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jenngolightly

Don't Touch My Computer!

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So it's super stormy outside right now and I'm all alone in the house. It's lightening in the neighborhood so I'm too afraid to go to bed. I've unplugged all the electronics and am using my laptop on its battery. Need something to distract me until the lightening hits my house and it goes up in flames. Seriously, I have my shoes on and my bag next to the door. :(

Now my question.

I work for a university and my department is pretty small - around 12 people. The building we used to work in is under construction and we've just moved to a very tiny (um... cozy) location where we are working in close-quarters. I used to have my own office, but now I share one office with 5 other people. The person next to me has to get up and move when I need to leave my desk. That's pretty small. The other change is that this area is also open for faculty who need to come in and do something quickly using one of the "public" computers (that look the same as mine).

So I've left my nice, big office for a tiny corner with gluten eaters and gluten/corn/nut carriers. I can handle my colleagues. They're great. The hard part is handling all the traffic that comes and goes. People assume that if you are in an open area, the computer can be touched. In a private office, a computer "belongs" to the person and people keep their hands off.

I've tried putting a sticky on the monitor. "Highly Allergic! Wash hands before using this computer." I was sitting at my desk and some guy comes up and pushes me to the side and starts typing away. RUDE! And he didn't see (or didn't obey) my note. BTW he was installing the printer.

What's happening when I'm not there? My colleagues say that people won't just sit down and start using my computer, but I'm not so sure. Maybe they'll be installing something, you know? My son says to put an "out of order" sign on the monitor. Clever.

What to do?

Storm is passing. House is not on fire. Gotta celebrate the small stuff. B)

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I think the "out of order" sign is brilliant. And I'd hide the keyboard. Like in a file cabinet or something. If you're in the US, I'd make an argument for a wireless keyboard to make it easier and cite ADA guidelines.

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Hide the keyboard and mouse but also password protect your computer so random people can't use it. Your company should be supportive of a password anyway if you are using this for company information that should not be for public viewing. You could also use a screen saver that has words on it to get a message across. Maybe "NOT FOR PUBLIC USE" would keep more people from using it? I think you are still goign to have the problem of random people walking up a nd tryign to use it no mater what sign you put up. My husband is a computer tech and when he used to oversee computer labs at a college they would have a computer that was off AND had an out of order sign on it, but students would STILL walk up to the computer and move the mouse or touch the keyboard to see if it was working. It must just be a natural response to seeing a computer or something.

ETA: I just thought of this idea too-- if the space right around the computer is only yours to use maybe you can personalize it somehow so it doesn't blend in with the public use computers. Like put family photos between the monitor and the keyboard or something? Also keep some wipes at your desk and wipe down the keyboard and mouse everyday.

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Hide the keyboard and mouse but also password protect your computer so random people can't use it. Your company should be supportive of a password anyway if you are using this for company information that should not be for public viewing. You could also use a screen saver that has words on it to get a message across. Maybe "NOT FOR PUBLIC USE" would keep more people from using it? I think you are still goign to have the problem of random people walking up a nd tryign to use it no mater what sign you put up. My husband is a computer tech and when he used to oversee computer labs at a college they would have a computer that was off AND had an out of order sign on it, but students would STILL walk up to the computer and move the mouse or touch the keyboard to see if it was working. It must just be a natural response to seeing a computer or something.

ETA: I just thought of this idea too-- if the space right around the computer is only yours to use maybe you can personalize it somehow so it doesn't blend in with the public use computers. Like put family photos between the monitor and the keyboard or something? Also keep some wipes at your desk and wipe down the keyboard and mouse everyday.

I think you have hit on the right points. I have a password and a screen saver, but people still come up and shake the mouse or tap on the keys. I really like the idea of making the space personal. That may work to differentiate my desk from the public ones.

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