We share office space with another company owned by my direct supervisor (yes, very confusing). I had a day off on Friday and in my absence my co-worker allowed the executive assistant of the other company to use my office for the day. When I mentioned that it is kind of strange to me as there are other places she can work from in the building my co-worker kind of said I am making a mountain out of a mole hill. I just think it is not professional.

  • A- you could have asked me
  • B- the company I work for pays rent to the company she works for so maybe we should not have our offices used
  • C- for data security and compliance I would need to lock even the smallest scrap of paper up if an outside person will be in my office (My laptop and files are all locked securely)

Should I just see what happens? Am I right to be concerned or is it all harmless?

  • 2
    did you approached your higher ups stating this same issue? Feb 6, 2019 at 4:37
  • Do you have a key to the office? Why do you not lock it?
    – Mawg
    Feb 6, 2019 at 7:49
  • @Rad80: You're right - title expanded. Hope you like it :-).
    – sleske
    Feb 6, 2019 at 8:03
  • 1
    @Mawg: Even if OP has a key, the company (supervisor, facility manager, cleaning staff...) will certainly have a key, too, which would likely be used in the case OP describes.
    – sleske
    Feb 6, 2019 at 8:24
  • 2
    "for data security and compliance I would need to lock even the smallest scrap of paper up if an outside person will be in my office" You're concerned about someone else using your office because you have sensitive info laying around on paper? Locking up sensitive info on paper seems like a smart thing to do, even if no one has explicit permission to use your office.
    – dwizum
    Feb 6, 2019 at 17:39

4 Answers 4


From the sound of it, you can ask your Higher ups, but since she is an Executive Assistant chances are not much is going to happen.

Firstly, if security is tough, your laptop and files should be locked anyway. Cleaners and Maintenance crew will often have access to the entire building, so if she were to see some files and the such, they could blame you for not securing the documents in the first place, since the Cleaners and/or Maintenance people could access it as well.

Secondly, if you had an office, it may have simply been a nice and secluded place for the assistant to work. I've known people who will go to different levels or book rooms across the building to get away from their team and do some work.

If you want to determine what to do, simply approach any higher ups and state that you were a bit concerned about her behavior. Something along the lines of "Hello, I found out XXX was working in my office last week and I was wondering if there were any issues with this". You can also ask the executive assistant why she chose to use your office. Just make sure you are not trying to prevent or blame her from using your office that way you will just appeared overly worried about company policy rather than being very aggressive about your office space.


This is pretty harmless and should be expected from time to time, especially when there's a shortage of desk space available.

If you have security related items in your office, then it's up to you to have those secured away (because there's nothing to stop anyone from entering your office and taking a look around).

There's no need to raise this or ask questions about it, just use this as a prompt to consider what you're leaving out in the open for the cleaners/walk-by colleagues to read.


I just think it is not professional.

You are very right. In a professional office space, it's unprofessional, unethical and a security policy violation in case any outsider wants to have access without proper authorization and security check clearance.

Should I just see what happens?

Knowing about a (probable) security breach and not reporting it is also considered as a security breach in most of the cases, so unless there was proper approvals taken (maybe beyond your knowledge), this is very unusual.

Make sure the appropriate authorities are aware of this event. You don't need to launch an official complaint right now, just inform the concerned people (Admin team, HR, your immediate superior) about this and ask for their opinion, make sure you do this in writing (even if you do it in a non-formal way).

Usually companies do not have different data privacy and security roles based on the designation. The access privilege will differ, but the individual access and privacy is still individual.


allowed the executive assistant of the other company to use my office for the day.

It's not your office. Unless you pay the rent out of your own pocket, the office and anything in there belongs to the company and the company can decide to use however they see fit.

If the executive assistant being in there violated any security policy, you can complain about that, but the use of the office itself is fair game.

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