37

Recently my company switched locations. Management overall has been excited/positive about this (or at least, they are in public). Most of the reasoning behind the move revolves around being in a modern building and having a better image. As a programmer none of that impacts me directly, so the move is entirely negative so far:

  • It adds significantly to my drive each way, plus walk-in time. And the area gets worse in rush hour and with snow/rain, which is fairly common.
  • Previously we were on the ground floor. Now it's in a tower, and the floor will flex/move/bounce which is distracting.
  • The combination of being on a high level plus a parking structure means it takes much longer for me to go out for food/breaks.

None of these are that bad alone however just writing them down upsets me. Even though I assume I'll adjust eventually, the overall effect is that I'm feeling frustrated and unhappy just going into work each day. My question is:

How can I communicate these complaints to my boss during our regular meeting (with just the two of us) where he'll certainly ask me about my opinions on the move?

How can I avoid it being seen as whining, and put me in a negative light?

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    @JoeStrazzere: In an ideal universe? A raise to cover the real cost of the extra driving, and possibly moving to a new desk. Realistically, I'd like to not make things worse. Here's the thing though - this felt like whining to me when I thought about it and wrote it. But I am rather socially inept, and I don't trust my judgement on how to handle this. I'd rather ask for advice and see what comes up, it gives me a better baseline to go off of (and the answers have been useful already). – First World Problems Nov 11 '15 at 1:01
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    Unless this was a move of significant distance, some people's commutes probably got easier. Would expect the the company to cut their pay since their commute cost is now lower? Most companies consider commuting just part of the cost of having a job and won't be that concerned about individual commuting costs. – cdkMoose Nov 11 '15 at 14:05
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    You could move closer to the new location. – HLGEM Nov 11 '15 at 14:49
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    You really should have voiced your concerns before the move. A few jobs ago, we were looking at relocating to a new office, but after a bunch of us all said "no, we would really prefer to stay here," management listened and simply renewed the lease. But now that you've actually moved... what's done is done. Sorry. – Mason Wheeler Nov 11 '15 at 15:15
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    @cdkMoose that's not how contracts work, changes have to be agreed by both so would always fall in favour of the employee in situations like this. It would be very unusual for a company not to offer at least something for any significant move. – JamesRyan Nov 11 '15 at 17:26

11 Answers 11

58

Short answer: You are free to voice your concerns, but don't expect anything except platitudes.

Companies don't shift premises lightly. It's very expensive, time consuming, and impacts on the their ability to do their core business during the transition time.

The concerns you have are a combination of both reasonable and what most managers would consider quirky at best, unreasonable at worst.

It adds significantly to my drive each way, plus walk-in time. And the area gets worse in rush hour and with snow/rain, which is fairly common.

I would definitely voice this concern, but if the lease on the new building has been signed, then there is very little that can be done about it now. You state in comments that there are some cases where telecommuting is permitted (but not encouraged). Perhaps you can open dialogue with your manager about spending some time each week working remotely, they may just surprise you :)

Previously we were on the ground floor. Now it's in a tower, and the floor will flex/move/bounce which is distracting.

I would dismiss this out of hand as being largely irrelevant and something of a personal quirk you may have. I've worked in many, many large office buildings and I don't even notice if they move around. However, if you are genuinely concerned about the structural integrity of the building, then you can raise it with your boss, who in turn could talk to the building manager about getting it inspected.

The combination of being on a high level plus a parking structure means it takes much longer for me to go out for food/breaks.

You could raise this, and perhaps see if they are flexible on your lunch breaks. Again, I doubt there's little that will or can be done because it doesn't just affect you. Going down a lift will cost you a minute either way in most cases, so it's probably not really a concern. If the lifts do become problematic, remember they won't just be a problem for you but for others - including your boss. That may give an opportunity to discuss a longer break, varied lunch break time or other workarounds to alleviate it.

I think in the main, you will just have to adjust to the changes. Your question comes across as being somewhat of a rant about having to move, and so most of these things you will simply take time to get used to. The commute is something you will have to work out for yourself if it's something you can deal with. If it becomes a problem, then you may need to consider something closer. But give it a bit of a chance first :)

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    You can ask your boss to talk to the building owner, and to inspect the area if you are worried about structural integrity. With the raise to cover costs, again you can ask. – Jane S Nov 10 '15 at 23:50
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    @FirstWorldProblems - I definitely don't think it would be unreasonable to have a conversation with your manager about telecommuting more often given your longer commute. I assume from the fact that you say "more often" that telecommuting is something which you already do some of? – Carson63000 Nov 11 '15 at 0:43
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    @JaneS fire away! – Carson63000 Nov 11 '15 at 5:28
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    I think that your dismissal about the bouncing floor is very wrong here. It's not usually a structural issue, it's a comfort and usability issue. It's not a "personal quirk." – brian_o Nov 11 '15 at 12:34
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    I’ve worked in a building with springy floors before. It’s not a structural integrity problem; on the contrary, it’s common in buildings build for seismic flexibility. It’s also not usually a huge problem unless you sit next to a guy with a bouncy leg, or next to a high traffic area, which regularly shakes the floor. – Bradd Szonye Nov 12 '15 at 2:00
16

It is not entirely clear how much you are losing with this change, but extra commute time can be a real pain, add stress, and simply just take time for nothing.

If you have specific demands, such as:

  • a raise to cover your time and your commuting expenses,
  • more flexibility to avoid traffic while commuting,
  • a specific position for your desk (may be with a view, now that you are higher?)
  • a parking spot, if you don't have one
  • ...

Basically, this new situation reduces the value of that job for you. If you could choose between 2 identical jobs, one there and one where you were before, you would pick the old place. Now consider what it would take for you to pick that new position.

If you can express that, then yes, say something.

If you are not going to ask for anything, it is not very useful, but being open about it is better than keeping it for yourself if it really bothers you.

Depending on how painful the new commute is, some people would consider changing jobs.

13

How can I communicate these complaints to my boss during our regular meeting (with just the two of us) where he'll certainly ask me about my opinions on the move?

How can I avoid it being seen as whining, and put me in a negative light?

First, consider what you hope to gain my complaining about a move that has already occurred. If you and enough of your peers expressed concerns before the move, perhaps the plan would have changed. But now that the move happened, it's unclear what you can expect in response to your complaints.

If asked, you could indicate that you feel the new location isn't as good for you personally as the old location was for you. And (based on your recent comment) you could indicate that you would like a (presumably small) raise to cover the real cost of the extra driving, and possibly moving to a new desk.

But tread lightly here. Pretty much anything you say could come across as whining. Just the fact that you express it as "a first world problem" almost by definition means that anything you say as a complaint will indeed be whining. Certainly what you wrote here about being "frustrated and unhappy just going into work" comes across that way.

You indicate that most of the reasons for the move don't impact you directly ("as a programmer"). But you are part of this company, and are impacted by its success or failure. Being in a modern building and having a better image might not have been your choice, but try to look at the positives it brings to the company that pays your salary.

Additionally, give it some time. You may not have experienced the positives quite yet, if your move was so recent. Modern buildings in great locations can be terrific places to work.

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    When my previous company moved to a new location (two times), nobody from a management asked anything anyone bellow. We were just informed. – BЈовић Nov 11 '15 at 7:31
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    "frustrated and unhappy just going into work" is in my book a perfectly valid concern in itself. But then the question becomes 1. What can I do myself to improve my mood and motivation, 2. What do I need from others for this, 3. How can my boss help? 4. Am I willing to switch jobs over it, if things don't improve? – hyde Nov 12 '15 at 5:51
6

If you feel strongly about this then yes, but if you do try to present some solutions to these issues as well. Be sure to keep calm about this situation, don't exaggerate and simply let him know how this is impacting on you.

Possible things to suggest to improve upon this would be flexible work arrangements, potentially the ability to work from home one day a week. Maybe a small raise to help off-set the now less desirable situation you find yourself in. Whatever it is, just ensure that you're reasonable about it. Asking to work from home from now on or for an exorbitant raise is a quick way to off-side your manager.

the overall effect is that I'm feeling frustrated and unhappy just going into work each day.

I would think about a professional way to communicate this to him. Potentially I would say something along the lines of:

I'm feeling frustrated by the move as I'm taking me longer to get to work and I don't feel like I'm able to have enough time to eat on my break given the new location.

It's difficult to know exactly how to present this (as I don't know the full situation) but if it is as you say it is then he's likely going to hear this from multiple sources so state your piece, and don't talk him into a corner. You want him to know that you're frustrated but then give him opportunity to do something about the situation.

Keep in mind that I wouldn't expect much in this situation. The company would have considered these positions before relocating the office and a lot of these fall under your personal responsibility.

5

If I were a boss/team leader and something came up out of our control that is going to negatively affect someone on my team, I'd like to know about it. Making a judgement about the claim or you isn't going to change the situation. Only an idiot pokes someone in the eye and dismisses the person's level of discomfort based on how their finger feels.

So the question is, what do you want them to do about it? They can either not move or let you work someone else. Ultimately, it could mean you find another job. Length of commute is a factor for many jobs. Is there a rush hour factor where they could let you come in sooner and leave earlier or visa versa? You could say if I knew the job was this far away for me, I would have asked for more money because I could get the same job much closer.

This really depends on your relationship with your boss, his management style and company policy. I've had managers where I never would mention something like this because they'd get angry and hold it against me. Others I wouldn't think twice about it. Saying you're unhappy with this situation is a start, but be prepared to offer or be open to possible solutions.

4

How can I communicate these complaints to my boss during our regular meeting (with just the two of us) where he'll certainly ask me about my opinions on the move?

If it's a one-on-one meeting, feel free to be honest. Though also don't expect your honest opinions to bring about any change by themselves.

Better than simply complaining about something that has already happened and which can't be rolled back (or at least, certainly won't be rolled back over the complaints of one employee), would be to propose a solution to the problem.

For instance, maybe "I'm not a fan of the move as I find it's been detrimental to my productivity in several aspects, I think I'd get more done if I started working from home [X] days a week; would that be okay?". Or something along those lines, proposing whatever solution you'd actually prefer.

The point is, focus on what would make things better, not on how everything has just gotten so much worse.

Though there's probably nothing you can do about the 'moving-floor' problem, beyond arranging to work from somewhere else from time to time. The other issues around increased commute-time/cost and it taking longer to get food/go on breaks are things could be addressed in a wide variety of different ways (flex-time so that you're not traveling at rush hour, allowing longer lunch breaks, installing a company cafeteria, adjustments to your compensation, etc.).

So think about what you'd most like to see happen (and maybe one or two fallback options), and advocate that instead of merely complaining and hoping that someone else will solve the problem for you.

How can I avoid it being seen as whining, and put me in a negative light?

There's no use crying over spilled milk. So don't belabor the negative aspects of the move. It's happened, and whatever negatives came with it are things that just have to be dealt with.

Try to stay positive, and devote your focus more towards discussing "things I like about the new building" (there must be at least a few), and "how would I make the situation even better" instead of "this is why I don't like the new setup".

3

Or will this just be viewed as whining, and put me in a negative light?

Yes, absolutely. Nothing you have said really warrants complaining about, and the boss cannot help you with your complaints anyway, all you're doing is adding some petty (to the boss) stress to the already stressful situation of relocation and all that goes with it.

If you must then I would not do it as you have outlined. Positive feedback should be given as well as negative so that at least you would come across as thinking it through from both angles and present a balanced picture to the boss.

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    I respectfully disagree. He's not opening the dialog here, he's being sought for feedback and I think that changes the tone entirely. Upvote all the same - I think it's valuable having both perspectives here. – Michael A Nov 10 '15 at 23:50
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    correct, just that sometimes when a boss asks for feedback they're testing the person not the situation. Is the person positive to change, willing to compromise, adaptable, or a whinger? I would focus on the positive things about the move and downplay personal irritations that aren't really significant. In this case it would come across as whining if I was the boss, just my opinion though.... – Kilisi Nov 10 '15 at 23:54
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    FYI, I edited this question to make it a bit more on topic as yes/no questions are not good fits for Stack Exchange in general. – enderland Nov 11 '15 at 0:00
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    of course it does! longer comute time, lessen comfort in the workplace are both valid concerns. More so if there is no eating facility on the premises! Relocating to a place I don't like is one of the reason I would invoke for changing jobs. – njzk2 Nov 11 '15 at 1:59
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    I don't think the OP needs to be excessively concerned about being viewed as negative. As @Codingo notes, his feedback is being sought out. And while there's always the outside chance that the feedback is only being sought as a gauge of character, appearing as a spineless yes-man may fail the character test too. Further, as a programmer the OP's position is likely fairly "safe", or at least, secured by coding ability and not other aspects. It's best to just answer honestly, but yes, also positively. – aroth Nov 11 '15 at 2:06
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You deserve to be heard and your bosses probably want to listen. That doesn't necessarily mean that they'll change everything all at once, but that's okay too.

Your job satisfaction is down as a direct result of the move, so you should bring it up in your one-on-one. You shouldn't be expected to sit there and smile while your situation becomes demonstrably worse.

You can frame it as, "Boss, I know the move made sense for the entire company, and I'm not saying it was a bad idea, but for me personally, there are many parts of it that are bumming me out."

If you are the only one who has issues, not a lot will happen. But you're almost certainly not the only one. If you're all adults communicating honestly, you, your coworkers, and your managers are probably going to come up with some creative ideas for adjusting to your new environment.

Maybe your office can try longer lunches, modified commuting policies, occasional catering, different furniture arrangements, heavier furniture, telework, etc. It'll probably take some trial and error.

None of that can happen if you have a culture of forced-smiling.

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    I would say the time to discuss the move is over, they've already done it. If the bosses didn't want to hear it then, they for sure don't want to hear it now. The only things that can be asked now is to maybe change work hours to avoid traffic and maybe get closer parking spot (7:00a-3:30 works for us), longer lunch, add fridge to bring own lunch, etc. – Dan Shaffer Nov 11 '15 at 14:21
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    @DanShaffer It isn't about getting them to change the decision, it's about how to make life more pleasant and productive in the new environment, and that's not going to happen if everybody says "Everything is great!" – brian_o Nov 11 '15 at 14:39
1

Do any of these issues you have raised go directly towards your productivity? If so, frame it towards something that translates into time or productivity loss directly and you'll likely get a more actionable response, rather than just a friendly ear or outright dismissal of your observations.

It adds significantly to my drive each way, plus walk-in time. And the area gets worse in rush hour and with snow/rain, which is fairly common.

How does this translate to your output? Do you have to leave early? Are you going home late? Is it affecting your work, or is it just a personal issue? Do you have to clock-in/clock-out?I am sure that you are not the only one inconvenienced by a longer commute.

This particular issue is common to many high-rise office complexes - which sounds like what you have moved into. This is doubly true if your building is a shared office complex (ie, each floor is a different company).

If you can translate this intro productivity loss; then your manager may look into telecommuting you for part of the work week. Not sure what much can be done other than that.

Previously we were on the ground floor. Now it's in a tower, and the floor will flex/move/bounce which is distracting.

As mentioned by others, this is a common "feature" with many high rises; especially those that are built in earthquake prone, or especially windy areas. The reason being, the more flexible the building is, the more energy it can absorb rather than dissipate, which makes it structurally sound when it comes to natural disasters like earthquakes.

I know many colleagues that have observed the same in my building (we were on the 11th floor); however it seems to affect everyone differently. Some people barely notice it, others notice it but ignore it.

If its not the building but rather specifically the floor; it sounds like you have a raised floor (common in many buildings, to assist with cabling). You can tell because the floor will be raised when compared to the common area of the building - like the elevator lobby.

If this is the case, moving your desk may not help - unless you move it to an area that doesn't have much foot traffic and if you are unlucky enough to be in an open-plan floor, I don't think much can be done.

The combination of being on a high level plus a parking structure means it takes much longer for me to go out for food/breaks.

You could arrange with your manager to have food delivered to the building (this is what we do, to be honest - then its just a matter of going to the lobby and meeting the delivery person).

However, how is this affecting your productivity? Are these breaks something mandated for everyone or just you specifically? For example - if its a no-smoking building and you need to go out to smoke, this applies specifically to you and not everyone. However, if this is an issue of a lunch break that everyone takes - then its a more common problem and one which others may have raised as well.

The bottom line is to frame these concerns in terms of productivity loss or work output issues - if you expect something to be done about them. If you are just saying them for the sake of getting some feedback on the office, then this is something else entirely.

1

The key question is:

Would you have taken the job on the current pay knowing about the new office?

Then decide what your employer has to do, to make you happy to remain in the job. But they are not going to move back to the old building. So consider options like remote working, flexitime, etc. Then talk to your bos in a “one to one” about it.

However if you say you are unhappy in your job, you put yourself at the top of the list to be let go, if the company ever decides to downsize….

-3

Individual happiness and approval of the move was not a factor in the decision to move your office. Before you complain, have an intended outcome in your head of what you want your manager to do to make the situation better for you.

  1. When asked, you can point out to your boss that you have a longer commute, and ask about working from home a few days a week.
  2. If you really like the work, you could move closer to the new office location.
  3. If you don't like the work, you could look for a new job that is closer to home.
  4. You could make a concerted effort to see positive attributes about the move. Happiness is a personal choice.

Two things that are not going to happen: 1. The company is not going to cancel the move because you're not happy. 2. They are not going to rent office space for you in the old building and leave you behind while the rest of the company moves.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/15/fashion/the-microcomplaint-nothing-too-small-to-whine-about.html

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    This answer doesn't add anything new to the existing question. Please review other answers before adding your own. – Michael Nov 16 '15 at 0:49

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