Advice for final OH meeting, ADHD, "reasonable adjustments", tiny office, heating not working

Hello,

I have my final OH meeting tomorrow. I'd really appreciate some advice. I was diagnosed with ADHD in May. We moved into a tiny office in August. From what I suspect it's a lot smaller than the 11m3 that the HSE have quoted as the minimum space per employee under Regulation 10 workplace health 1992. However, I intend to get to work early on Thursday and measure it. 

I work for a university. There's 5 of us in a tiny room. We all now face the wall. We barely have enough space to walk past one another. Some people are really loud and slam their desk and pedestal drawers. The last two days when it has been especially cold the heating hasn't been on either. It's been really hard to concentrate.

I am allowed to leave the room and sit elsewhere for a short while after seeking my manager's permission. We're also now not allowed to eat anything in the room in case the smell offends others and any academics that may visit! My lunch break has been cut down from 1 hour to 30 minutes as I now cannot start at 8AM anymore because another manager thinks we should only start from 8.30 as there's no point being there when the academics aren't there. Since I work 18 hours a week spread over 3 days and need to leave by 3PM this now only allows me 30 minute lunch break.

On Tuesday when I left to sit in the library, my manager responded by also saying I suppose so. She's normally happy for me to sit elsewhere. As soon as I left she went straight over to her manager's room. I could hear her behind me. I could be imagining it but I suspect it was to discuss this. I also had an apple in my hand as I didn't have enough time to finish my lunch so I am not sure if that added to the situation. Plus I was cold as the heating wasn't on.

My gut feeling is that she will bring this up in my OH meeting. She probably wont like the fact that I left to sit in the library straight after my 30 minute lunch break. 

Can anybody give me any advice or backup on reasonable adjustments?  I have only been in the role for a year so I'm not in a strong position. My OH form states that these adjustments cannot continue beyond the 3 months. The 3 months are now over. I am not even asking for anything. The temporary reduction in workload didn't happen as we were during a quiet period anyway. I don't even need it. I've been there a year and I am a lot more on top of things. I just want to be able to leave the room and sit in the library when I need to providing there is nothing else obviously going on that needs me to be there. Thank you for reading.
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  • Marcon
    Marcon Posts: 9,992
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    cs95aam said:
    Hello,

    I have my final OH meeting tomorrow. I'd really appreciate some advice. I was diagnosed with ADHD in May. We moved into a tiny office in August. From what I suspect it's a lot smaller than the 11m3 that the HSE have quoted as the minimum space per employee under Regulation 10 workplace health 1992. However, I intend to get to work early on Thursday and measure it. 

    I work for a university. There's 5 of us in a tiny room. We all now face the wall. We barely have enough space to walk past one another. Some people are really loud and slam their desk and pedestal drawers. The last two days when it has been especially cold the heating hasn't been on either. It's been really hard to concentrate.

    I am allowed to leave the room and sit elsewhere for a short while after seeking my manager's permission. We're also now not allowed to eat anything in the room in case the smell offends others and any academics that may visit! My lunch break has been cut down from 1 hour to 30 minutes as I now cannot start at 8AM anymore because another manager thinks we should only start from 8.30 as there's no point being there when the academics aren't there. Since I work 18 hours a week spread over 3 days and need to leave by 3PM this now only allows me 30 minute lunch break.

    On Tuesday when I left to sit in the library, my manager responded by also saying I suppose so. She's normally happy for me to sit elsewhere. As soon as I left she went straight over to her manager's room. I could hear her behind me. I could be imagining it but I suspect it was to discuss this. I also had an apple in my hand as I didn't have enough time to finish my lunch so I am not sure if that added to the situation. Plus I was cold as the heating wasn't on.

    My gut feeling is that she will bring this up in my OH meeting. She probably wont like the fact that I left to sit in the library straight after my 30 minute lunch break. 

    Can anybody give me any advice or backup on reasonable adjustments?  I have only been in the role for a year so I'm not in a strong position. 1. My OH form states that these adjustments cannot continue beyond the 3 months. The 3 months are now over. I am not even asking for anything. The temporary reduction in workload didn't happen as we were during a quiet period anyway. I don't even need it. I've been there a year and I am a lot more on top of things. 2. I just want to be able to leave the room and sit in the library when I need to providing there is nothing else obviously going on that needs me to be there. Thank you for reading.
    1. It seems very odd to make adjustments for 3 months and say they can't continue after 3 months. If they were necessary in the first place, why aren't they still necessary - and why can't they be continued?

    2. Sit in the library doing what, exactly - calming yourself down/trying to focus, or actually carrying out the work you're employed to do?

    None of this sounds very promising, I fear, but I think you need to be absolutely clear what you do want/need, why you want/need it, and whether your requirements are ever going to tally with the needs of your employer.
    Googling on your question might have been both quicker and easier, if you're only after simple facts rather than opinions!  
  • cs95aam said:
    Hello,

    Can anybody give me any advice or backup on reasonable adjustments?  I have only been in the role for a year so I'm not in a strong position. My OH form states that these adjustments cannot continue beyond the 3 months. The 3 months are now over. I am not even asking for anything. The temporary reduction in workload didn't happen as we were during a quiet period anyway. I don't even need it. I've been there a year and I am a lot more on top of things. I just want to be able to leave the room and sit in the library when I need to providing there is nothing else obviously going on that needs me to be there. Thank you for reading.

    All I can say is that the punishment must fit the crime, and if they try to go after you for asking for something small like going to the library to eat lunch, I suggest you absolutely fight back and go through their entire list of company handbooks and also document any of their wrongdoing, as well as any special provisions or exceptions anybody else takes in the office.

    I'm not sure what your claim or problem exactly is, ADHD is not exactly the biggest diagnosis and I'm not sure it requires that many reasonable adjustments. But what I can say is that if they try to go after you for asking for said adjustments, you can also absolutely treat them as a hostile party.
  • cs95aam
    cs95aam Posts: 288
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    Marcon said:
    ace4500 said:
    cs95aam said:
    Hello,

    Can anybody give me any advice or backup on reasonable adjustments?  I have only been in the role for a year so I'm not in a strong position. My OH form states that these adjustments cannot continue beyond the 3 months. The 3 months are now over. I am not even asking for anything. The temporary reduction in workload didn't happen as we were during a quiet period anyway. I don't even need it. I've been there a year and I am a lot more on top of things. I just want to be able to leave the room and sit in the library when I need to providing there is nothing else obviously going on that needs me to be there. Thank you for reading.

    All I can say is that the punishment must fit the crime, and if they try to go after you for asking for something small like going to the library to eat lunch, I suggest you absolutely fight back and go through their entire list of company handbooks and also document any of their wrongdoing, as well as any special provisions or exceptions anybody else takes in the office.

    I'm not sure what your claim or problem exactly is, ADHD is not exactly the biggest diagnosis and I'm not sure it requires that many reasonable adjustments. But what I can say is that if they try to go after you for asking for said adjustments, you can also absolutely treat them as a hostile party.
    ....and with under two years' service, how is any of this going to help? Getting into a scrap isn't going to encourage the employer to be accommodating.
    Yes I know. I really don't want to get into an argument or confrontation. However, employees are entitled to basic things like a reasonably warm office and enough space to move around and not find that somebody is shouting in your ear in the background. If they cannot provide this then one reasonable adjustment is to allow employees to sit and work in another area for a short space of time. 
  • cs95aam
    cs95aam Posts: 288
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    ace4500 said:
    cs95aam said:
    Hello,

    Can anybody give me any advice or backup on reasonable adjustments?  I have only been in the role for a year so I'm not in a strong position. My OH form states that these adjustments cannot continue beyond the 3 months. The 3 months are now over. I am not even asking for anything. The temporary reduction in workload didn't happen as we were during a quiet period anyway. I don't even need it. I've been there a year and I am a lot more on top of things. I just want to be able to leave the room and sit in the library when I need to providing there is nothing else obviously going on that needs me to be there. Thank you for reading.

    All I can say is that the punishment must fit the crime, and if they try to go after you for asking for something small like going to the library to eat lunch, I suggest you absolutely fight back and go through their entire list of company handbooks and also document any of their wrongdoing, as well as any special provisions or exceptions anybody else takes in the office.

    I'm not sure what your claim or problem exactly is, ADHD is not exactly the biggest diagnosis and I'm not sure it requires that many reasonable adjustments. But what I can say is that if they try to go after you for asking for said adjustments, you can also absolutely treat them as a hostile party.
    The challenge I am having in this tiny room with 4 other people is that its simply too loud at times for me to concentrate. This causes me to lose focus, increases stress and as a result I may not get things done correctly or I could make a mistake. Hence why I need to simply get away for a bit. Monday and Tuesday were especially challenging as the heating wasn't on and I was simply too cold to concentrate. I suppose I'll just have to play the meeting by ear. I don't wish to cause trouble. I just hope the right to leave the room with the agreement of my manager stays in place. That's what I really need. They often speak to me like I'm a 5 year old. I think that says more about them than me. Thanks for your input.
  • cs95aam
    cs95aam Posts: 288
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    Marcon said:
    cs95aam said:
    Hello,

    I have my final OH meeting tomorrow. I'd really appreciate some advice. I was diagnosed with ADHD in May. We moved into a tiny office in August. From what I suspect it's a lot smaller than the 11m3 that the HSE have quoted as the minimum space per employee under Regulation 10 workplace health 1992. However, I intend to get to work early on Thursday and measure it. 

    I work for a university. There's 5 of us in a tiny room. We all now face the wall. We barely have enough space to walk past one another. Some people are really loud and slam their desk and pedestal drawers. The last two days when it has been especially cold the heating hasn't been on either. It's been really hard to concentrate.

    I am allowed to leave the room and sit elsewhere for a short while after seeking my manager's permission. We're also now not allowed to eat anything in the room in case the smell offends others and any academics that may visit! My lunch break has been cut down from 1 hour to 30 minutes as I now cannot start at 8AM anymore because another manager thinks we should only start from 8.30 as there's no point being there when the academics aren't there. Since I work 18 hours a week spread over 3 days and need to leave by 3PM this now only allows me 30 minute lunch break.

    On Tuesday when I left to sit in the library, my manager responded by also saying I suppose so. She's normally happy for me to sit elsewhere. As soon as I left she went straight over to her manager's room. I could hear her behind me. I could be imagining it but I suspect it was to discuss this. I also had an apple in my hand as I didn't have enough time to finish my lunch so I am not sure if that added to the situation. Plus I was cold as the heating wasn't on.

    My gut feeling is that she will bring this up in my OH meeting. She probably wont like the fact that I left to sit in the library straight after my 30 minute lunch break. 

    Can anybody give me any advice or backup on reasonable adjustments?  I have only been in the role for a year so I'm not in a strong position. 1. My OH form states that these adjustments cannot continue beyond the 3 months. The 3 months are now over. I am not even asking for anything. The temporary reduction in workload didn't happen as we were during a quiet period anyway. I don't even need it. I've been there a year and I am a lot more on top of things. 2. I just want to be able to leave the room and sit in the library when I need to providing there is nothing else obviously going on that needs me to be there. Thank you for reading.
    1. It seems very odd to make adjustments for 3 months and say they can't continue after 3 months. If they were necessary in the first place, why aren't they still necessary - and why can't they be continued?

    2. Sit in the library doing what, exactly - calming yourself down/trying to focus, or actually carrying out the work you're employed to do?

    None of this sounds very promising, I fear, but I think you need to be absolutely clear what you do want/need, why you want/need it, and whether your requirements are ever going to tally with the needs of your employer.
    1. The rationale behind the 3 months was a letter from an external OH company that asked for a reduction in workload and written instructions for tasks for the 3 months whilst the medication kicked in. The medication didnt suit me so I stopped taking it, that was a few weeks ago, and now I feel better in terms of tackling work and also having had the experience of the job for a year.

    2. The agreement is to sit either in the library or the student lounge to work. I do not just sit there and do nothing.
  • GingerTim
    GingerTim Posts: 1,918
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    Regarding the noise, could you ask your employer to provide a set of noise-cancelling headphones as a compromise?
  • At my work place, I take headphones to blocked out the radio as it drives me loopy and I can't concentrate.
    I also take a hot water bottle as I'm freezing all the time when I'm there.

    Can you do these things? It might help combat the problems with the cold and the noise. 
    Why can't you eat your lunch in 30 mins? That's quite a long time. 
  • cs95aam
    cs95aam Posts: 288
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    edited 18 October 2023 at 7:05PM
    At my work place, I take headphones to blocked out the radio as it drives me loopy and I can't concentrate.
    I also take a hot water bottle as I'm freezing all the time when I'm there.

    Can you do these things? It might help combat the problems with the cold and the noise. 
    Why can't you eat your lunch in 30 mins? That's quite a long time. 
    I'm considering taking a hot water bottle tomorrow thanks. We don't have the radio on that wouldnt be allowed. Well the 30 minutes includes the time to get to the canteen, choose and pay for lunch and then get back. It leaves about 15 minutes if that. It's a rush for me. 
  • cs95aam
    cs95aam Posts: 288
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    GingerTim said:
    Regarding the noise, could you ask your employer to provide a set of noise-cancelling headphones as a compromise?
    That's a good idea. They did get me the Loop Engage in ear ear plugs a few weeks ago but they are next to useless. Will consider the headphones. Are there any that you can recommend?
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