Dear Dr. Mimi:
I’m having a hard time focusing at work, as the co-worker who sits across from me is very
noisy. He talks in a loud voice and bangs things around! I don’t want to be rude and confront
him, but I’m having a hard time getting things done, and I can see my productivity suffering.
What can I do?
You’re absolutely right that you don’t want to come across as rude in resolving this issue.
If there’s a chance you may be sensitive to noise, address this first. A good pair of
noise-canceling headphones should do the trick!
Your co-worker may not be aware of how loud he is. So, if you address the co-worker, find
ways to shift the blame away from him. Note that the openness of the office space could be
contributing to noise carrying. Ask how you can help him, as well.
If you address the issue with management, do so without accusation. You can request a
designated quiet space for work, or suggest an office etiquette meeting for everyone.
Ensure that mutual respect is the foundation for resolving the problem, and you’ll be in
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