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Monday, September 25, 2023

my workplace argued for five months about whether or not I may have an ergonomic chair — Ask a Supervisor

A reader writes:

I do know you’ve posted up to now about requesting lodging, however may I collect your ideas on beneath? This encounter at my present employer frankly made me really feel loopy — like I used to be coping with 12 Dwights from The Workplace loopy.

I’ve had an extended historical past of musculoskeletal and orthopedic circumstances (suppose 10+ years, a number of surgical procedures, the works) that make sitting for prolonged durations of time tough. Thankfully, with just a few lodging (standing desk, ergonomic chair), I’m really fairly pain-free as of late. Nevertheless, if I don’t have mentioned lodging, I’m in a number of ache and really uncomfortable.

It began earlier this 12 months when our workplace was requesting us to come back again to the workplace two days every week. I began going again to seek out that I used to be extremely uncomfortable. Our workplace chairs usually are not good, and I’d be in excruciating ache virtually instantly.

I spoke to my supervisor about this, and he or she advised I attain out to our Workplace Operations crew. I defined my state of affairs to them and requested if there was one other chair I may use. We went forwards and backwards about whether or not I wanted a chair. After a couple of month of debate, I submitted a health care provider’s be aware that defined my well being historical past, hoping this may pace issues alongside.

As an alternative, this led to a five-month (sure, 5 months) ordeal over processing my lodging. After I say it felt like an episode of The Workplace, I child you not:

1. HR submits my request to a 3rd get together to course of. I observe up with HR each two weeks to no response, and don’t have any entry to contacting the third get together. Workplace crew additionally begins pinging HR for a couple of month after me with no response.

2. HR follows up two months later to inquire if the ticket I submitted may very well be closed. I clarify I don’t have my lodging and have been attempting to contact them. HR realizes they by no means submitted my physician’s letter to mentioned third get together and submits it 3+ months after I gave it to them.

3. Third get together says physician’s be aware is inadequate. I am going again to my physician and procure a really detailed be aware. Third get together says the second physician’s be aware continues to be inadequate and request will most likely not be granted. Third get together additionally says hilarious issues like my physician “most likely doesn’t exist as a result of we tried calling them as soon as and acquired a machine.” Each time third get together calls, it additionally seems like they’re calling me from a grocery retailer or one thing, as a result of I hear a scanner within the background regularly beeping as if they’re close to a checkout counter. I push again, saying that I really feel we’re splitting hairs right here, that the physician’s be aware is greater than sufficient, and that I’ll return to HR to debate.

4. HR takes two weeks to schedule a gathering with me. In that point, my ergonomic chair will get accredited (yay!). I nonetheless maintain the assembly with HR and clarify what occurred with the third get together and my considerations.

5. HR tells workplace crew to buy ergonomic chair. Two weeks go by and I observe up with HR about chair. Workplace crew both doesn’t reply, or flat out lies when saying they reached out and are ready on me to reply once they haven’t. I clarify to HR that I haven’t heard from them, and so forth. HR escalates, however doesn’t have a lot of an impression. Different Dwightian discussions happen, reminiscent of the place the chair must be saved because it’s an open flooring plan, we now have no closets, and somebody would possibly steal the chair. There’s speak of chaining the chair to a desk, forcing me to come back into the workplace for 5 days as a substitute of two to make sure I’m sitting within the chair each day and nobody takes it, and so forth. They lastly additionally give me a everlasting desk (once more, open flooring plan), and sincerely debate kicking out a C-suite government (primarily my grandboss) from their desk/chair so I may sit there. I push again and say this may be completely inappropriate, however but once more that is the logic I’m coping with.

6. Chair is lastly ordered simply over a month after accomodation was accredited. From the day I started this request, it took 5 and a half months to get the chair I wanted. Chair has not arrived but, however fingers crossed that it arrives on time within the subsequent few weeks!

My query to you is — was any of this regular? Ought to this have taken this lengthy for an ergonomic chair?

The opposite challenge I really feel is beginning to happen is I feel my supervisor is beginning to get upset. I defined to them once I first began this that given how painful the chairs are (I used to be actually in ache inside quarter-hour of sitting) and I didn’t really feel comfy coming into the workplace till my lodging was sorted out and would proceed to make money working from home. I don’t suppose they actually favored this, however they most likely thought this may take just a few weeks. I don’t suppose my supervisor is proud of how lengthy this took and am fearful they may blame me and even worse, retaliate, overlook me for promotions, and so forth. How do I clarify that this wasn’t completely my fault and that I did every part I may to maneuver this ahead? I’ve tried explaining in additional element to them, however they don’t need to hear it. Is there any option to encourage them to listen to me out?

Was this a stable gold chair inlaid with rubies?

If not: No, none of this was regular or affordable.

In truth, in trainings for employers on how one can deal with worker lodging requests, ergonomic chairs are generally used as an earthly instance for instance “if it’s simple and cheap to say sure, simply do it with out making folks undergo a bunch of paperwork.”

Your organization apparently didn’t get that coaching.

That is ridiculous. All of the workers time they spent going forwards and backwards with you on this virtually definitely added as much as greater than the price of the chair itself.

Cheap employers would simply get you a fricking chair you’ll be able to sit in with out ache. Performed. In the event that they insist on paperwork, effective — nevertheless it must be just a few weeks at most.

I’m tempted accountable the third get together vendor your organization makes use of for lodging requests however your HR crew (a) dropped the ball with sending them the letter, (b) ought to have stepped in once they realized the method was taking months, (c) ought to have pushed again on the declare that the second physician’s be aware was inadequate, and (d) ought to have an issue with their vendor accusing workers of creating up faux docs. Your HR crew additionally sucks for (e) making issues a lot extra difficult than they wanted to be with the logistics — contemplating making you are available in 5 days every week quite than two to make sure nobody steals the chair?! I’m shocked there wasn’t speak of getting the chair its personal safety guard.

As on your supervisor … it’s attainable that their frustration is with the state of affairs, not with you. It definitely must be! But when it’s directed at you — which might be illogical and unfair — then it is likely to be wiser to not convey it up once more proper now and simply let the chair drama finish. Or no less than, to present them just a few months of residing freed from chair dialogue … after which just a few months from now, once they’ll presumably now not be as delicate to the chair dialogue by no means seeming to finish, think about saying, “I used to be actually caught off-guard by how lengthy that lodging course of was, and I’m wondering when you have any recommendation on whether or not I may have managed it in a different way on my finish.” Clearly that’s not the dialogue that’s warranted right here — in a simply world, the dialogue could be “WTF is flawed with our HR division and the way can we guarantee this doesn’t occur to another person?” — nevertheless it is likely to be a option to reinforce that you simply too thought it was absurd and open up a dialogue in the event that they noticed it in a different way than you probably did.

We want an replace if/when the chair arrives.

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