There are some pretty interesting tips on coping with workplace noise over at iDIVA.com. But some of them make us wonder if this diva has ever worked in a regular office. For example, the writer suggests using greenery to shield you from sound, “you could buy a small plant for your work desk. Plants absorb noise and look good too!” You would probably have to actually plant an entire hedge around your desk if you wanted a plant to act as an acoustic shield.
Another suggestion sounds like it came from the mind of a strict librarian. “Make small and attractive posters and pin it on the soft boards around office or even put up sign boards all over the office which would indicate people to be quiet at all times.” Perhaps you could even have a voice activated device that makes a stern and disapproving “Shhhhh!” sound whenever coworkers start talking too loudly.
Not all of the suggestions are silly. In fact, there are some good tips too. For example, the workplace culture and signals sent by management about acceptable noise levels do make a big difference. You can check out the rest of the diva’s advice here.