How can I be less annoying?

posted
22-Oct-12, 12:08
edited about 4 seconds later
Avatar for Elizabeth111
posted about 5 years ago
======= Date Modified 22 Oct 2012 12:51:36 =======
I have been given desk space in an office which is terribly untidy.

The room holds about 10 people when it is full and it does feel cramped. There are boxes of stuff everywhere none of which have been touched since I arrived a year ago. I want to tidy the place up so that we have some more room. I suggested this to colleagues and half think it is great idea and half are utterly horrified at the prospect. Any ideas as to how i can get my way i.e. clear out the clutter without coming across as so annoying to my colleagues?
posted
22-Oct-12, 14:39
edited about 10 seconds later
Avatar for DocInsanity
posted about 5 years ago
Why are half horrified? I can't see why tidying up should be annoying. The main thing is to do it at a time when it disrupts the other people as little as possible.
posted
22-Oct-12, 15:27
by sneaks 5 star member
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 5 years ago
I'd just blame it on someone else e.g.

"oh did you all get that email? the one from health and safety? the woman said she had come past the office and its a complete fire and trip risk what with all the paper and boxes everywhere and she's given us five days to sort it out - what a pain! Hang on, I'll try and find the email - oh no I must have deleted it! Didn't you get it? Oh well, we'll have to sort it out tomorrow. I'll get some boxes and some shredding bags and we can all sort it out over some tea and cake"

job done.
posted
22-Oct-12, 15:27
edited about 11 seconds later
by sneaks 5 star member
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 5 years ago
I am of course a compulsive liar however 8-)
posted
22-Oct-12, 15:34
Avatar for HazyJane
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From elizabeth111:

There are boxes of stuff everywhere none of which have been touched since I arrived a year ago.

By all means have a tidy up but I strongly urge you not to get rid of anything. A year is a short time in academia and someone might well be looking for the contents of those boxes in a couple of years time. If you do move any of the stuff to other rooms, make a note of what has been moved where, a leave a copy with an administrator/research manager who is likely to be around in the future.
posted
22-Oct-12, 15:39
edited about 6 seconds later
Avatar for Elizabeth111
posted about 5 years ago
======= Date Modified 22 Oct 2012 15:40:43 =======
Strangely enough the health and safety chap came round last week and we have been deemed a health and safety hazard but sadly not a fire risk. I think if the boxes were bad enough to be endangering the fabric of the building by being a fire risk we would need to do something about it but so long as they are simply a tripping hazard on the way to the kettle it is not
a biggy in terms of health and safety. We simply have to watch our step.

I find it hard to be surrounded by a load of junk but it appears that some of my colleagues find it comforting and any talk of change is a source of great distress to them. I know they find it very annoying that I am keen to have a clear up and really I am just after a bit of advice about how to go ahead and get the job done without seeming like a whiny, nagging pain in the neck.
posted
22-Oct-12, 15:44
edited about 26 seconds later
Avatar for HazyJane
posted about 5 years ago
======= Date Modified 22 Oct 2012 15:52:37 =======
Quote From elizabeth111:

I know they find it very annoying that I am keen to have a clear up and really I am just after a bit of advice about how to go ahead and get the job done without seeming like a whiny, nagging pain in the neck.


If there is resistance from your colleagues then it needs to come from the top. Seriously - get someone more senior on board with the issue. Otherwise you run the risk of permanently annoying people you have to work with

But regarding my earlier point - it depends on your field, but in some research areas there are bits of documentation that one has to keep for X number of years to meet legal obligations. You don't want to be the one responsible for binning something that looks mundane but which is actually important.
posted
22-Oct-12, 15:50
edited about 15 seconds later
Avatar for Elizabeth111
posted about 5 years ago
I know what you mean about the importance of keeping items related to research findings and I don't plan to put out anything like that! I am talking about putting out broken signs, periodicals from the 1990s which were written in a language none of the current staff speak and annual reports from organisations we have no contact with. In fact I think the reports could have come here by mistake! None of the current staff are sure why we have them and nobody can be bothered sorting it out except for me who would love to get stuck in as I feel i need something physical to do after a lot of reading. However, that brings me back to the original point of getting stuck in without being annoying.
posted
22-Oct-12, 15:55
edited about 3 seconds later
Avatar for HazyJane
posted about 5 years ago
Ahhh I see.

I still think that you need back up from someone higher up. But once given the go ahead, perhaps the best way to proceed is
(i) do it at relatively quiet times in the office
(ii) identify anything that needs chucking and then have a grace period of about a week where people can reclaim stuff before it goes. This might actually highlight to them how pointless some of the stuff is.

posted
22-Oct-12, 22:58
edited about 16 seconds later
Avatar for DrJeckyll
posted about 5 years ago
I agree. You need someone higher up to back you up(head of the department usually). An e mail should go around to everyone using the office informing them that they should collect everything they need by a given date. After that date everything else should be discarded. We had the same problem, and it was solved when we moved out of the building. It is amazing how much trash accumulates in the offices. It is NOT your job to sort out their mess while risking to be accused of throwing important documents away.
posted
23-Oct-12, 08:28
Avatar for catalinbond
posted about 5 years ago
We have a similar problem, except the hoarder of everything is the boss! Wouldnt be so bad if it was well stored but we have filing cabinets of data mixed with print outs of journal article from the 90s, mixed with financial stuff, drafts of papers and grant proposal and finally print outs of email conversations from 10 years ago! And then there's no room for current researchers to store anything.

Anyway personally I would find out why they're resistant to change. Is it that they don't want to take responsibility for the work of sorting? Or they're scared of losing something useful? Or they like the clutter? I wouldn't go ahead and sort without getting them on board as you open yourself up to blame if something important does go missing (even if you never touched/saw the missing item)

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