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I have a dilemma on my hands. I absolutely love my job. I love the people I work with, I love the code I write, I love the equipment we are given to get the job done, I love the programs and daily challenges and I am paid a marginally above average salary. And everything is managed so perfectly that we never had crunch time.

There is however only one problem with my job, and that is the office. The office space that I was assigned into is terrible. It causes my sinuses to flare up, the air is so stale and dirty and dusty that I constantly cough. The temperature controls are completely broken to the point where it is either 28 degrees or 17 degrees in the office. The problem is that I brought this up with the manager before, but he simply shrugged and said that there is nothing he can do about office space. When I asked for working remotely more often, that was denied too. And the problem is that no amount of proof will do anything. The conditions are so bad that this is taking a toll on me mentally too. Imagine working in 28 degree room when you just came from -15 outside. Or 17 degree room when you came from 30 degrees outside.

This causes me to have two questions. Is there any other way to solve this problem? If not, is it even worth sacrificing such an amazing work and team for something that might be worse? This job literally ticks all the check marks except office working conditions.

EDIT: The country I am from is Canada, and the office space is open concept that houses seven people. It is 10m by 10m office.

  • I have a friend who reacts to our church - we think there is mold that only causes him to get sick, but it always does make him sick. He simply can't go in the building. Since you're using the Celsius, that means you're not in the US - specifying a country might help, because there may be local laws that provide you some protection. – thursdaysgeek Dec 27 '18 at 18:24
  • @SethR air purifier still won't be able to handle all the dust/stale air and won't fix the temperature controls. The issue is that the building in which company is located is very very old and due to that has archaic systems that do not really work properly. – Quillion Dec 27 '18 at 18:32
  • if it is one shared office ............... unfortunately it's difficult to see a solution. The only solution would be moving the business am I right? – Fattie Dec 27 '18 at 18:53
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    Every box is ticked except the most important one, your job is harming your health. – Cris Dec 27 '18 at 19:36
  • @Abigail I am the most senior person in the company. And rest of the team is composed of very wonderful people, but unfortunately none of them have a backbone to complain. They all have told me that the conditions are really gross, but none of them feel comfortable complaining out in the open. As they said it is not worth risking a great job over one issue that can't be fixed. – Quillion Dec 28 '18 at 16:55
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First, as was suggested in the comments, find out what local regulations govern indoor air quality. The U.S. has the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Canada has the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). Both organizations exist to make sure workplaces aren't harmful to workers. If the building is as old as it sounds, you might have other things to worry about like exposure to asbestos.

This is really a matter of economics. You're being compensated for the work you do and whatever aggravation it brings. The problems brought about by the physical space where you work fall under the heading of aggravation. Spending the day working in uncomfortable temperatures, inhaling whatever is in the air and constant coughing take a physical and mental toll. It's not something that can be left on your desk when you leave for the day, which means they spill over into your personal life and prevent fully enjoying your time off. Putting a dollar figure on that is difficult, but it is costing you something. If they haven't already, those costs are going to make the arrangement you have with your employer less than equitable.

It sounds like you've made the problems caused by the working conditions abundantly clear and your employer has made it equally clear that they're not going to do anything to improve the situation. With the balance tipped away from you and unlikely to return, it's probably time to go.

  • Forcing their hand to take measures to fix the office conditions will almost certainly come at the cost of the positive relations with the people who were just strong-armed. (I'm not saying they shouldn't have to fix the office. But they aren't going to like the guy who went to a regulatory agency to make them do it.) – user85135 Dec 27 '18 at 19:40
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    @bruglesco Agreed, although it's also possible that fixing the problems is the responsibility of the building owner rather than the tenant. I intentionally left out an ultimatum (show positive progress on this in 90 days or I'm leaving) for the same reason. It's a real shame something like this has to be a sticking point on an otherwise good job. – Blrfl Dec 27 '18 at 19:58
  • agreed. Such good jobs are often so hard to find. – user85135 Dec 27 '18 at 19:59
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You have accumulated many plus-points in this job. That shows you are capable, sociable and trusted. So list all those accomplishments and build yourself a new job at a different company in a better building. You have shown yourself that you can do it ... so do it again.

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If you cant control or fix the office, perhaps you can control or fix your surrounding environment.

get a small usb desktop humidifier to correct your air quality. If your co-workers are more easy going perhaps gets an essential oil diffuser to correct the moisture and add a pleasure aroma to the room.

for temperature issues, get a small heater/desk fan based on what time of year it is. if its super cold in the office during the winter it stands to reason that it will be super hot in the summer.

Of course before jumping into some of these suggestions you may want to clear it with management.

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    I've been in places where electric heaters were banned because the wiring was already loaded to near-capacity. I assume OP's building does not come with modern wiring. – David Thornley Dec 27 '18 at 21:50

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