One of the most common things that people say when asked about their work at the office is, “I love my job, but I hate my noisy coworkers.” Whether in one’s own personal cubicle space, or in an open space office environment, rowdy project teams will get out of hand, or that click of employees that chatter more than they work, will start to encroach upon the sanctity of your workspace; sometimes even when they are across the room. Nobody likes a tattletale, nor the ongoing animosity or negative consequences that out-of-hand confrontations can cause in the workplace. It is better to take a subtler and more thought-out approach to handling the problem, by trying the 5 useful tips listed below.
1. Noisy Coworker Canceling Headphones
One of the most popular remedies for rude, noisy coworkers, who don’t seem to understand that other people are trying to work at the office, is noise canceling headphones. The headphones will also act as a visual deterrent to interrupting you at your desk. That “Chatty-Kathy,” who always b-lines to your desk just to shoot the breeze, will now have to have something important to say to you, especially if they want you to stop and take your headphones off.
Headphones have an air of focused concentration to them when one is tuned out to the office noise, and intently tuned into their work. For those who like to work to music, calm, soothing tunes are always a sure fire way to block out loud and inconsiderate blockheads. Big headphones have a psychological factor of letting people know you are busy. This is why small ear buds are not as effective. People are more likely to expect you to still be able to hear them through earbuds, defeating the purpose.
2. Avoid Public Confrontation
Go up to the coworker when they are alone, and politely ask them to please tone down the excessive noise. If you confront them in front of other coworkers, you risk causing an ongoing feud over the situation. Public confrontation will encourage other workers to weigh in on one side or another, causing a rift in the workplace. On the other hand, if your noise concerns fall on deaf ears, search out other working colleagues with like-minded concerns about the negative effect that the unnecessary noise has on office productivity, and then confront the offending employee as a group; as somewhat of a workplace intervention. This should be used only as a last resort though.
3. Find Quiet Refuge
Whether working in an old-school cubicle set-up, or a contemporary open office space, there is usually an open conference room, or in most open space workplaces, a designated quiet room. If your supervisor or another coworker asks you why you are working there rather than your desk, then you can simply be honest. Since they opened up the proverbial door, you can then tell them about your problem with the noise factor in the office without looking like the office snitch. This way there is no reason to have to awkwardly point fingers or name names. This solution may be inconvenient at times, working away from your desk, but it could be a productive godsend as well if put in the right perspective.
4. Be Discreet when Telling a Manager
There is a less confrontational way to tell a manager about a complaint concerning other coworkers. You can discreetly tell your superior about your noise concerns, without having to throw a coworker under the bus. Remind the manager how non-productive excessive noise can make not just you, but the whole office unproductive. This will up the issue and force the manager to actually do something, especially when low employee production will also negatively affect their standing with their superiors. Suggest that the manager sends an open letter to the whole office addressing the problem of excessive noise in the workplace. This will make your problem solving skills look good in your bosses’ eyes, and hopefully open up the eyes of the main offenders who can’t seem to tone-it-down.
5. Last Resort Relocation
People have different noise thresholds in the office, some people need the hustle and bustle of the office with a noisy talkative background in order to work properly. Others are just the opposite. They need a quiet, serene atmosphere in order to concentrate on their work. Most offices have areas that are quieter than others, and a move to that section, if it is feasible and permissible by management, might be the only option left. Once again, this is a situation where being totally honest will work to your advantage. You can state the other lengths you have gone through in order to try and fix the problem. Most employers will be understanding in this situation, and at least know that you are trying to be a team player about the noise problem.
Your workplace productivity is what pays the bills, gets you noticed by management, and gets you promoted. This is why it is important to take excessive noise at the office seriously, especially when it distracts you from doing your job properly. Workplace loudmouths will always be an irritating factor that everybody will have to deal with at some point or another at the office. Following the tips above will give you the advantage you need in order to shut down those rowdy office clicks, and muffle those irritatingly distracting coworkers that just won’t cop-a-clue and shut the heck up!
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