What would be the best way to contact HR with a suggestion for having available plastic (or some other material) plates at work to keep noise at a minimum in the morning?

It's a open plan office, 1 or 2 people eat breakfast at their desk, and the plates we got in kitchen are all ceramic; with the silver spoons we have this makes too much noise when they have cereals.

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    – jmort253
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 9:22
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    To return to the actual question: have you talked to your colleagues and explained to them that the noise interferes with your concentration? Maybe they could have their breakfast somewhere you don't hear them (in the kitchen?), or there could be a dedicated "breakfast time slot" before you (and other noise-sensitive colleagues) arrive. Maybe the noise irritates others, as well. I have always found that actually talking to people can lead to a better solution than technological fixes. Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 11:35

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I would suggest that a change like the one you propose would be opposed by others within the office, who prefer using "proper" plates and cutlery, instead of plastic. For this reason, even if HR agree to provide plastic as an option, people won't use them if they don't want to.

My suggestion would be to change your personal working environment for the 15 minutes or so it takes your colleagues to eat their breakfast. I would suggest headphones with music or even white noise, or leaving your desk to grab coffee. You could use this time productively to plan your day.

  • I am not really that annoyed at this moment, but sometimes when you keep hearing noises after a while you start getting really annoyed, which is why I am preparing myself in advance before I reach to the stage where I actually get mad, but yeah I will buy noise cancellation headphones :) Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 12:44

Plastic plates aren't very expensive. The disposable kind are very cheap indeed, and even the washable kind are cheap.

Go buy some! Spend ten dollars, or a hundred rupees, or whatever it is. Put them in your kitchen. Ask your colleagues to use them. Respectfully explain to them that you're trying to keep the distracting noise down. See if it makes a difference.

If it does make a difference, ask your company's office manager to consider replacing the ceramic ones with plastic ones. You will have experimental evidence in favor of the change: a strong argument. In many offices it isn't HR that deals with stuff like this, it's the same people who handle ordering of supplies, cleaning, etc.

If your experiment fails -- maybe because your colleagues dislike the plastic, or maybe because it's actually something else that distracts you -- then at least you tried. You can then change your spots during break time or wear a headset.


What would be the best way to contact HR with a suggestion for having available plastic (or some other material) plates at work to keep noise at a minimum in the morning?

Just be direct!

Send a note to HR with something like "I'd like to propose plastic plates and cutlery for our kitchen, rather than ceramic and silver, and here's why..." Then explain in a bit more detail.

Make your tone friendly and professional, don't call out individuals, and don't nag.

While this may not trigger the desired change, it give you your best chance.

When you want something done in a professional environment, contact the ones who can make it happen, state your case in a friendly manner, and hope for the best.


Posted as a response to your edit.

Unfortunately for you, I think it's very unlikely that HR are going to make such a change on the basis of one individuals objection to a very specific thing. It's more of a pet peeve than anything else given that you've mentioned the office is not noisy it's just this particular issue.

In addition, plastic cutlery and crockery won't stand up to the test of time and will likely need replacing on a regular basis, is this a recurring cost the organisation is willing to accept? Again it's unlikely given that a current provision of materials is already in place and works well for the majority.

I think the that @TrueDub's suggestion is the best approach for you to take on this one, in some instances it's best to change your own behavior than enforce s standard upon the majority.

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