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  • Lmao, I've gone so far as to lay floor tiles. It was me, my coworker in IT, our COO and our maintenance guy laying floor for 2 days.

    This question is dependent on the company culture. Down here in medical, its expected that the guys help out. Ive moved exam tables, done flooring, moved offices physically several times and once or twice helped with drywall and electrical. 

    Everyone gets a paper when they are hired that says "job duties as required". The company can tell you to do whatever they want, if you have good rapport with the upper management you can sometimes argue against doing something, but is it worth it? You mean I dont have to take user issues for a day while I'm moving things? Bring that on.

    Spice (115) flagReport
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  • Is it a waste? Yes, but we accommodate those requests when we can. 

    I have no problems pushing back and telling someone my guys are working on something more important.

    Spice (71) flagReport
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  • Yup, "other duties as required".  The pay's the same no matter what I do!

    Spice (70) flagReport
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  • HAHAHAHHAHAHHAHHA, when needed I work out in our soil testing lab running samples through the phosphors machines (during the fall it's 6 days a week for 8hrs a day).  Also, if other stuff needs to get done (unload trucks, move desks, pickup supplies downtown and many other). If there are computer/network issues that I need to work on they take priority, since it will more than likely keep the flow moving in the lab. 

    When the lab needs help EVERYBODY pitches in.

    Spice (25) flagReport
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  • You'd have to be in a Union shop, Academia or Government to be able to turn up your nose and say, "Not in my job description," and not expect some sort of fallout.

    Spice (81) flagReport
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  • While I may not enjoy it, I will help if asked unless I have something more time pressing to work on.

    Spice (24) flagReport
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  • Being a large built former football and rugby player working for a construction company, it's been assumed on many occasions that I a laborer. In other positions, I have usually been the person need to lift heavy things, reach items placed on a higher shelf. Not so much now.
    Generally, I would say this falls under "other responsibilities" of helping the company.

    Spice (6) flagReport
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  • DETall wrote:

    Hey everyone,

    I just had a philosophical discussion with one of my co-workers regarding the use of IT people as manual labor (moving desks, office furniture, heavy boxes, etc.) and was wondering what the overall opinion was of my fellows here on Spiceworks.

    What are your thoughts? Do you think it's acceptable to be used as manual labor personnel at work on a regular basis? Do you believe this is a waste of a valuable resource for the company? What about your thoughts on the potential physical issues with having a office worker (not trained in 'health and safety' or 'osha' as something like a construction worker for example) perform manual labor outside of their normal workflow? Do you think it's an IT person's job to help 'get things done' even outside of the scope of computers, servers, networking, ect.?

    Looking forward to getting the opinions of others on this subject!


    I have done it all my life and probably will continue to do so. I don't see any issue with it as long as your physically capable of. 

    Spice (28) flagReport
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  • Our Facilities Management department is in charge of all furniture movement.

    Spice (9) flagReport
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  • I work for a small company and we all are expected to do whatever the company needs regardless of normal work duties. 

    Spice (16) flagReport
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  • There are some things I'll do without batting an eye.

    There are some things I won't do without the proper equipment or training. (Climb a tower without a harness, work on high voltage without a lockout, etc.) But, given those prerequisites, would be happy to do.

    And there are some things I won't do because they represent a significant risk of harm to me or others: clean up toxic or radioactive waste, for example. Or change diapers.

    Spice (77) flagReport
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  • I don't mind pitching in and helping.  I have moved furniture, offices, etc.  Teamwork.

    Spice (4) flagReport
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  • I work in an architectural firm with 60% of our staff having masters degrees and all are pretty well paid. We all move desks and other items as needed. There are some that enjoy the break from their day to day work to do something a little more physical.

    Spice (28) flagReport
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  • I voted acceptable only because the choices are not specific enough.

    When I was going through school for my programming degrees, one of my first classes was called, "Programming Fundamentals," or ProgFun. On the first day my professor told us that we're all lazy. We're lazy and we want to be able to make the big bucks while doing it. That's why we're in IT - because IT don't dig ditches.

    Now, that said, I think it's perfectly fine to do manual labor if it's IT related. Moving desks, chairs, etc. may be needed in order to get at wiring, set up a new workspace for a new user, etc. However, I have been specifically forbidden by one of my prior bosses to climb ladders or do anything that would put me in harm's way. He wanted to make sure I didn't hurt myself and leave the company without a technically literate person to run things.

    One must always be wary of scope creep, as any developer will tell you. It's the, "Oh, while you're here, my office air conditioner is on the fritz. You're a techy. Can you fix this, too?" while looking at a user's printer, that one must be wary of. No, that's a job for maintenance. If we bend to the whim of everyone who wants our services as a warm body, pretty soon we'll be doing other peoples' work for them and not getting our own work done. 

    Moving desks? Fine. Rearranging cubicles? Grey area, but fine. Moving office equipment? If its under 50lbs, I'm good for a while. Re-tarring the roof, digging a new drainage ditch, fixing a clogged toilet, resurfacing the parking lot - that's a resounding and final NO! I am not still paying off tens of thousands of dollars worth of student loans all these years later in order to STILL be doing the back-breaking work I was trying to get away from.

    Spice (35) flagReport
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  • You work for the company, so work for the company but use common sense. If it's an SMB, no problem but if its a large company, well - it depends what it is they want you to do.      

    Spice (4) flagReport
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  • "other duties as assigned"

    Excuse me while I get the plunger....

    Spice (16) flagReport
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  • My entire career has been primarily in SMB, IT helps where they can.

    Spice (5) flagReport
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  • Any chance to flex the guns......

    Spice (18) flagReport
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  • Just to clarify, my selection for the poll said:

    It is not appropriate for IT people to be used for manual labor outside of their assigned IT duties if you want to change your vote but if not that's fine too, just want to make sure your answer correlates with what you actually feel although I really have appreciated the insightful input of my peers such as yourself on this subject.

    Spice (2) flagReport
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  • DETall wrote:

    Just to clarify, my selection for the poll said:

    It is not appropriate for IT people to be used for manual labor outside of their assigned IT duties if you want to change your vote but if not that's fine too, just want to make sure your answer correlates with what you actually feel although I really have appreciated the insightful input of my peers such as yourself on this subject.

    I do appreciate the clarification. However, I have not signed an onboarding contract yet that didn't specify, "... and other tasks as needed," or, as  RSonnek said earlier, " ... other duties as required." So, technically, anything can be seen as inside the scope of IT duties. I've always had a problem with such open-ended stipulations, but what are you going to do?

    Also, as others have already attested to, I've read horror stories, including the plumbing duties I mentioned in my original post, that IT folks have been pressed in to doing. Because of the aforementioned open-ended contractual stipulations, they had no recourse but to do what was asked of them or leave. Personally, I'd leave.

    I wasn't criticizing your poll, just clarifying and couching my answer with further caveats. My apologies if my answer made you feel otherwise. That was not my intention.

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    • DETallDETall
    Spice (2) flagReport
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  • It depends on the circumstances.  I've cleaned up hurricane debris, sodded the giraffe yard, cleaned animal nighthouses, picked up trash, worked in the concession stand and worked special events.  I've never had a problem with helping out when needed.

    Spice (4) flagReport
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  • Ive been in IT for almost 2 years, (Not alot of time / experience I understand) but I've climbed ladders, gotten on man-lifts, moved tables, desks, I've even looked at the presidents TV, I don't mind it, but my boss and I have told people I have more important things to do than help them when I am busy. It just depends.

    Spice (3) flagReport
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  • Your employers are paying you and get to decide what you do(to some extent).  It is infrequent enough to where I actually welcome change in pace from the regular workflow.

    Spice (4) flagReport
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  • I help out where I can. If I'm too busy with actual IT work then I let them know I can't at the moment. Nothing wrong with pulling your sleeves up to help coworkers. 

    Spice (4) flagReport
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  • It depends on the situation. Here at our corporate office I don't mind assisting in moves as there could be a case that it is part of the job. However at some of our customer locations were we have branch locations, the customer location that our branch locations are on are run by union. This means a labourer is required to move furniture, a carpenter is required to lift ceiling tiles, or raised floors, and an electrician has to run all electrical and structured wiring including LAN and Fibre. Meaning only I can do certifications on the structured wire and install the actual computer equipment. If I do the work of a union employee the union will put a grievance on me as that's not my job.

    So to answer the question: Yes and No.

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  • To me this is at the discretion of the employer. That being said if you have a large workload then the employer needs to understand that there could be delays and there should be no expectation of working extra at the employers request if you aren't allowed to work on the assigned tasks because you are being pulled away to do other things.

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  • My company has roughly 200 people working in various capacities.  They all know I will lend a hand if I can, but my primary job is the help tickets, and that I might have to leave at any time.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment to look through the building and see the 100's of projects I have had a hand in. 

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  • I have been in IT for over 12 years and until recently with my current position (I started about 6 months ago) I have never had to do any manual labor as it was something maintenance took care of. In fact in many cases you could be written up for doing the job instead of maintenance. I personally do not like doing it and only because I don't really have professional training to do some of the things. Aside from that I have plenty to do already and the fact I feel I was hired to be IT not IT / labor crew. This current position I'm doing all sorts of things like moving furniture, changing light bulbs, going to the dump, installing wall mounted TVs, wall/desk/ceiling mounts for monitors etc. My biggest worry is what happens if something goes wrong and someone gets hurt because I didn't do something correctly?

    However its as RSonnek  says:

    Yup, "other duties as required". The pay's the same no matter what I do!

    Spice (2) flagReport
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  • There's a job to do.... get'r done son!!  They can pay me my salary to do manual labor, that's fine. I consider it a misuse of resources, but whatever, boss say jump and I don't even ask how high, I just do it. I do not question his motives or decision making unless it's something completely unrealistic.

    Spice (1) flagReport
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  • In most of Canada it is pretty standard to have the "and other duties as assigned" in the Job Descriptions.

    In the past I have done manual labour like moving desks, cubicles etc.

    Now that I am older, not in very good physical condition with a bothersome back - I do not get asked to often anymore but I would if I were asked.

    We changed out some desks for cubicles a few months back on a Saturday to avoid disrupting the work in the office.

    The IT Department moved the computers etc. while the President and Maintenance removed the old desks.

    The President then started mopping the floor.

    He sets a very good example for everyone helping out when needed.

    Spice (3) flagReport
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  • I would think it depends on the size of the company.   Either answer is fine - as long as expectations were in place that everyone agreed upon. 

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  • In IT I have no problem: moving desk, cutting holes in walls, hanging drywall, electrical work, etc.  I've done wiring and it's all needed.

    As for things that I got screwed into being one of a handful of males in a female dominated workplace:

    - Snow removal

    - Climbed into an actual sewer

    - Body guard (schizophrenic patients or one's that were a danger to staff until the police arrived)

    - Put out literal fires

    - Helping funeral homes move dead bodies when the body was too large or they're under staffed on numerous occasions

    - Cleaned mouse and rat traps out after a kill

    - Cleaned and did shampoo in a room that was covered in urine from man with a urine fetish/hobby

    - Pool cleaner

    - Repairing ceilings

    - Repairing the roof

    - Unclogging toilets

    - Private investigative work

    - Changing flat tires/jumping cars/fuel pump issues

    - Demolition of a room

    - Building all of the office equipment

    The list goes on but I am sure by this point you believe I am fabricating this stuff.

    Oh, and be a Sys Admin to 200 employees and respond to tickets, requests, projects.

    Spice (9) flagReport
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  • If the Boss wants me to clean floors, or run a department, I'm in.  It's not my place to question his/her direction.  I do feel it is wasteful, but I will never act as though some jobs are below me.

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  • While it's not an issue to pitch in and help in a pinch, it's only a favor once.  After that if kind of becomes expected if not a task that "IT takes care of".  I like to help keep things in perspective for people at work and ask the question of how much business sense does it make to have someone that gets paid as much as I do performing tasks that pretty much anyone can do while nobody is taking care of the things that only I can do.

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  • I think as far as doing manual labor regularly no it's not ok. I help out once in awhile when someone needs a hand but it should never be required of me. I had a case where I was helping a manager set up their machine in their new office space. I already went out of my way to come in on a Sunday because they didn't want to come in on Saturday like the other staff who moved. I also had to set up PCs Saturday so my whole weekend was gone. He ended up having me help him move all his furniture and cabinets around too. I couldn't just say no and leave him to do it himself so I helped. I did tell my manager on Monday and he lit into the other manager because that wasn't my job and I went out of my way already being there on a Sunday.

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  • Moving boxes and furniture != maual labor dude...

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  • Troy Jollimore wrote:

    You'd have to be in a Union shop, Academia or Government to be able to turn up your nose and say, "Not in my job description," and not expect some sort of fallout.

    I'm sorry, but I previously worked for State government for 14 years and am currently on my 6th year with a County Agency and every one of my job descriptions have also said "other duties as assigned".  I have unloaded trucks, moved entire office buildings to new facilities, cleaned office spaces, hell I have even helped move equipment when I was 6 months pregnant.  

    I know the stigma that government workers are lazy but I have never worked in a government IT shop that fit that mold. 

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  • My vote was a no, but I do feel it depends on the company, its resources, access to labor, ect... I have put my dues in, went from being a general construction laborer to an iron worker to production in a factory, then I moved in to IT. I have spent many years working the lower ranks of many physically difficult jobs, grunt work so to speak. I worked hard and studied so I could save my body from being worn down to the nub by the time I am 50. So if I am hired into a company for IT work I do not expect to be pulled into production for any reason other than to fix a computer related issue. But if I entered into employment with a company that I knew had limited resources and helping out was a condition of my employment I think I would have no problem stepping up to keep a business a float or to make sure there is more work the next week.

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  • Depends on what I'm asked to do, but yes, we're asked to do some manual labor every now and then.  Don't mind doing it, especially if it's someone at work I like.  The maintenance guys are a huge lifeline of ours, helping them out is never a problem

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  • As the IT Director it is not a requirement but I do chip in if needed to move anything anywhere, breaks up the day.

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  • I do manual labor, moving stuff, etc.  I'm not outside digging a ditch or anything of that caliber, but I've worked up many a sweat in IT.

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  • 5% misc. I am nearly 60 now and after 20 years of moving desks and complete offices without help. my body is worn out.

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  • It depends, help moving tables out of the way for company meetings... sure, why not.  Most of the time when moving offices I prefer to move the computers myself so helping to move the desks also is just more efficient for me.  And I enjoy the break and chance to do something where I move a little bit more than walking down the hall to someone's desk to answer a question.

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  • So I voted that I don't think that is it appropriate for IT to be used and manual labor. However I am level 1 help desk and I am still relatively young and able, so I will typically volunteer to help with these kinds of things. But I don't think that developers or network or system admins should have to do any thing like this.

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  • My feelings right now is that it's inappropriate to ask for much extra outside of IT duties. Reason being an ongoing backlog of priorities and a lean department to stay on top of it. The feelings would be entirely different if things were running smoothly and I was looking for busy work, which at that point it would only be right to take on extra duties.

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  • As a retired military person this was a non-question. You simply do as you're told. All kidding aside, yes, it's a waste of resources. But I found that there are some departments you always want to accommodate. Finance, Supply, HR, maintenance and the cooks. You help them when they need help and they will make sure not to foul up your paycheck, new equipment request, leave form, repair request or your lunch. Quid Pro Quo.

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  • At the end of the day it's about getting things done. I have done many things to help out right next to our CEO and CFO. Is it a waste of money to pay me to do manual labor, yes but at times everyone has to roll up their sleeves to help.

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  • There are a couple ways to look at it and variables that change how you should look at it:

    - is it dangerous?  If so, no they should not be doing it.

    - is if often?  No, then a distraction for anyone is usually a good thing - it's like a break the company doesn't have to pay for

    - is it often?  Yes, and you are not cheaper than a contractor who would do it?  Time to leave, the company doesn't appreciate the value you bring to the company or ROI.

    I'm pretty good at a lot of things and enjoy a break, and I've done A LOT of things over the years.  Painting walls, installing ceiling tiles, build custom shelves, construction.  That said, nobody should need to do something they didn't sign-up that makes them uncomfortable.  Would you ask a Janitor to fill in for the surgeon on holidays?  That's not other duties as assigned.

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  • The options in the poll betray your bias. Obviously you don't feel it's appropriate. The wording of "it's completely fine" tells us as much.

    The issue isn't cut and dry. Manual labor means lots of things. Obviously you don't think IT should be expected to do *any* manual labor.

    As for me, I long for an excuse to get out of the cubicle and away from a computer.


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