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This is my third day in a new company in Thailand. I'm the only CTO who is responsible as Data Scientist and for rewriting the existing project. On the first day I worked, I sneezed during the meeting. On the second day I started to get a sore throat. I feel very worried that I would end up being sick rather than enjoying spending the money. The office also has two air purifiers, but they are not switched on. Maybe they are not effective against the virus in the air.

I have read "getting my bosses to fix the air conditioning", but people around here just have sore throats. They are also having a moderate turnover rate. Air might be one factor of this as well. Since people here can choose jobs.

Workplace spec

  1. Single medium size company office
  2. Space is 80% utilized. Loaded by many paper documents. It is an accounting company
  3. Building is old

Symptoms

  1. Sneezing
  2. Sore throat
  3. Anxiety that my health will be getting worse

This situation is happening in Bangkok Silom; it is well-known that air around here is pretty bad. However, I don't think the air pollution from outside will impact the inside of the building.

The jobs here is a very challenging one. I prefer to work in Software Engineering and as a Data Scientist. The company owner offered me this because of our connection. I and he met online in the chatroom of high school alumni.

Questions:

  1. Is this called office syndrome?
  2. Is it normal to tolerate bad air in the office?
  3. Suppose I am trying to resolve this issue, but not effective against it. How long do I need to try a week, 2 weeks? or a month? Before making a negotiation to work from home or worst case resign?
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    Don't just assume this is due to the air in the building. You could just be down with the flu. – dan-klasson Apr 3 at 1:26
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    Is this your very first job? – Nazrein Apr 3 at 1:29
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this seems to largely be asking for medical advice, which is an issue you need to discuss with your doctor. Also, since every body (/everybody) is different, what we'd do in a comparable situation is a very flawed measure of what you should do. Also also, you've had other jobs, so it seems you already know you shouldn't have to tolerate this. – Dukeling Apr 3 at 3:57
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    A common cold has an incubation time of about a week, which means when you start getting symptoms you caught the infection about a week ago. Quite possibly you just have a cold that you caught before you even startet working there. Wait a few days (a common cold should not last much longer than 7 days) if you feel not that bad. If you get fever go to the doctor. – Lehue Apr 3 at 8:15
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    Sounds like you are a hypochondriac, like me. – bushell Apr 3 at 15:46
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Is this called office syndrome?

I have never heard such term, but Googling it seems that this is not such thing (as it seems the Syndrome is for sitting long times)

Is it normal to tolerate bad air in the office?

No, it should not. Bad air is bad for your health and that affects your well-being and performance in a negative way.

Suppose I am trying to resolve this issue, but not effective against it. How long do I need to try a week, 2 weeks? or a month? Before make a negotiation to work from home or worst case resign?

First, as suggested in comments, you should check with your doctor before jumping to any conclusions. After that you will have a better idea on how to proceed.

If indeed this is probably caused by the A/C (as per your Doctor's conclusion), then proceed to convince your boss or the one in charge of infrastructure that it's time to clean the filters.

If they seem reluctant, try having some coworkers that are experiencing this to back you up, so they see this is not only an issue with you. If they are reasonable they should take action and solve this issue.

On another note, keep in mind that another possibility is that the low temperature is affecting you, and not necessarily polluted air. It is not uncommon to sneeze when the A/C is on a low temperature (or when you go outside and it's cold or raining).

Perhaps you (as it is my case) are sensitive to low A/C temperatures. In my case I try to increase the temperature of the A/C if possible or go somewhere else where the temperature is warmer... but as I know most of my coworkers are ok with it, I usually opt to bring more cover (sweater, etc.) to the office, so I don't make most of my coworkers uncomfortable because I don't like cold temperatures.

  • 1
    The term the OP is looking for is sick building syndrome – jmoreno Apr 3 at 1:16
  • I had confirmed with colleagues. The first attempt from company is removing the carpet floor. But the problem still persist. Then air 3 purifiers came to the office to curve this problem. I just found another one sitting near by photo copier. – Sarit Apr 3 at 2:57

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