I need some advice from you and your readers on how to handle an issue at the office.
I work in the administrative offices of a museum. The people are generally friendly and get along well. When they stop by a cubicle to ask a question, get a signature or chat, some of them will sit on the desk. Some will just lean against it; some will hike a leg up and prop; some will put their full hind end on it. This drives me CRAZY!
I have a touch of OCD and this is one thing that sets if off. I know many people will think, “oh just get over it”, but with OCD you can’t “just get over it”. It’s a mental thing. Some people think they can “talk some sense” into me by pointing out that everything is dirty and has germs. IF just talking worked, people sitting on my desk wouldn’t bother me but it does. I once read a report that said desks were dirtier than toilets because toilets get cleaned but desks do not. I now religiously clean my desk. I wipe down the surface, keyboard, mouse and phone daily, with an antibacterial wipe. Once a week, usually on Friday, I will take everything off, wipe down all the surfaces with a disinfectant solution and wipe down non-permeable items as I place them back.
I have tried many things to block people from sitting on my desk: putting boxes or stacks of paper from the middle to the edge so the surface is covered; putting a “visitor” chair in my cube; physically block the surface with my arms or body. They just don’t get the hint. They will push the boxes or papers back to the wall and plop down; they ignore the chair and sit on the desk anyway; they ask “what are you doing?” when I physically block them. It’s inconvenient to try to keep the surface covered because I need the area to work. If I flat out ask them to not sit on my desk, they get offended and stay away. After they get over it or as soon as they need/want something from me, they come over and sit on it anyway. I thought about a sign that states “This is a desk. Not chair. Please do not sit on it”, but I’m sure my supervisor would tell me to take it down.
It’s my work space. I think people should respect that and keep their behinds to themselves. I don’t sit on their desks and I don’t want them on mine. It’s the same to me as if I went to their homes and sat on their dining room table. I’m sure they would not appreciate it.
(OMG, I am typing this letter and someone just sat on my desk. Full-booty sitting. Unbelievable!)
So, how do I politely but firmly get across to people that my desk is a butt-free zone? 0504-12
Buy a cactus, embellish it with googly eyes, park him right where the butt landing zone is and warn your co-workers that “Spike” is a temperamental pet.
Or buy this sign for your desk…
Or if those fail, politely ask people, “Please do not sit on my desk. Please have a seat here where I can talk with you better.” If your co-workers get offended by simple courtesies, they are cow-irkers and worrying about whether they are offended isn’t worth your time.