Water cooler chat is a fun way to bond with coworkers. But overly talkative colleagues can get on your nerves, especially if you're on the clock or in an office where low volume is needed to concentrate.
It's even tougher in an open office where most of the time there are no sound barriers.
If you have coworkers who don't know when to call it quits, these 5 tips could help you take back your peace of mind.
1. Just talk to them
If your coworkers are regularly interrupting you or delaying you in your work, it's time to say something. Simply tell them politely you need some peace and quiet and ask them to keep the volume down.
They might not be aware they are being too loud, and most coworkers will lower their voices when told they are.
How can you tell them as tactfully as possible? Don't blame them directly and don't tell them in front of other coworkers. Just say how the noise negatively impacts your work. Remain non-judgmental and talk about their behavior rather than them as a person.
2. Talk to a supervisor or HR manager
On the off-chance talking to your coworkers about the noise level doesn't work, you'll want to discuss the problem with your supervisor or HR manager. Tell them you had already tried to resolve the issue yourself and reached out to your coworkers directly, but the noise persisted. Your complaint will be kept anonymous, and your coworkers will receive coaching.
Too much talkativeness might signal a personal issue which requires counseling. On the other hand, coworkers who are always talkative tend to have extroverted personalities. They are great at engaging others in conversation and might be skilled in phone calls or sales.
If you're experiencing an overly talkative coworker, know that they get more energy from social interactions, not less.
3. Use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones
A recent study by Oxford Economics stated that in noisy open offices, only one percent of employees can successfully block out noise and other distractions by themselves.
Ideal for open offices, noise-canceling headphones aren't only for phone calls. They can signal to coworkers that you need quiet.
Earplugs, on the other hand, cannot block out noise as well. Their upside is that they still allow you to hear if a coworker is addressing you from nearby, so they don't have to physically walk over and tap you on the shoulder. But these, too, alert coworkers not to talk to you.
4. Relocate your workspace
Sometimes, the only resort is to change your environment to a quieter one. You have the option of doing so temporarily or permanently.
Either one might include the possibility of working from home. It's especially popular with businesses whose employees don't have to be in a brick-and-mortar building in order to work.
Or you can ask for your workspace or desk to be relocated to quieter part of the office, away from noisy coworkers.
5. Consider Zenbooths
If your coworkers talk too much by necessity, then a Zenbooth is a perfect workspace to give them a guilt-free working experience.
But if your coworkers engage in water-cooler talk often and there's no escape from it, you have an ongoing problem which needs a permanent solution. Zenbooth comes in handy then, too.
Zenbooths are office-style phone booths that block 40 dBs of noisee. Inside they have everything you need for an efficient day at work. Whether you need to work alone or with others, you can do it without unnecessary distractions or interruptions.
That's because each booth has high-quality acoustic soundproofing, a comfortable interior, and a view that allows you to see what's going on outside without having to hear it.
You might think it's impossible to have a successful day at work if you have over-talkative coworkers. But don't throw in the towel when it comes to your tasks just yet.
Zenbooth is an adaptable all-in-one office productivity solution. To learn more about how our phone booth-style office pods can drastically improve your workspace, contact us.