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21 October 2013

Indoor voices, please! Hi. Recently we've had a few new people move into cubicle land, and they have a habit of shouting through the cubicle walls (rather than getting up and walking ten feet to have a conversation). This is not only annoying, but distracting. My various dx plus my not-quite-dx'ed ADD doesn't help matters any. Let's assume that moving my desk is most likely not an option. How would you handle it? I don't want to alienate anyone, but it's really hard to concentrate and get work done. Every time I put on headphones they shout even louder. I am also at the bottom of the food chain in this room, not by senority, but by rank/caste. Their supervisor has a fearsome reputation and requires an appointment to talk to.
You don't sound like the type to shout, "I'M TRYING TO GET WORK DONE OK" or anything like that, but I do sympathize. I got moved to an already crowded office without cubicles where they all talk to each other all day or on the phone doing dog knows what.

Why do you say they shout louder when your earphones are on? Have you got music going?

I've mostly gotten up and left when it really gets on my nerves. I'll go off somewhere quiet, plan the next bits of work to do, come back and do them. Some days are easier than others. We're all equal (they're actually a little more equal, being Faculty while I'm just staff) and they've learned when I've got my earphones on that I really need to be left alone.

Where does your supervisor fit into this?

posted by lysdexic 21 October | 14:06
Some of them are my supervisors (think large bureaucracy), and the supervisor that really had my back, well he retired and they are in the process of replacing him.

I think they shout louder because they don't think I can hear them, and so it's OK to shout even louder.. The only way I could not hear them is if I wore silicone earplugs inside the earphones, and I can't really do that because I have to listen to the phone all the time. They shouldn't be able to hear my music through the phones. They're real phones, not earbuds.
posted by intrepid_simple(ton) 21 October | 22:52
What kind of email does the company have? Gmail comes with chat, as do other email programs. Next time someone hollers while you're trying to concentrate, politely ask them to use chat.

If that doesn't help, even if the supervisor is hard to schedule, make an appointment, and ask for help resolving the issue. They probably have no idea how loud they are or how disruptive.

Ask the supervisor to get you noise canceling headphones. Headphones are better than earbuds.
posted by theora55 22 October | 12:53
A headphone phenomena is that a lot of stuff two cubicles away somehow seems to become louder all of a sudden... they aren't necessarily louder; it could be that the noise floor is lower; your ears adjust; and then the next sound is a !SURPRISE! HOLY CRAP type of dynamics.
Hopefully they're probably not forcing the loudness on the behalf of you having headphones, but if they are that's a poor work environment in action.
Can the LOUD folk be moved so they are together? And fwiw; you are probably not the only one that is distracted by the LOUD.
I have not tried noise canceling headphones at work; but if I was in a HEY BLAH! BLAH BLAH? YAH! environment it might be worth a little reading.

Noise cancelling reviews.
posted by buzzman 22 October | 14:34
YIKES! You are under a Zombie attack.. || My daughter just called to tell me...