When it comes to workspaces, you’d be surprised by what it takes to send shivers down an office manager’s spine (and no, it's not the malfunctioning air conditioner that prompts a flood of employee complaints). At Managed by Q, our clients and service providers have encountered some truly horrifying predicaments. We wanted to share a few of the more terrifying office situations we’ve handled over the years and how we chased away potential office nightmares:
What Lies Beneath
One of the scariest situations we’ve dealt with occurred in a client’s Manhattan office. Late one Friday night, one of our Operations Managers received a call from the company’s Office Manager. Sewage was overflowing from every toilet in their ground-floor retail store and basement office. While it was happening at a relatively slow pace, the damage was going to leave the space uninhabitable—for obvious health and safety reasons—if it wasn’t stopped quickly.
Our Operations Manager rushed to the site to asses the situation. It turned out the building’s main sewage line was blocked, so whenever anyone in the multi-story office flushed a toilet, the pressure caused the sewage to backup into the bathrooms on the ground and basement levels. Our employee’s objective for the evening was to prevent further flooding in the office and showroom. He knew he had to get the building’s sewage line unclogged, but it was now past 11PM and no emergency plumbing services were available.
The Operations Manager instructed the service provider he was working with to drive to The Home Depot in Gowanus, Brooklyn that closed at midnight to buy a 100-foot industrial auger. Just a few minutes before closing, the service provider retrieved the auger and returned to unclog the main line at the office space. Once it was cleared, we helped schedule professionals to come in and safely clean up the mess. This was definitely one of the worst situations we’ve seen (and smelled), but as an office manager these things are out of your control—and usually covered by insurance.
The Glass House
The day before an important meeting, office managers are usually focused on double checking logistics: food and drinks have been ordered, the conference room and line have been reserved, and any tech support has been requested. However, just one day before hosting an early morning meeting with an investment banking firm, one of our clients requested a glass panel be installed in the conference room. On of our service providers was dispatched to the office for a routine project, but as they began to put the glass into place, they noticed the piece provided would not fit within its wooden frame.
Because cutting the glass couldn’t be done on-site, our team decided the best option was to sand down the frame. This meant the work was going into the later hours of the evening, putting the Office Manager on edge about the space being ready for visitors before the 9AM meeting. After sanding down the frame, our service provider created a new groove for the glass and primed and painted the woodwork to match... Finally, the glass slab carefully slid into place.
With some quick cleanup, the office was ready for the meeting the following morning. The situation was nerve-wracking for an office manager, so the moral of this story is don’t schedule major—or seemingly minor—construction or assembly the day before an important event.
One of our Account Managers was enjoying a Saturday out of the city when he received a call regarding a ceiling leak at a client’s office. He called one of our service providers, who arrived that afternoon to assess the situation. As he was examining the leak and the damage it had caused so far, an entire section of the ceiling suddenly crumbled and fell into the office. At that point the leak had already compromised the ceiling and the collapse was unavoidable.
Our service provider made a few phone calls to local service providers in our network, and by 7 PM, they had removed the drywall, rented industrial fans from Home Depot to dry the water in the office, and started to determine what needed to be repaired or replaced. Despite the fall out, everything was under control. While the construction estimate came in at up to nine days, the ceiling was as good as new just three short days and three adeptly trained handymen later.
Whether you’re dealing with a wifi outage, find a mouse in your kitchen, or are just having a bad day at the office, remember that it could probably be worse. Regular maintenance can stave off some preventable disasters, but when office nightmares strike, Managed by Q's services providers can help with the repairs and cleanup. Chances are we’ve already seen it—no matter how scary it seems.