I'm in an office with around 8 co-workers.

My desk is in the middle of the office. There's 2 people in front of me, 2 people to the right of me, and 3 people sitting behind me.

I'm the only webdeveloper, and therefor I think I need to concentrate most on my job. But every time I'm working, I hear phone's ringing, people talking, doors opening, papers printing, etc. I hear sounds from any possible direction, in a 360 degrees angle.

This makes it hard for me to focus on my job, and demotivates me as it's exhausting me.

Before I had another place, which was in a corner. And I got at least 2 times more work done in the same work hours.

They then completely changed the layout of the office. And I had gotten this place assigned to me.

  • 3
    Possible duplicate of What can I do about a very loud coworker?
    – Raf M.
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 9:27
  • 1
    @RafM. Not a duplicate question of that.
    – Daan
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 9:29
  • 1
    I understand your case might not be exactly the same as described in the post I mentioned above in my flag, but I think you might find some of the answers very helpful and applicable to your situation. Bottom line is: communicate, communicate and communicate some more. Also, important one: nobody looks at your monitor to check if you do your job. If you're the only dev in the team, they wouldn't understand it either way (just like you wouldn't necessarily understand what marketing team does). If you deliver, you deliver. That's how they know you do your job. :) Talk to your team!
    – Raf M.
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 9:31
  • 2
    you might also want to have a look at this thread: workplace.stackexchange.com/q/778/81811
    – Raf M.
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 9:36
  • 1
    " therefor I think I need to concentrate most on my job." Pretty sure the other people in the office think the same about their job.
    – user41891
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 18:59

2 Answers 2


What about something as simple as talking to your manager, asking something like:

Hi manager, since the new office layout I noticed that I am distracted by things like ringing phones. Is it possible that I can get a desk similar to what I had before the office layout changes? Perhaps at desk A or desk B? I feel like I can get more work done this way.

Be sure to not just complain to your manager about something, but come up with suggestions he can approve or deny.

Alternatively, you can buy noise-cancelling headphones, but that would render you as not being reachable since people would need to IM you (or tap your shoulder) to get your attention. While that may be what you want, your manager may want you to be able to listen in on conversations.

For what it's worth: I wouldn't be too suspicious about people wanting to look at your screen to see what you are doing. If you would be managed like this, looking at your screen all day wouldn't be the only thing you would notice. In our office some people are also positioned in such a way a lot of people can see what they are doing, but that's just the way the desks are placed. It's not because of people wanting to monitor what other people are doing at any given moment of the day.


Protip: Use Headphones. Noise cancelling headphones. Buy them yourself so you can take them with you when you leave the company.

I found I can concentrate a lot better when I wear my headphones and basically everything around me becomes white noise or whatever radio station I decide to listen to that day.

I'm not very social, so whenever my colleagues decide to have an informal meeting nearby and shoot the breeze, I can get away with just ignoring them and cranking up the radio.

Another good thing about wearing headphones is that your colleagues can't shout at your to get your attention. They have to physically walk to your desk or write you an email/message. Writing makes people concentrate on what they are asking and having to get up and walk gives them time to think about what they really need.

  • This seems like the obvious solution probably the only one, short of a new job
    – Mawg
    Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 7:53

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