Some types of personalities are drawn to their polar opposites, like the opposing charges of a magnet. There’s nothing more frustrating than having that one person in your office you have the least in common with becoming your self-proclaimed “best friend.” When that person is also the office chatterbox, it can really get in the way of your productivity.
Short of calling in sick, what can you do to cut off the chatter and get back to work?
The good news is that you have some strategies that can help without turning the entire office staff against you. Give the following 5 tips a try!
1. Have a One-on-One Meeting
As annoying and disruptive as a coworkers constant talking is, they don't realize the impact it’s having on you. Some people talk out of nervousness, boredom, or even insecurity. Simply calling attention to the issue might be enough to stop it.
Schedule a meeting between the two of you where other coworkers aren’t likely to overhear your topic of discussion. Explain that your work requires your constant focus and frequent verbal interruptions cause you to concentration. .
Don’t sound accusatory. Keep calm and explain in a matter-of-fact tone that you need your peace and quiet to maintain productivity and a high level of performance.
If you don’t want to pick up the friendship outside of work, then be careful about making any suggestions to the contrary. If you only want to keep things professional, make your point clear.
2. Invest in Some Noise Cancelling Headphones
Sometimes the simplest method can be the most effective. Case-in-point: why not try wearing headphones to drown out distracting noise? Of course, make sure you run this idea by your supervisor first in case it’s against office policy.
If music is as noisy and distracting to you as talking, then consider listening to white noise, nature sounds, or the relaxing sound of rain and thunderstorms. You can go on YouTube and try out a variety of options. If you’re lucky, you won’t have to blast your eardrums to make this strategy work.
Even just wearing the headphones without any sound playing might be enough. Coworkers don’t have to know that there’s no sound coming from inside.
3. Tell Coworkers That You’re Busy
This is the more direct approach to letting noisy neighbors know you don’t have time to talk (or listen!) instead of the one-on-one meeting. It’s possible that telling them you’re working on something and you need to keep at it until you’re finished might be all it takes. If it isn’t, then consider scheduling the meeting for an in-depth explanation of the problem.
Don’t be surprised if it takes repeated attempts to let them know you’re too busy to listen. Reinforce the idea that you care about your work and that’s why you’re spending time in the office in the first place.
4. Don’t Stop What You’re Doing Right Away
When a noisy coworker approaches, don’t stop what you’re doing for at least a few seconds. Whether you’re typing on the keyboard or talking to another co-worker, keep going. Let them know that you’re working on something important and you don’t have time to stop. Try to get the message across that your job is your first priority.
One of the reasons you’re frustrated by this problem is that you can’t get lost in what you’re doing without getting pulled away. The harder you try to get lost in your job, the easier it will be to block out the noise and interference.
People who talk too much at work often believe that what they have to say is more important than anything else. Don’t feed that narcissistic behavior by letting coworkers interrupt other conversations. Remain polite, but stay firm in your insistence.
5. Look for a Quieter Place to Work
One last option is to find somewhere to work that with less distracting noise. We're not saying you need to find a new job! Instead, you can simply find a quieter place.
Many offices have adopted an open office design that minimizes privacy and makes it easier for co-workers to intrude on your space. If you can’t live up to the expectations of your job because of the constant noise and interruptions, talk to your supervisor about using a different workspace. Any area with walls and a door will help you regain your privacy and take care of the constant chattiness of your coworker.
Some people thrive in a noisy, busy environment. But the truth is 58% of high-performance employees say they need more quiet at work. When there is too much noise, it affects productivity, health, and even overall job satisfaction.
If you prefer to deal with things on your own, give these tips a try. If they don’t work, it’s time to get your supervisor involved. Remember, it’s in your employer’s best interest to provide you with a peaceful, quiet workplace. If you explain how important silence is to you, they will probably find accommodations.
The fewer coworkers who get dragged into the situation, the better. People who like to talk often enjoy more targets so there’s always someone to approach. That also means that they aren'tdevoting as much time to their job as they should be. Your supervisor might find that separating employees increases productivity all the way around!
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