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Old 15.01.2013, 13:26
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Annoying Office Behaviour

There is something thats really irritating me at work, and I've come to vent! It might seem pathetic but its bothering me.

Its currently 0'C outside, but everyday no matter what the temperature outside two of my work colleagues take turns to open the window. Sometimes they leave it open for ages, sometimes (such as just now) one of them will open it and leave the room immediately.

A few weeks ago I asked them politely not to open the window when its so cold outside because I'm finding it really uncomfortable and taking too long to warm back up, its affecting my work because I can't type properly with numb fingers. Also (and this is not something I told them) I suffer from panic attacks and one of the symptoms I get is becoming really cold (apparently this is because the blood retreats to the core of the body) so I associate being cold with feelings of anxiety, thats not their fault but its extremely unpleasent for me.

Our office is on the ground floor 200m or so from the main enterance, so I asked them to walk outside for five minutes if they needed fresh air. That day they shut the window.

But everyday since then they open the thing a few times a day, they don't ask if anyone minds them opening it, or specify for how long they need it open or whatever. Maybe its me being english but I thought that was common coutersy? Especially in the dead of winter!

I've asked them a few times now not to open it, but no joy. So I've bought a big pashmina in and when they open it I pointedly wrap it round myself, sometimes I've put my coat on, sometimes I get up and leave the room, and once when I was really annoyed I just got up and closed it (they opened it again 2 mins later).

Anyone else have such inconsiderate colleagues? Am I over reacting?
Any other irritating office behaviours?

There's other stuff that annoys me for example the guy opposite me (one of the window openers) eats at his desk (no problem I do that too) but he makes so much noise when he eats, not just lip smacking, but like er "pleasure noises" like mmmph MMMM ooooh nom nom MMMM MMmmmmmm. He's German and one of the other German girls does it too, plus he sits and burps and coughs without covering his mouth.

I'm grumpy today in case you can't tell. Someone mail me a tea bag and a digestive to my desk to cheer me up please
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Old 15.01.2013, 13:32
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

The burping noisy eater sounds much worse than the cold air draughts. I'd try and move offices if it was possible. Or each time the window opens, go home. Can you work from home? Or just go off sick each time; they'd learn
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Old 15.01.2013, 13:34
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

I work in a team with 5 women. I could write a book on annoying office behavior...but see, men are different. We don't develop a petty nuissance into some international incident. And seeing how most women have their thermostat broken, meaning, you are either (usually) too cold or too hot and seeing, how most offices and public buildings in Switzerland are overheated in the winter, show some sympathy and common sense and bring a thicker sweater. Contrary to your belief, your colleagues are not out to destroy you.
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Old 15.01.2013, 13:34
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

Playground tactics. Just close it.
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Old 15.01.2013, 13:34
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

Here is the tea bag you requested
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Old 15.01.2013, 13:38
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

Do what I do, and get a private office!

Tom
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Old 15.01.2013, 13:38
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

Hi,

You are not alone. I have same problem at work. Colleagues like to open windows on opposite side of our room to get airflow which makes me sick in a few minutes. There is really a different perception of “cold”, “warm” and “comfortable temperature” in this part of the world (guess they had save on heating for centuries). According to Swiss standards, leaving room should be heated to 16-18 degrees, which I personally will freeze in ! The comfortable temperature for me is 26-28. 30 is even better J

Rustem
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Old 15.01.2013, 13:44
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

Haha, I love the tea bags.
Lost_inbroad, I don't think they're out to destroy me, I get on fine with them otherwise but the window thing bothers me, so I'm venting. I do have jumpers etc but in dressed for being inside sitting at my desk not outside in mid winter, working in full mountain gear, while vaguely amusing isn't really practical.

I wish I could move office sadly not an option.

Rustem: Glad its not just me!

Adrian, I did go home once because of it, I was in a mood that day as well but I get easily distracted at home so its better workwise to be here.
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Old 15.01.2013, 13:46
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

Ahh yes. Annoying office people! They are everywhere you go and Im sure I probably annoy them too (But its OK when i do it)

I cannot stand when people open the window and leave the room. How rude!!!

I did have one person ask me could they move desks as the person behind them kept doing it. I asked that persons boss to speak to him about being more considerate when it comes to opening the window. It worked.

If it didnt i would have moved him to a different space.
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Old 15.01.2013, 13:49
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

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Haha, I love the tea bags.
Lost_inbroad, I don't think they're out to destroy me, I get on fine with them otherwise but the window thing bothers me, so I'm venting. I do have jumpers etc but in dressed for being inside sitting at my desk not outside in mid winter, working in full mountain gear, while vaguely amusing isn't really practical.

I wish I could move office sadly not an option.

Rustem: Glad its not just me!
See, that's the thing. I have the same issue with my colleagues. They're constantly cold..but for a good reason. They wear ballerinas, short skirts, come to work in boots and wear peeptoe heels at the office along with thin blouses..(no fellas, we're not hiring right now ).
Opening the window once in a while is essential to improve air quality. I'm sure you've noticed, that most buidlings here don't have AC and therefore, are badly ventilated as no fresh air can get inside.
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Old 15.01.2013, 13:53
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

No, it's not just you. I've had a few battles, more often minor skirmishes, over similar behaviour. Oddly it's not so much in the winter that I get bothered, but when it's really, _really_ hot in the office with no A/C and some people insist on opening the window to let even more warm air in.

But sometimes in the winter too, when colleagues have been outside, for instance if they've cycled into the office, and are feeling warm, and just don't seem to think about other people affected by their actions. I would usually leave them a few minutes before simply asking them to close the window now please.

Of course, it does rather depend on what the actual office temperature is. I do have a thermometer on my desk (currently 22C) so have an objective measure. If it's below 20C or so and they're still opening the window then it's not reasonable. If it's more than 22C or so then I'm afraid you'll just have to get used to wearing more clothes, or going for a jog to the ladies to warm up, as that could easily be uncomfortably wam for some people. But just opening a window for a few minutes should be a reasonable compromise, even then, no?

I do notice quite a few of the ladies in our office wearing scarves all day when it's cold outside, despite it being this warm inside most of the time. Seems odd to me.
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Old 15.01.2013, 13:53
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

It's easier to warm up than cool down in an office environment, so wear a few more layers and pack an extra one, or move. It's not fair on others if they're too hot and lethargic to work. Having the option of fresh air is far healthier than office 'air'.
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Old 15.01.2013, 13:55
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

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See, that's the thing. I have the same issue with my colleagues. They're constantly cold..but for a good reason. They wear ballerinas, short skirts, come to work in boots and wear peeptoe heels at the office along with thin blouses..
Is there anything to stop you dressing in a similar vein?
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Old 15.01.2013, 13:56
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

Hi,

I really sympathise with you on the feeling the cold and associating cold with feeling panicky - I have the same problem. I don't work but I have family members who are fresh-air freaks, so when we're all in the same place we have to work out how to meet all of our needs

Could you sit down with them and explain (again) that this is causing you a problem and try to work out a compromise?

As you say you're very close to the great outdoors I wonder if their need to open the windows is less about them wanting fresh air as them feeling the office is stuffy. For example, are they opening the window after lunch because of food smells in the office which make it hard for them to work? I know that despite my hatred of the cold I have to open my windows at least once a day because I'm also sensitive to smells and otherwise my flat smells of last night's dinner...

Could you agree that the office will be 'aired' for certain slots of time - and is there a warm place you could then go and hide in while that window is open?

Maybe that's too complicated... I just wonder that if it was agreed the window was opened first thing in the morning for 5 minutes, and after lunch for 5 minutes, at the end of that time you'd feel free to close the window.
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Old 15.01.2013, 13:58
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

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Opening the window once in a while is essential to improve air quality. I'm sure you've noticed, that most buidlings here don't have AC and therefore, are badly ventilated as no fresh air can get inside.
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Having the option of fresh air is far healthier than office 'air'.
What is it with this 'fresh air' thing? Air is air, and oxygen levels in an office will not vary noticeably between one with open or one with closed windows, unless you're sitting in a 3m*3m enclosed room with all the doors ad windows shut. I get this from some colleagues too, and frankly it baffles me.
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Old 15.01.2013, 13:58
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

I went through similar adaptation phase which has taken me several years in an open plan office. It is not impervious to any kind of noise where at-desks meetings occur regularly. Then people also chew, burb sneeze and we say bless you.

My workmate at the desk opposite me, she regularly opens the windows at the lunch time but always closes them upon consent with us just in case we were not cold.

I have just learnt to ignore those tiny nuisances and go with the flow. Afterall work is my major focus and can always wear a headset to isolate from all sort of distractions (or a thick coat).
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Old 15.01.2013, 13:59
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

My husband has had the same kind of problems in the office, people opening windows in winter, amd closing them in summer .
I've noticed a similar thing on buses in the hot weather, I open a window to get some air into the bus and someone comes and bangs it shut! The other, very cold day, the bus had its aircon switched on.
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Old 15.01.2013, 14:01
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

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I've asked them a few times now not to open it, but no joy. So I've bought a big pashmina in and when they open it I pointedly wrap it round myself, sometimes I've put my coat on, sometimes I get up and leave the room
Its funny because I was on the receiving end of this and got extremely annoyed and frustrated myself.
I used to share a lab in Lausanne with an American girl, who always complained of feeling cold.. almost to the point of it being a medical condition. We would be sitting there in Dec, the heaters blazing and the [Oxygen] rapidly depleting, and yet she would still maintain that it was cold. If I even opened the window a smidgen she would get up in a huff, make a huge show of putting on a coat, scarf, gloves etc.. in what can only be described as emotional blackmail. The reality of the situation was backed up by my desk clock thermometer which correctly showed 26 degrees.

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Old 15.01.2013, 14:01
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

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What is it with this 'fresh air' thing? Air is air, and oxygen levels in an office will not vary noticeably between one with open or one with closed windows, unless you're sitting in a 3m*3m enclosed room with all the doors ad windows shut. I get this from some colleagues too, and frankly it baffles me.
Easy for you to say. You ride down slopes all day long. What I'm dealing with here is lack of air circulation and the pinnacle of Eurotrashism with all that comes with it (cigarette breath, excessive cologne, cheese and proseco and what nots).
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Old 15.01.2013, 14:01
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Re: Annoying Office Behaviour

our building heating system is not exactly efficient, so the only way I survive (and this is with all the windows closed!) is to have a heater directly under my desk. It is on all day and it is the only thing that keeps my fingers from going purple. Plus I have a sweater that I put on over top of my attire, which is far from mini-skirts and sandals!

as for the loud eater...not a whole lot you can do without upsetting them really as it is a cultural difference, but you can simply try saying "excuse you" (with no sarcasm or malice) after the burp and with any luck he might notice that it is something you may not see the same way as he does. No guarantees though, so it might be a good time to go get lunch when he starts eating at his desk
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