discrimination card. You could ask though, explaining how it's more appropriate for you to have a private area for your work.

Having said that I can see why they'd have the standing desks facing windows and not other desks, peoples' voices carry a lot more when they're standing and it can be really distracting.

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CeeceeBloomingdale · 25/01/2022 05:00

Do you want you old desk back or do you need it? If it's just because you like the view I don't think you have a leg to stand on but if there's a business need then ask on that basis. Bare in mind the standing desk may be because of medical need though. Don't mention being able to see the nursery, it's not relevant to your work.

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IndigoToo · 25/01/2022 05:00

Have you asked if you can return to your old desk? They might not even know why you preferred to be where you were?

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ViaRia · 25/01/2022 05:03

Yeah, this sounds annoying but it is not actually your desk. I don’t see how your colleagues’ sex or salary is relevant.

You could ask to return to your previous desk position but I think you’ll just have to accept it if the answer is no. You could mention your personal connection to the desk/ location but try to give business related reasons for needing it back - the nearby cupboards, proximity to team members perhaps?

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ElftonWednesday · 25/01/2022 05:08

You should have at least been consulted and not unilaterally shifted around because you were not in the office. I'd kick up a fuss.

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Flopsy145 · 25/01/2022 05:09

It's been my desk since I joined a few years ago, before he started. And in my office we all have our own allocated desk space. I'm probably the closest thing to an office manager in there, and my maternity cover sat there while she was in post but then she left and never replaced, with someone else (my LM) picking up my job but she has her own desk elsewhere.
It's more the fact that now when he is standing he is essentially standing over me with his back to the window which I really don't like as he has direct view onto my screens. I'll also be in the office on set days and he isn't there much.

I'm also annoyed because he took advantage of me being on maternity leave to do it, had I been there it wouldn't have happened.
His standing desk is for back issues and could have gone where his old desk was quite easily, probably more so in fact than where it has gone.
Totally happy with him sitting there while I was off of course.
I'm considering just telling him 'im coming back on x date, if you could make sure my desk is clear by then that would be great, thanks!' and seeing what he says?

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NatashaBedwouldbenice · 25/01/2022 05:10

I wouldn’t mention the bit about needing to see the nursery from your desk.

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NatashaBedwouldbenice · 25/01/2022 05:13

I'm probably the closest thing to an office manager in there, and my maternity cover sat there while she was in post but then she left and never replaced, with someone else (my LM) picking up my job…

Woah, I’d be more worried about this bit! When you say you are almost like an office manager, in what ways are you thinking?

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AlDanvers · 25/01/2022 05:14

If his desk is for his back then there very could be a reason its there that you don't know.

That conversations could be

'Hi could you make sure my desk is clear'

'Um no. It was decided it needed to go here for X reason'

Unless someone has made you privy to the whole conversation, any input from OH or HR around it, you don't know the full situation.

Having an allocated desk doesn't mean it never moves.

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AlDanvers · 25/01/2022 05:16

Sorry posted to soon.

If you really need this desk (seeing g your child's nursery isn't a need) raise the question with your LM. Not him.

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SquirrelG · 25/01/2022 05:17

While I have always had my own desk no matter what (the perks of being a receptionist) I don't think anyone "owns" a desk. It may be annoying but really I don't think there is anything you can do. Just accept it with good grace.

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UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea · 25/01/2022 05:18

There's probably nothing illegal or discriminatory about what he did. I would be firm in your expectations, you've been there longer, he's taken advantage of your mat leave and you have specific reasons for wanting that spot.

Start with polite, maybe he was always going to move back.

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Simonjt · 25/01/2022 05:21

It isn’t your desk though, it just happens to be where you sat, very few companies can afford to keep desks empty for months on end. If I told my manager I wanted a certain desk so I could gaze out the window she’d probably laugh about it when I had left and been concerned about my productivity.

Quite a lot of people have standing desks at work, they have generally been moved to the outside of the room, this seems to be thing of places standing desks round the outsides of rooms.

Does it really matter if someone can see your screen, its only work they’re seeing.

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tympanic · 25/01/2022 05:23

Yeah, that would upset me too, OP. Though it should be said I’m looking at this through the lens of my own horrendous return to work from maternity leave. Despite being senior, and it being years down the track I remain shoved into the abyss away from my team, making it impossible to do my job properly. And that’s just the tip of a very large iceberg. My workplace is a toxic fucking shithole though.

I’d go with what you suggested. Tell him when you’re coming back to work and see what he says. Good luck!

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bonetiredwithtwins · 25/01/2022 05:32

You said he won't be there much so what's the issue?

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ElftonWednesday · 25/01/2022 05:34

Yes, I'd say that to him. And to replace the original furniture.

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