Workplace Mess

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about clutter: The floors are covered with boxes and papers close to electrical outlets and blocking easy access in case of an emergency! How can this be safe?

I have noticed several work stations in my office that worry me. They are overflowing with paper, files, and boxes! The floors are covered with boxes and papers close to electrical outlets and blocking easy access in case of an emergency! How can this be safe? Everyday I wait to see if my co workers or someone walking by get hurt, since some of the papers and boxes are in the walk way. I have tried to “drop” hints such as “do you need some help getting organized?” “I almost tripped on your files out here? Or “co worker, are you in there?” I also worry about client confidentiality since the files are out in the open and not in filing cabinets. What can I do to help my coworkers see that this is not safe for anyone?

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How To Get Better Lighting and Air?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about ventilation and lighting:

I work in an enclosed office setting without any windows or natural ventilation. The only windows that provide natural lighting are in the front of the office where our two supervisors are located. These windows do not open, they are merely for adornment. Our office is often referred to as a rat maze. The infrastructure is similar to that of a scientific experiment model.

My personal office is located in the interior of this model. I am a 46 year old, Italian woman in menopause; thus, I am naturally hot blooded and moody. The majority of my co-workers are cold blooded. In the winter, the average temperature set on the thermostat is 74 degrees. I haven’t worn sweaters in years (even before menopause). It is easier to put clothes on than to take clothes off. With energy at a premium rate, we should all abide by reducing the thermostat to help the earth and pocketbook.

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Workplace Environment Lockdown

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about feeling caged: The workplace has degenerated to a hate filled environment and is psychologically damaging everyone there.

I am a passenger screener at a northern Ontario airport. We aren’t not continuously busy. There is a lot of downtime between flights. Our supervisor instituted an employee lockdown in the Preboard Screening Room in between flights. We literally look like caged animals or fish inside a fishbowl to all other airport employees and passengers. This lockdown came about at the end of May 2006. We sit in this glass bubble for approximately 5 hours per shift. We can only read work related material, which becomes redundant after about half an hour. We read the same stuff over and over again and again.

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No Clean Restroom Nearby!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a dirty restroom: Do I have a right to have a restroom that is clean, private and within a reasonable distance from the office?

I am a female working in a shop environment with three men. When I took the job I was working in a nice office (which was the one in which I was interviewed.) Instead I ended up working in a small mobile office. In the trailer is a restroom that has never been made operable, so I have to go out into the dirty, greasy shop, stepping over pallets and pumps all the way, to the very back of the shop where two men are standing 15 feet away at a work table. The restroom is a frame with tin nailed to it. There is a one inch crack between the door and the wall. Anyone can see you doing your business. The toilet is filthy (I don’t feel it is my place to clean it.)

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In Search of ADA Space Guidelines!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about OSHA.

Is there a minimum ADA guideline or OSHA standard that says what the minimum amount of workspace an employee can work in? I am looking for a Code of Federal regulation or a standard/guideline. I have found ergonomic references to having computers at desks, but no references to the square area or formula.

Signed, Space Search

Dear Space Search:

Here are my thoughts on the ADA matter. As I recall, the usual standard of access is at least a 3′ wide space for wheelchairs. Are you in one? I’m not sure. If so, that would mean a work area with a 3′ wide assess and a clear area for turning a wheelchair within in the workspace so it could be maneuvered without hitting other obstacles. Businesses larger than 50 employees are supposed to make reasonable accommodations for things like work surface heights and access and, for other work facilities. As for a minimum work area, I’m not sure of what you need, but here is the link for the ADA site. They have various links for design standards so you can look for your situation and see what they say. You could also contact them to get some advice or insight: Good luck! WEGO is knowing how we can all work more efficiently and comfortably.

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Stop My Supervisor From Changing Our Cubicles?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about re-assigning cubicles:

My supervisor is planning to switch employee’s cubicles around, and many people are uncomfortable with this. So I want to change her mind about this because I don’t think is beneficial for the company. Could you help me with some facts?

Signed, My Space, My Place

Dear My Space, My Place:

Thank you for sharing your concerns. I need some more details to help me understand the situation so I can provide some thoughts:

1. How many people will be switched?

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Don’t We Deserve Better Working Conditions?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a rest room.

Our firm employs about 80+ staff. Should we have a rest room? Also we are 4 in a room where people pass through continually all day to get to the kitchen and other offices. Should we have some privacy at lunchtime? People come through our room all the time, so you don’t really get any peace during the lunch hour to read a book or make a private call.

Signed, Seeking Work-friendly Conditions

Dear Seeking Work-friendly Conditions:

Most companies with a staff of 80+ employees would certainly provide both break and lunch room facilities, though there is not such laws that require them to do so. I would strongly encourage you and your fellow coworkers (certainly those in the same office you share) to voice you concerns to management, following the proper lines of communication. Suggest a plan that would give you some place to meet for lunch other than your workspace. Your email referred to “rest” room, which I am assuming you mean “break” rooms.

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Who Gets The Window?

Question to the Workplace Doctors about a room with a view: I am one of two supervisors that want the larger cubical by the window.

My company is currently moving people to other areas. This is opening up vacant cubical space. I am one of two supervisors that want the larger cubical by the window. I am a female, been with the company 26 years, have a degree, have a larger workload and files to maintain, and have been in my cubical for 10 years. The other supervisor is a male, been with the company 2 years, does not have a degree, less files to maintain, and has been in his current cubical for 1 year. Our Manager mentioned that we would have to “duke it out” as to who would get the window cubical. I prematurely said I am fine where I am at, but now I really want this cubical. How do I approach my boss that I now have a desire for this cubical?

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