Your office isn’t always conducive to distraction-free work, especially when you have noisy, obnoxious coworkers. Here are a handful of tips that help you politely tell someone to STFU without it blowing up in your face.
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The crucial thing here is to make sure you’re not just overreacting or overly sensitive to the “normal” noise levels of the office, in which case a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones could do wonders. But if you do have beef with someone, be diplomatic about it. For example, pull the coworker aside by inviting him or her out to lunch or coffee and explain what’s bothering you, asking how you can also help your coworker concentrate best. Other solutions include:
- Let everyone know: Bring up the issue of office etiquette in a meeting so everyone is onboard and no one feels singled out. The brainstorming session by everyone could help reinforce the rules.
- Establish quiet zones: Designate “official” zones where people can have quiet time and space for animated conversations.
- Don’t just make it about you: Don’t just tell your coworkers what would help you focus, but also ask how you can help them.
- Let them save face: Soften the criticism by blaming the closed space or thin walls.
- Explain why you need a quiet environment: Rather than simply shushing him or her, which can be taken the wrong way, let your coworker know you have a phone call or a deadline to make your request seem reasonable.
- Lead by example: If they talk really loud, respond to them in a softer voice with something like, “I want to hear what you have to say, but I don’t want to disturb the people around us, so can we step into a conference room?”
Despite how much this coworker’s behaviour may irritate you, your goal is to resolve this without the other person hating you, which takes a lot of restraint, understanding and kindness.
How to tell a noisy coworker to shut up without making them hate you [Business Insider]