How To Tell Manager He’s Crowding My Space?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about crowding:

My senior manager is using my cubicle. How can I ask him to leave my cubicle.?

Signed, Hesitant But Frustrated

Dear Hesitant But Frustrated:

The biggest issue is why he is using your cubicle. If that is where specific equipment is or if he has better access to files, he may feel he has to work there. But, if he is simply using it because it’s a convenient place to sit, I can well understand how frustrating it would be. Or, if he is there because he wants to converse with you to an unusual extent, that would be a big problem too. Could you ask him if he would rather you work in another area, so he could use your cubicle easier? Or, is it possible for you to make it a bit more obvious that you cannot get your own work done while he is using your space?

Maybe you could bring up the subject in a mild way, by saying, “Mr. Lee, would you rather I move to another place while you work here?” Or, if he asks to sit at your chair while he works on something, maybe you could say, “Of course. But,it occurs to me that since you need to use this equipment, maybe we should move it to a better location.”I don’t know the circumstances or the work culture of your business, but surely your senior manager realizes he is using space that you need, to do your own work. If he isn’t aware of that fact, maybe he can be reminded in one of the ways I mentioned.

You say he is a senior manager, which might mean you have another manager as well. Ask that person about what you should do.You cannot insist that your manager leave your work area, but you can let him know that you can’t do your work effectively when he is using the space and the equipment. If you can find a place where you can move, you may have to suggest it as a solution. I wish there was a magical way to solve this problem, but I doubt there is anything you can do to force him to move. What you can do, however, is to at least make it clear that you need to get your work done and you need your cubicle to do it. Best wishes to you with this situation. If you have the time, let us know what you did and how it worked.

Tina Lewis Rowe