The place where I sit in my office results inconvenient for me because:

  • Everyone can see my computer screen and very often they will stop by and stare at my screen what distracts me. Sometimes they will even comment on what they see on my screen and that distracts me. Sometimes they judge what I am doing spontaneously so breaks my concentration.
  • Many people walking around in the area. And that distracts me.
  • Many people discussing very close to my desk. Obviously the noise distracts me.

It seems like too obvious thing to do just tell your manager/supervisor the problem and find out a place to sit more convenient. However, that solution is really not possible because:

  • I do not see any other spot in the whole office where that could happen. So it is not like I see many places where I could sit if just asked for. It is just one room open space and we are sat down in islands with our teams, so also cannot split and go somewhere else. But even if could, I do not see anywhere were could go.
  • All the colleges are sitting in spots with same amount of noise or distraction, i.e. more or less everyone same circumstances as me. However none else is annoyed by that. So although possible to ask my manager/supervisor, it's somewhat weird that I request by special needs to have a special desk in a privileged spot with specific conditions.

So at the beginning this was ok, but it is burning me more and more every day.

  • 4
    Would a computer privacy screen help? Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 17:05
  • 2
    It's normal to have a privacy screen in a high traffic area. It's a good security practice anyway.
    – jcmack
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 17:16
  • 3
    Everyone is different, and plenty may even feel the same as you. You shouldn't feel uncomfortable bringing up an issue just because you feel like others would be or seem fine with it. Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 17:22
  • 1
    Do you wear headphones during periods of concentration? Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 17:48
  • 1

4 Answers 4


I would talk to your manager that where you are sitting is not conductive to your productivity i.e. people walking by and talking to you about what's on your computer screen.

  • Ask for a privacy screen so that other people can't see exactly what's on your screen.
  • Ask to switch seats with someone else to a less high traffic location.
  • If your office allows it, wear headphones. Typically, for people in the US, headphones are an easy way to signal "I'm in the zone, don't bother me."

You never get what you don't ask for. It's worth just having a discussion about what is possible instead of just suffering.

  • The headphones do not change anything. I wear them but still noise and does not change aything concerning the people starring around.
    – Worker
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 5:25
  • You can invest in noise cancelling headphones. With the advent of open offices and people complaining about them, your company may even cover the cost of the head phones. I still recommend talking to your manager, because it's part of their job to make sure you have the right working environment.
    – jcmack
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 20:06

I am in a "busy" area a least a few times a week and even though I have "nothing to hide," it can be distracting sometimes.

Have you tried something like "Workstation Popcorn", where you sit in different spots throughout the day for certain time periods, which are reserved for certain tasks? I often try places like:

  • communal areas (like balconies and break rooms / common areas) in the office
  • nearby cafes, etc.
  • I would love. But we have desktop PCs. So not possible. Still same problem: none else is doing something similar
    – Worker
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 17:35

I don't think you are entitled to have more "private" screen that anyone else. Unless you are a manager working with sensitive data - there is no good reason to hide what is happening on your screen.

If you bring the subject up - you may lose the trust of your teammates; be perceived as someone who is idling on the job or doing something inapropriate. This will bring even more unwelcome attention to you and your screen.

Instead - embrace what fellow collegues say, they often just want to help even if it's not that obvious. On the other hand - if you find their remarks rude or purposely distracting - address the remarks, ask them to stop.

  • I embrace it: but I cannot work like that. It breaks my concentration. I'd be glad to not to be interrupted so much.
    – Worker
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 17:36
  • As in answer: address the comments, not the place or the screen.
    – Drakemor
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 17:37

Bring it up with your manager. If (s)he says (s)he cannot do anything about, you haven't lost anything. But perhaps there is way to improve the situation you had not thought about. Or perhaps nothing can be done now, but you may be offered a different spot if someone gets reassigned or leaves. Or it's taken in consideration when the team moves (in my company, teams move every couple of moves; by now, people know my preferences, and they assign me a place as much in a corner as possible).

There's another reason to bring this up. If more people complain about the current layout, eventually, this will work it up the chain, and something may be done about.

But do tell your manager. Remember, in a healthy company, your manager is there to help you do your work as best as possible. But (s)he can only do something about things that bother you if (s)he knows about them.

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