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I recently went to the eye doctor, and got myself some nice glasses. They are great, and I paid for all the goodies. Non glare, etc.

I have a coworker whose desk is over my left shoulder directly against the window. I had shut the blinds a bit ( you could still see out, just not wide opened ) because the sunlight coming in reflects a good bit and it makes it difficult to see.

The way my workspace is configured, it is too small for me to put my PC and monitors anywhere else so the only option for me to see clearly and be productive is for the blinds to be closed somewhat to cut out the glare.

This, to my surprise has aggravated my co-worker a bit. I explained the situation, showed how I was limited as to where I could put my monitors and PC, yet he still seemed irritated. We are at capacity so moving cubes is not an option.

How can I make certain he knows I am only doing this for work purposes and not attempting to intrude on his work space? Before this incident we had no issues, and even this one is not huge.

  • 3
    What is the sun reflecting off? The insides of your new glasses? Your monitors? Your glossy Bruce Springsteen poster on your cubicle wall? – Snow Sep 6 '18 at 14:44
  • @Snow My poster is on a wall not affected by the sun. Its reflecting of the desk mostly and somewhat the monitors. – Mister Positive Sep 6 '18 at 14:46
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    @MisterPositive How do the glasses figure into this equation? Seems like the same question even if you remove this bit – rath Sep 6 '18 at 15:01
  • 6
    @rath Prior to wearing them I wasn't bothered by the glare for whatever reason. Now that I can see very clearly now, it has a higher impact. (May not make sense but its reality.) – Mister Positive Sep 6 '18 at 15:02
  • Some glasses have anti-glare coatings. (I don't know whether such coatings can be applied to existing glasses.)* – Keith Thompson Sep 6 '18 at 15:48
11

It seems like a really trivial thing to get possessive over, but some office workers do claim 'ownership' of an adjacent window (at least in their own minds). From the sound of things, by insisting the blinds are always down a bit, you are intruding on that. This might be further fuelled by the fact that your colleague probably actively tried to get a window desk; many people do. I'm not saying that gives them the right to be angry at your recent acquisitions; that's just how their mind is working. I've seen it happen in other workplaces.

A healthy middle ground might be to find a semi-transparent film to go over the window. The window next to me has one because I like having the window open (to remind me of the world outside...) but we want to minimise glare for everyone, which is what the film does. You could suggest asking your manager if you could find one for your window. If you emphasise to your colleague that you are looking at a way of satisfying both of you and you're not being selfish (even though it reads like he is the one being selfish), he might simmer down.

In the meantime, you must unfortunately have to politely remind your colleague that you cannot do any meaningful work without the blind down slightly. It is unfair that he is reacting like this, but he is unlikely to formally complain if you insist on keeping the blinds down. If worst comes to worst, the manager is likely to side with you as your colleague has no productivity issues based on the window whereas you do.

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    A healthy middle ground might be to find a semi-transparent film to go over the window. Good idea... – Mister Positive Sep 6 '18 at 15:00
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    @MisterPositive Drawing from the transparent film idea, at my office they use cardboard tops of printer papers to block the sunlight. The good news is that the glare probably only occurs a few hours during the workday. – Dan Sep 6 '18 at 17:06
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    I like having the window open (to remind me of the world outside...) and that's why we fight for that window spot – William-H-M Sep 7 '18 at 13:44
  • "you cannot do any meaningful work without the blind down slightly." Well, that's not quite true. The OP was didn't seem to have a problem before getting new glasses. – Acccumulation Apr 30 at 0:52
  • @Acccumulation my understanding was that the OP didn't have glasses previously. He presumably didn't have a problem with glare previously but I would assume he had other issues leading to him getting checked by a doctor. – Dustybin80 Apr 30 at 10:44
5

As somebody with finicky vision issues including problems with glare, I've been in this situation. Consider your coworker's perspective: he's happily had his window view for some time and now suddenly a coworker is telling him it's a problem. Naturally he's going to be frustrated. The best way to communicate about your needs and maintain a good working relationship is to show him what you're doing to try to mitigate the problem first, and then ask him for help in solving your shared problem.

At one company they put us all in a row along a row of windows because "everybody likes light". I asked about interior spaces but there weren't any. I closed the blinds at "my" window but the light from the one behind me was a problem. Instead of asking my new coworker to keep his blinds closed, I instead built a little cardboard shield behind my workspace, in line with his window. I explained why I was doing it ("no I'm not anti-social, really!"), and he helped me adjust things to block more of the problematic light. At another company I couldn't avoid window glare and asked to move to a place that wouldn't normally be a work space -- I had a table right next to the coffee machine and fridge, space that was considered undesirable because it was kind of cramped and would be noisy. Our office manager was a little perplexed that I wanted to downgrade from a "nicer" space, but by thinking creatively I was able to mitigate my vision problems without imposing on coworkers.

Try to do something that affects only you, and ask your coworker to help you brainstorm so you can both get what you need. Show him that you're trying to preserve his window view while meeting your very real vision needs. And because this is a change, it wouldn't hurt to acknowledge that this is new and you realize it's disrupting him. You can be lighthearted about that -- "sorry, but my doctor says my eyes are no longer mint condition and I need some artificial help".

3

How can I make certain he knows I am only doing this for work purposes and not attempting to intrude on his work space?

Just talk to him!

Something like "I really want you to know that I am only doing this for work purposes and I'm not attempting to intrude on your workspace." should make certain he knows.

There nothing fancy here.

If all else fails, try to find someone willing to swap cubicles. That wouldn't change capacity at all.

  • I have been talking to him sir...and moving cubes isn't an option. – Mister Positive Sep 6 '18 at 15:30
  • I am truly at a loss here. I don't see how a reasonable person could hold this against me. Its not that I want to like having to wear glasses... – Mister Positive Sep 6 '18 at 15:45
  • The cubes were selected based on seniority. I am low man....I hinted at it with the most likely person to switch and they were not open to it. – Mister Positive Sep 6 '18 at 15:51
3

If you don't mind having the blinds open aside from the glare, you might look into anti-glare filters for your monitors.

-3

Take the higher moral ground.

"My medical condition unfortunately does not allow for direct sunlight. Thank you for your understanding."

deflect

"It is unfortunate that the company does not have open policy with regards to seating."

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    Playing the moral superiority card in response to someone being irritated because you took something from them is not going to make them less irritated. Assuming you actually want a good relationship with the employee in question, this is not the way to get it. "Thanking" someone for "being understanding" about something they're actually aggrieved on in particular is kind of passive-aggressive. You might get them to go away and leave you alone, but they are highly likely to resent it. – Ben Barden Sep 6 '18 at 19:28
  • The "medical condition" line is simply not true. – Jim Clay Sep 6 '18 at 21:05
  • @JimClay "I recently went to the eye doctor, and got myself some nice glasses" So requiring prescription glasses is not a medical condition? – paulj Sep 7 '18 at 12:15
  • People who wear glasses can experience direct sunlight without harm to their health. The medical condition line makes it sound like there is something else going on. – Jim Clay Sep 7 '18 at 13:23

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