Canceling Out Office Noise

Some people would choose to work at home if they could hands down, or if they need to be an office, they want quiet. Or it’s not even that they want quiet, they need it.

Noises like office chit chat, others’ business phone calls, the buzzing of printers or others coming and goings can knock people out of their concentration and unfortunately, production can go down.

So what do you do when working in a nice, quiet spot isn’t an option?

You have to be in that office. More and more offices have gone big room, open space, everyone hears everyone else design, and that can be distracting.

Tips for the Everyday Worker

Here are a few tips that may be able to drown out or cover up some of that busy background noise, and an alternative or two as well:

1. Purchase some noise headphones, possibly noise canceling ones. Headphones can turn into your best friend in a noisy office. Make a few playlists of music you can work to or upload your favorite podcasts to listen to and cover up the busy noise. It’s easy to find great, inexpensive headphones, most major retailers, like Walmart, carry these. There’s another reason to pop on some headphones, even if you’re not listening to anything at all – they are your coworker’s social cue to stay away, you’re busy – just like a book on a subway.

2. Move away from the busy spots – Maybe your space is near the water cooler, proverbial or not, or the main door where people come and go. See if you can move to a quieter corner or end of the room where there’s not so much hoopla and activity all of the time.

3. Ask for alternate hours – If you know you have a big project coming up that is going to take all of your concentration, see if you can come in early or stay late. Usually this isn’t a problem. You can even inquire about a few work at home days if you really need solitary quiet.

4. Speak to your boss – If things are getting out of hand and you know it’s more than just you being quirky and needing quiet, speak to your boss about it. Maybe your coworkers are taking advantage of certain situations and spending too much chit chatting. Maybe the guy in the space next to you has the “Frozen” theme song as his ringtone and it goes off all of the time. Your boss probably can’t have a no talking policy, but he or she can instill some guidelines, including keeping phones on low or silence.

Boss’s Side

As a boss or business owner try to understand how the noise of the office can negatively impact your employees.

Try to instill some guidelines and even speak to individuals if you see them taking advantage of anything, or even just if they need a little toning down.

Remember to do it all with poise and respect, and respect those suffering from the distractions, too.

If headphones are an easy fix, by all means allow them.

You’re running a place where you want to see success, and comfort and well-being lead to success.

About the Author: Heather Legg is a freelance writer who covers a wide range of topics, including small business and retail.

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