Monday, October 31, 2016

The Biggest Distraction in the Office May Be You

If you're tempted to yell "Shut the $#% up!" to a colleague in a nearby cubicle, you're not alone.

As it turns out, loud-talking co-workers are so annoying it has prompted researchers to study it.

Specifically, 74% of workers in a Cornell University study say they have to put up with lots of noisy disturbances and distractions, but the most annoying of the annoying is -- drum roll, please -- loud human beings.

One of the biggest problems prompting us stuff a dirty sock in the mouths of bothersome co-workers is the fact that more offices have moved to the "open" concept. This means that sound now travels across the open prairie of desks like a herd of bison.

So, instead of being able to put your head down and pound out that important report or even spend a few quiet minutes thinking, you're hammered by the debate over deep-fried turkeys for Thanksgiving or Marcia explaining how to use the phone system to a new employee.

Now let's add in the fact that Bob has seasonal allergies and honks like a wounded goose and Lori is talking on her cellphone to her nearly-deaf Nana, and it's enough to drive anyone bonkers.

Of course, more workers are turning to earphones as a way to drown out their co-workers, which pretty much turns off the idea that open concept working spaces will lead to more collaboration.

I'm open to new ideas about how to deal with noisy co-workers, and would love to get a discussion started here. In the meantime, let's all talk a little softer and be aware we may be the ones driving our co-workers crazy.

1 comment:

Nissar Ahamed said...

I actually prefer an office with loud noise (OK not The Wolf of Wall Street Loud).
Noise to me equates activity, and when there is a good buzz in the office - people feed off on that.
Yes, there are annoying coworkers, but I think it is a small price to pay for having an otherwise productive office environment.