Working in an office can sometimes feel like you are working in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, as all manner of noise and sounds resonate from your work colleagues as you try to focus on writing an email amidst a barrage of distractions and interruptions.
But do our work surroundings and the noise that it generates have a negative impact on the way that we work? Well according to a university study in London, the sound of second hand conversations, people eating and the sound of a colleague stirring their tea with a spoon while you are engrossed in your daily tasks has more of an impact on those that are introverted rather than extroverted people. And while noises that are commonly associated with the work environment such as a work colleague coughing and an intern using the printer are part and parcel of working in an office, researchers found that in general, people perform better amid complete and utter total silence.
So, if silence is all we need to exist in a tranquil workplace, how do we go about creating a peaceful utopia? While distractions such as a work colleague coughing cannot be helped, other distractions such as a talker who won’t stop talking can be tackled head on, with a little bit of delicacy of course.
How to shut up a chatterbox
Whether it’s in an open plan office or working alongside a work colleague in a customer facing role, the fact of the matter is that we all either know someone or work with someone who find it extremely difficult to keep their mouth shut. And while many of us are professional workers who abide by the ‘Keep calm and carry on’ doctrine that keeps Brits from revealing their true feelings, its moments like this that can really test a person’s patience, even with a stuff upper lip.
So, what does a person do in a scenario when they work alongside a noisy co-worker? It’s simple, tell them to keep their talking to a minimum and to be considerate of others around them. While it may seem easier said then done, being honest with a motormouth work colleague and letting them know that their constant need to talk and create unnecessary noise is actually distracting you and effecting your work is a good step in making them aware of the problem at hand.
It’s also best not to assume that the babbler in question knows that you find the sound of their voice a complete ear pain, and in most likelihood, they probably have no idea. You may find that the chatterer is receptive and willing to tone down the volume, while others may not be too open to keep a lid on it and may be triggered in the sheer offensive that they are a distraction. But either way, honestly is most definitely the best policy when it comes to taking head on a babbler who doesn’t know when to draw the line.
Sound of the underground
If you are in a position to plug some earphones in and blast up the volume of Girls Aloud’s greatest hits then do so. In most offices manly staff members will be zoned out and focused on the task at hand as they listen to a bit of Spotify. But if listening to music is out of the question, another method that you could follow in creating that zen like feeling within the workplace is make a pact with your fellow colleagues to not create unnecessary distractions and keep all sounds to an absolute minimum. This includes all forms of talking and communication, which in this digital age of online messaging apps, can be moved to platforms such as Skype or Slack if a colleague has a burning question that must be answered.
To eat or not to eat
While eating at the desk or on the job might be tempting, if you are the kind of person who loudly smacks their lips as they tuck into their Tesco meal deal as your work colleagues grind their teeth in annoyance next to you, maybe its best if you keep all food consumption in the staff room or canteen. Well, until you learn to eat with your mouths closed at the very least.
What Get Licensed Says
No one likes a serial cougher or a someone who sounds like a banshee as they scream from the top of their lungs as they talk to a work colleague on the phone, but the fact of the matter that noise is inevitable, and while there are hacks that can minimise our chances of getting distracted from someone chewing like a goat, avoiding noise is going to be pretty difficult.
Being honest and transparent with your work colleagues is always a good start in letting them know that the noise that they are creating is becoming a distraction. Investing in a pair of ear plugs is always a second option.