Everyone works differently. Each person will approach a task with a diverse and unusual array of tools, techniques, requirements, downfalls, and advantages to see it completed. With that in mind, working collaboratively can be a burden rather than a help.
An open office is made to encourage communication and interaction, all with the aim to boost productivity, but for some, the sound and activity can actually do the opposite. This gets turned up to eleven when general activity isn’t the only enemy – a particularly noisy coworker is. You know, the kind who likes to read aloud, take their calls on speaker, or even approaches conversations with a voice of utter thunder.
You can’t let this problem harm your productivity, but there are better ways to avoid the distraction besides hoping for a change in their personality or even a transfer. Do you have a noisy coworker? Here are three tips for getting past this obstacle and staying productive.
1. Listen to Other Things For many, the issue is not sound, but noise.
You may be able to ignore the intense sound of a storm outside your window, but the noisy conversation of two nearby coworkers can completely distract you, preventing your concentration on the work at hand. The simple answer is to substitute the distracting noise with something your mind can more easily ignore.
Studies have proven that music in fact helps people concentrate; it allows your brain to limit the number of distractions in the environment to a single sound, and then manage that distraction. With this in affect, more brain power can be devoted to what actually matters. Instrumental music is especially favorable, as our minds do not interpret soft piano or violin in the same way it does voices – a sound that is made to draw our attention and keep our attention. In this way, Mozart becomes a much better working companion than the employee next to you, because at least he knows how to stay objective.
– Rain sounds and white noise.
In the same way music helps limit our distractions and fill our ears with something easily ignored, white noise provides a healthy substitute to voices. White noise is specifically sounds such as running water, rain, wind, and so on, which are so normal that they’reeasily dismissed. This can also apply to a simple desk fan or an air purifier that will supply dull noise, but a pair of headphones can be even more efficient. Some rain
sounds can help to not only block outside noises, but also create a more tranquil mood that allows you to focus and complete your task.
2. Get Out of Dodge
Sometimes the best approach is the most direct approach, and if you are one of those people who find music and white noise as distracting as the noisy coworker, you may need to take the situation by the reins and find a more obvious solution.
– Ask your manager to move you to a different space. Your productivity level benefits or harms the entire business, so if you’re suffering from distractions and are unable to deliver the necessary work, your manager is suffering too. By approaching your boss and letting them know that a noisy coworker– who may or may not be named – is making it difficult to work, they can move you to another area, eliminating the problem with advantages for not only you but the entire company.
– Get to work early or stay late.
Midday is known as the most prime hours for work, as the sun is high, the sleepiness of the morning has faded, and the afternoon lull has yet to set in. Because of this, you might find your noisy coworker is a lot less active and a lot less loud in the mornings while everyone is still easing into the day. This makes it an ideal time for you to begin your projects, allowing you to complete vital tasks that require concentration before the distracting person arrives. Additionally, while no one likes staying late, if you continue to work after your coworker has gone home, you’ll have a quiet office that allows you to keep your priorities in order, leaving the noisy midday for less important tasks or even some web-surfing.
3. Take Action
If these more docile solutions have not earned a result, or perhaps they simply aren’t your style, you can always resort to the fastest, most direct, and – nine times out of time – most effective solution.
– Ask them to quiet down. While there are certainly people who must have a patent on being obnoxious, many others are unaware they’re being so noisy. Perhaps they have an unusually loud voice, think that communicating on speaker boosts productivity, or that everyone works in a loud environment as well as they do. In these cases, they are simply trying to do their job well and do not realize they are preventing you from doing the same. By simply mentioning the problem to them and asking them to lower their loud activities, the entire situation can be resolved.
– Ask a manager to speak with them. If you find confrontation as appealing as walking on hot coals, or your coworker does indeed have a patent on being obnoxious, the next best step is to bring the issue to the attention of your manager. At this point, your manager can speak with the employ with a certain degree of authority, resolving the problem that may have caused derision or confrontation between two employees of equal status.
Noisy co-workers are as helpful for productivity as a one-man-band in your living room is helpful for sleeping, but there’s no reason to accept an inability to focus. By applying a few of these three tips, you can see the problem resolved, your productivity boosted, and perhaps a better workplace environment – since everyone else can also enjoy a reprieve from the noise. If the noise is still unbearable, you may want to look into cubicle extenders or panels. OBEX Office Panel Extenders offers a large variety of office panel extenders to fit any cubicle or desk.