Facilities Mismanagement



  • We just moved into new office space. The folks who "designed" the layout decided that they wanted to give us the best possible lighting, so they put 4 foot dual bulb100-watt flourescent lights directly over the chair/monitor in every cubicle and office. It is, to say the least, blinding.

    Due to poor eyesight, I already wear progressive trifocals, and squinting due to the glare was giving me non-stop headaches, so I first opened an umbrella over the corner of my desk with the monitor. It looked horrible so I ordered a cubicle sunshade (basically a translucent piece of fabric on a slim frame).

    It didn't take two hours until the facilities guys ordered my boss' boss to order me to take it down because "it ruined the asthetics".

    About 50% of the folks here have taken to removing bulbs in order to shut off the fixture direclty over them and the facilities guys keep putting the bulbs back in - in order to preserve the "asthetic look of the new office".

    I tried to get inventive and just taped some printer paper together to form a mini-roof over the monitor, and filter the light. I figured that since it was below the top of the cubicle they might let it slide. It disappeared by the time I came back from lunch.

    We're now trying to build cardboard shrouds big enough to cover our laptops and heads - though I expect they too will disappear quickly.

    All because the facilities guys don't want to admit they screwed up on designing the lighting.

    *sigh*

     



  •  Go to the doctor and get documentation that the lighting causes you problems (headaches). Give copies of this documentation to your boss and to HR. Provide a list of suitable alternatives (umbrella, that sunshade thing, etc) that will work for you. They will comply.

     

    Alternatively...Sunglasses (this is what I and several of my coworkers did when I worked in cubes).



  • @movzx said:

     Go to the doctor and get documentation that the lighting causes you problems (headaches). Give copies of this documentation to your boss and to HR. Provide a list of suitable alternatives (umbrella, that sunshade thing, etc) that will work for you. They will comply.

     

    Alternatively...Sunglasses (this is what I and several of my coworkers did when I worked in cubes).

    In fact I *am* going to get a doctor's note; I already wear transitions lenses but they don't react to flourescent light. Sun galsses are too dark, at least for me.

    Interestingly, I can eliminate most of the glare by raising my laptop onto 4 reams of paper, but at that height, reaching the keyboard requires very weird arm positioning, so that's out.



  • @snoofle said:

    Interestingly, I can eliminate most of the glare by raising my laptop onto 4 reams of paper, but at that height, reaching the keyboard requires very weird arm positioning, so that's out.

    You, uh, don't use an external keyboard and mouse when using your laptop at a desk?



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @snoofle said:

    Interestingly, I can eliminate most of the glare by raising my laptop onto 4 reams of paper, but at that height, reaching the keyboard requires very weird arm positioning, so that's out.

    You, uh, don't use an external keyboard and mouse when using your laptop at a desk?

    I have a wireless mouse and no external keyboard because, well... The problem is that they forbid you to bring in your own equipment - they made me bring home my own mouse/keyboard and took two months to get me a "corporate-supplied" mouse (purchasing). I'm still waiting on the keyboard. Why? Because our personal equipment might contain viruses that would pollute the corporate equipment (laptop + network).

    Ironically, they insist we lug the thing home every night and plug it into our home networks to get to the office vpn.

     



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    You, uh, don't use an external keyboard and mouse when using your laptop at a desk?
     

    +1

    Nobody uses a laptop on a desk without proper peripherals.

     

    Edit:
    Stealth post, snoofy!



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @snoofle said:

    Interestingly, I can eliminate most of the glare by raising my laptop onto 4 reams of paper, but at that height, reaching the keyboard requires very weird arm positioning, so that's out.

    You, uh, don't use an external keyboard and mouse when using your laptop at a desk?

     

    Facilities prohibits it.  An external keyboard and mouse would ruin the aesthetics.

    EDIT: holy god I didn't see snoofle's reply before posting this.  The situation is even dumber than I thought.



  • Snoofle, does Dilbert have a cubicle anywhere near your desk? If you meet him at work tomorrow, tell him I'm a big fan and love the cartoon he's starring in. Can I expect your cubicle story in the next strip?

     (seriously - can workplace be any worse than this?)



  • If they still don't listen after you get a doctor's note, call OSHA.  Government fines should get their attention.



  • @snoofle said:

    It didn't take two hours until the facilities guys ordered my boss' boss to
    order me to take it down because "it ruined the asthetics".
    I'm assuming, because it got posted, that neither Boss, not Boss's boss had the audacity to say 'fuck off, it's needed.'?



    In fact, can anyone say fuck off to them?



  • @snoofle said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    @snoofle said:

    Interestingly, I can eliminate most of the glare by raising my laptop onto 4 reams of paper, but at that height, reaching the keyboard requires very weird arm positioning, so that's out.

    You, uh, don't use an external keyboard and mouse when using your laptop at a desk?

    I have a wireless mouse and no external keyboard because, well... The problem is that they forbid you to bring in your own equipment - they made me bring home my own mouse/keyboard and took two months to get me a "corporate-supplied" mouse (purchasing). I'm still waiting on the keyboard. Why? Because our personal equipment might contain viruses that would pollute the corporate equipment (laptop + network).

    Can't imagine why they would think your own keyboard could contain a virus, but whatever. Me personally - I've dragged my trusty Microsoft Natural Keyboard 4K through four jobs now. You can have it when you pry it from my cold dead, non Carpal Tunnel Syndrome hands and wrists.



  • @snoofle said:

    I have a wireless mouse and no external keyboard because, well... The problem is that they forbid you to bring in your own equipment - they made me bring home my own mouse/keyboard and took two months to get me a "corporate-supplied" mouse (purchasing). I'm still waiting on the keyboard. Why? Because our personal equipment might contain viruses that would pollute the corporate equipment (laptop + network).

    Ironically, they insist we lug the thing home every night and plug it into our home networks to get to the office vpn.

    I don't know what's sadder; not letting you use your own equipment or taking two months to get a goddamn mouse and still not having a keyboard yet.



  • @snoofle said:

    our personal equipment might contain viruses that would pollute the corporate equipment
    It doesn't sound like you yourself would be surprised what people believe with regardes to technology and viruses, but some might.



  • Wow, I feel spoilt. I have a laptop for home and field use (although I never use the laptop at home - I use my own desktop PC instead), and a desktop PC at work. I admit the desktop PC at work is about 8 years old, but I don't really care how long things take to compile when I'm being paid an hourly rate for it. It's also an open-plan office. The lighting isn't perfect, some desks have very little light, but at least you can move elsewhere if you require additional light for a job. 



  • How about sneaking in some replacement bulbs that are a bit dimmer.  See how long those last!



  • @PJH said:

    In fact, can anyone say fuck off to them?

    Don't know yet - it'll be intresting to see how this plays out...

    Then again, I'm still waiting for the headset they promised me the day I was hired (3 months), the external monitor (1920x1200 on a 15" laptop is really hard to see, and lower resolutions bring too much distortion to use).

    My gripe to boss-2 was basically: I'm sitting here with my head crooked over to one side to hold the headset-less phone while squinting to see the tiny hi-res display and attempting to see through the reflection of the lights. He admits something needs to be done, but the facilities folks just spent about $10MM to build out a brand new office, and they won't admit they screwed up.

    You can't make this stuff up!

     



  • @snoofle said:


    You can't make this stuff up!

    As someone already pointed out, Scott Adams probably could.  Somebody mentioned Dilbert; however I think this problem requires more of a Wally-style solution.  I think he would approach it by explaining to the PHB that because of eye-strain caused by the flicker fusion frequency of the new lights (insert boss-bamboozling-techno-gibberish here), he was going to have to spend ninety minutes every two hours resting his eyes in a darkened office.  And not to be bothered by any loud snoring-like noises that might be heard emerging from that office while he was thus engaged in very important work.
     



  •  So are they just pushing this "aesthetics" thing because they believed it would increase worker productivity, or does the big boss not want to change things because his terminally-ill daughter personally designed everything, including the bright bulbs?

    Maybe instead of replacing the bulbs, just get together with a few disgruntled workers, sneak in at night, and smash all the bulbs. Do it until they give in.



  •  And there we were, worried that your WTFs would stop when you changed jobs...



  • @bob171123 said:

    sneak in at night, and smash all the bulbs their faces. Do it until they give in.

    ftfy

     



  • @belgariontheking said:

    It doesn't sound like you yourself would be surprised what people believe with regardes to technology and viruses, but some might.

    I think it's a rule of the Internet that every time a clueless newbie asks a question of the form "Can (completely implausible thing) happen with my computer?" rather than simply answering "no" and putting the newbie at ease, some self-important ass has to come up with a convoluted duct-tape-and-gum theory for how the implausible thing could happen.



  • @Tyler said:

    @belgariontheking said:

    .. but some might. ..

    .. some self-important ass has to come up with a convoluted duct-tape-and-gum theory for how the implausible thing could happen.

    Having worked in the real world for quite a while I have more than once experienced a "convoluted duct-tape-and-gum theory" take down a real world system. It will always be the unexpected that will bite you, and the unexpected is generally considered to be of the realms of "convoluted" or "who would ever do that". As a result you are better being a paranoid pessimist when in comes to systems design (but only to the level needed to match the importance of the systems you are working on)

    Taking Belgarion's example as an example, I had never really considered the mechanics of how modern monitors passed their capabilities to the computers they are attached to. However after seeing that description it is obvious that their is a defined data link between the two components. This opens up an whole new attack vector that is totally unexpected. As such I can envisage a self contained system that mimics a display, but tries to exploit driver issues in order inject executable code. If I can think up this scenario I am sure that people with nefarious ideas have already done so.

    Of course pure VGA cables would be immune, but modern monitor connections are not video cables - instead they are high speed data links



  • @snoofle said:

    We just moved into new office space....

    A few years ago at my former job, the CEO wife's interior decoration studio decided to redecorate the offices. They painted a bunch of walls of pretty colors with a bunch of pretty creative lightning. The thing is that designer should not have bright colored walls. They need even white walls with even lighting. You can't have a disco laser show on your monitor if you are trying to design pretty art.

    They had a struggle similar to what you might be having. They documented themselves, and made a case. It took them almost a full year of constant pressure to get a response. Then when their suggestion to go back to white on the design office was ruled out. They burned the place down killing 12 and costing millions of euros in damages. It was pretty cool.

    .... mmmm... or something like that. The outcome might have been a little different. I don't remember very well those crazy days.



  • @fatdog said:

    costing millions of euros in damages.
    They use euros in VZ now?  Is nothing sacred anymore?



  • @belgariontheking said:

    They use euros in VZ now?  Is nothing sacred anymore?

    No, that's from when I lived in Europe. (I was going to write Spain, but most USians think Spain is inside Mexico).

     



  • @snoofle said:

    It didn't take two hours until the facilities guys ordered my boss' boss to order me to take it down because "it ruined the asthetics".
     

    Who are these Facilities Management people who have so much free time that they can wander the halls acting as The Fashion Police?  Or maybe you work for a small company?  Where I work it takes forever just to get someone to look at something that is genuinely and obviously broken and even longer to get it fixed.



  • @fatdog said:

    @belgariontheking said:

    They use euros in VZ now?  Is nothing sacred anymore?

    No, that's from when I lived in Europe. (I was going to write Spain, but most USians think Spain is inside Mexico).

    No way would I think that.  Mexico actually has some pretty scenery and cheap drugs and whores.



  • @fatdog said:

    @belgariontheking said:

    They use euros in VZ now?  Is nothing sacred anymore?

    No, that's from when I lived in Europe. (I was going to write Spain, but most USians think Spain is inside Mexico).

    Spain's only purpose is to hold on to Portugal so that it doesn't float off into the Atlantic Ocean and accidentally become stuck to the US.


  • I've worked at a small company, and it took much longer than that to change things like light bulbs. Replacement wasn't normally that bad - between 2 and 4 weeks typically. A change required a written request to the director of facilities, which had to also include a report from Health and Safety about any possible impact the change could have, so then you were talking months. If what you asked to be changed broke in the meantime, you could only have it replaced with the same as what was removed. Naturally, you didn't have authorisation yourself to do anything, even if it meant you sat in the dark for a month.You could request a higher priority, but there was no saying it would be accepted (or accepted and ignored). 



  • @Mole said:

    I've worked at a small company, and it took much longer than that to change things like light bulbs. Replacement wasn't normally that bad - between 2 and 4 weeks typically.
     

    What is your definition of a small company? At mine the process is usually something like yelling across the room "Hey Andy, this lightbulb is blown!" and his reply "OK" and when he next goes out he'll buy the replacement. :-)

     Small companies are usually quicker at change as there are fewer people to upset and a lot less bureaucracy.



  • @Zemm said:

    @Mole said:

    I've worked at a small company, and it took much longer than that to change things like light bulbs. Replacement wasn't normally that bad - between 2 and 4 weeks typically.
     

    What is your definition of a small company? At mine the process is usually something like yelling across the room "Hey Andy, this lightbulb is blown!" and his reply "OK" and when he next goes out he'll buy the replacement. :-)

     Small companies are usually quicker at change as there are fewer people to upset and a lot less bureaucracy.

     

    From his post, his definition of "small" would be more like a midsize firm.    I'm with you, in this industry, small is <25 people.



  •  I've always thought of small to be less than 250 people. At the job I talked about earlier, there was probably no much more than 100 or so. 



  • @Mole said:

     I've always thought of small to be less than 250 people
     

    "small" means any size that is below the red tape threshold. This number is about 30-40 employees.



  • @Mole said:

    I've always thought of small to be less than 250 people. At the job I talked about earlier, there was probably no much more than 100 or so. 

    The largest company I ever worked for had around 70 employees at the peak.  Even when there were only 40 there was massive red tape.



  • File a workmens comp injury with HR regarding the lights. Burned eyes should be sufficient.



  • @dhromed said:

    @Mole said:

     I've always thought of small to be less than 250 people
     

    "small" means any size that is below the red tape threshold. This number is usually about 30-40 employees.

    FTFY - the number varies based on the people involved.  I've heard of companies of less than ten people which were burdened by ridiculous red tape (generally, these are founded by manufacturers of red tape.)  I've had the pleasure to work for a company which probably the only company ever that didn't hit the red tape threshold until it got to around 1.5k people.  (Unfortunately, they were hiring like mad for their first 3k people or so, and I was virtual employee number 1.4k when I hired on, so red tape was introduced not too long after I started.  But it was nice while it lasted.)

    FTFM


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