My division will be moving our offices, but the date keeps getting pushed off which hopefully gives us time to get things right. Last month we sat down to try to decide where I would sit after the move. We settled on a place which would have the least amount of light impact on me. I was as excited as I could be to basically be facing a corner - where a wall and an office wall next to me were going to meet.
Recently, I was in another meeting with one of the people who helped pick out where I would be sitting. Seconds before this meeting started, she leaned over to me to let me know that she had additional conversations with the building people about my lighting sensitivity. As soon as the meeting was over, I stopped by her office to get more details.
During our talk, she pulled out an updated floor chart. I couldn't believe when I saw that the office I was supposed to be sitting next to was gone because it meant I would be facing a whole bank of lights! She casually said that they ended up not needing one office so they took that office out and shifted everything else on that row down. This put my cube at the end of my aisle which would also have me facing the end of many rows of cubes and more importantly, many more lights.
There was a conference room at the other end of the row of cubes where I am supposed to sit. Currently, there is nothing built in the area we are moving into. There aren't even any lights up so I couldn't get any answers as to how the lights are configured overhead. I asked if it would be possible to move the conference room from the other end of our row to where the office used to be on the plan, which would give me back the two walls I could face, and then shift all of the cubes back down to where they were originally on the plan. She didn't see anything wrong with that suggestion, but said she would have to run it past the contractors.
She said she would try to keep me in the loop as to what is happening because she never would have thought about the lights after the office was taken out. I let her know I really appreciated that and it was also hard for me to tell anything specific by looking at a piece of paper. Sometimes it's hard to tell the exact affect until I can scope out the actual area. That's when she said that maybe we could take some visits over there during the different stages of the construction when they might still be able to alter some of the construction easily. She said these slight modifications could also include the placement of some of the lights by my desk.
Next, she mentioned that when she was walking around our current building with the contractor, that she pointed out how my current office is darker than the other offices, but she wasn't exactly sure what was done to the lights to make it that way. When they walked by my office, they only glanced through my window, but never got a closer look. This was when I went into more detail around the light sleeve I currently have around the fluorescent bulbs in my office. They have been a tremendous help!
Sometimes I wonder where I get the nerve to ask my employer to literally move rooms until I think back to the early days of my light struggles. I could not survive at work without any lighting alterations and it was real tough getting any accommodation back then.
We had this maintenance supervisor, who would actually measure the amount of light in my area, and tell me it was below the light regulations; that someone might trip and fall because they can't see. Believe me, it was not that dark; I still struggled with it being too bright. To top it off, the next day I would come into having no light modifications - the good old days! :^(
This is the reason I fight so hard now to try to get the lights right for our move. I know it's best to get it right from the beginning and that I can't go back to those 'olden days'. I can't survive 'normal' lighting and my hope is that my fight will not only make it better for me, but anyone who comes behind me who needs this or a similar type of an accommodation.