I work in a shared office space and two people that sit across from me have mechanical keyboards which are very, very loud and very, very annoying. I don't always want to listen to music, and since it's a shared office space, I can't go to my boss/manager.

What can I say to these individuals? They probably don't even know that it's bothering anybody.

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    Your coworker already posted something: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/9694/… – user8365 Jan 29 '15 at 18:25
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    confront? You want to start with confront? These guys are minding their own business working with the tech the company has given them, and you've worked yourself up into such a lather that you are making plans to confront them over it? Take your anger to your manager. That's who gave them the keyboards and gave you all the open space office. – Kate Gregory Jan 29 '15 at 19:25
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    All offices have noise. Learn how to work even with noise. Expecting people to type quieter is beyond belief. So you are little less productive. Who cares? Your office doesn't care one teeny tiny bit about productivity or you would not be in an open space. Professionals learn how not be distracted by every little thing. Try working in an office in the flight path of a miltary base. It is YOUR problem not their problem if you can't take the normal sounds like typing, air conditioning, conversations. Your problem, not theirs. You need to stop expecting others to conform to what you want. – HLGEM Jan 29 '15 at 20:05
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    Learn to respect the Model M. – Eric Feb 2 '15 at 2:50
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    Dismissing this as a concern is not fair on the poster. I've had this experience and its like trying to work with a woodpecker sitting beside you. Soft-touch keyboards exist for a reason: because aggressive typing on a mechanical keyboard is noise pollution. Nothing you do in an office situation should interfere with the productivity of others. If you have to change your behaviour, that's on you, not them. Office workers should be seen, not heard. – Garreth McDaid Apr 17 '18 at 13:56

What can I say to these individuals? They probably don't even know that it's bothering anybody.

I'm not sure they don't know as much as they don't care. It is not uncommon for people who type quite a bit as part of their day to day work to prefer the firm, loud, resilient old style mechanical keyboards. They provide better tactile and audible feedback that the keystrokes land properly, and they last years longer. These keyboards likely make these people quite a bit more productive.

So I expect you can't say much to these individuals to make them sacrifice their productivity for yours. You might be better off working with your boss to perhaps arrange the office so that they're near others who are less impacted by the noise. The other common noise reducing techniques (as found in the linked questions) are also options of course.

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    yes the bucking spring keyboards are way better that those modern keyboards you get on apples these days – Pepone Jan 29 '15 at 22:38

They know, and they're probably proud of it - or they at least enjoy the sound. I say this because I myself use a loud mechanical keyboard (but I work in my own space so it doesn't bother anyone).

The noise is probably due to the type of switch they are using, if they are as loud as it sounds, they are probably using a switch from the Cherry company called and MX Blue. There are silent, or at least quieter switches out there, but changing between them typically requires getting a different keyboard.

As for changing their behavior, that could be difficult. You could ask them if they have a keyboard that uses Cherry MX Brown switches that would produce less noise. If nothing else your knowledge of the niche interest may impress them enough to give you some social leverage to induce a change.

Ultimately it doesn't seem fair to use a loud keyboard in a shared space if everyone present isn't on board with the noise level. You should talk to them, and to your manager and see what kind of compromise can be struck.

Of course, you could also try a mechanical keyboard of your own... Perhaps you'd become a fan of the satisfying clickity-clack your coworkers enjoy...

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  • Sound enjoyment aside, it can also be a more practical consideration. Granted, I speak anecdotally, but for me, my wrists haven't hurt in years since I switched to a mechanical keyboard no matter how much I type in any given day. – Adam Lear Jan 29 '15 at 20:45
  • That's an excellent point that I hadn't really considered. I guess I've neglected to notice the absence of wrist pain since I switched to my mech. – Kevin Jan 29 '15 at 21:03
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    I don't agree with this answer. Mechanical keyboards are expensive, and changing switches or installing sound dampening mods is laborious, invasive, and probably unwanted by the OP's co-worker. If you can't beat them join them doesn't seem the best option in this case. You have a point though, talking to them about their keyboard is a good way to get some personal rapport, which is a good idea regardless of setting. [Reversed downvote] Browns are a gateway switch so it could be that the coworker has a keyboard with those laying around – rath Jan 31 '15 at 9:03

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