I work for a government agency in a consolidated services unit. There is always work to do, but a lot of people seem to have time to socialize all day long. Two things irk me. 1. People who hang over your cubicle wall and watch you work behind your back. Not just your supervisor. 2. A co-worker who is in the cubicle in front of mine has a habit of looking into my cubicle and staring at me or my screen. I sit sideways to the entry of my cubicle, so he has to crane his neck to see what I am doing. I do purchasing, so I have a lot of sites open for business. I am allowed to listen to streamed radio programs, playlists, etc. No videos.

I've tried the turn and look at him, turning my back. But this just disrupts my workflow. I tried to ask him about it, and he just waved me off. Now he comes into the workspace singing off tune and tapping on his desk for 15 minutes.

  • 1
    What specifically is your question?
    – Myles
    Apr 27 '16 at 14:57
  • @Myles - My guess is she wants this to stop.
    – user8365
    Apr 27 '16 at 15:03
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    You might want to edit out the part about people socializing all day long. While I have seen this, too, it doesn't seem to relate to the rest of your question. Also, get a polarized privacy screen cover. Apr 27 '16 at 15:08
  • If someone waved me off, they'd be getting some hand gestures right back. You need to push the issue with the person if it's bothering you.
    – Kilisi
    Apr 27 '16 at 21:42

There's no reason for coworkers to be prying into the work you are doing, or (if you're allowed to) what you are doing or reading at lunch time. Typically, you are subject to monitoring what you are using your computer for, but unless you are showing a coworker something, they don't need to be watching you.

It's also reasonable to expect a work environment that is conducive to working. It's normal for people to have conversations in their cubes - either face to face on the phone. Some of these may be socializing and others may be work related, but they should be a reasonable duration and volume to not be a huge distraction to people around them.

If these things are happening and you've tried to talk to your coworker about them without luck, the next step would be to talk to your manager to work out a solution to the problem. There are probably many different solutions, but if you're not able to feel like you can effectively work and you are unable to solve the problems on your own, then it's the responsibility of your manager to get involved and help work toward solutions.

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    I can tell you from experience going to your manager about people talking all day will not work but will probably make your manager like you less. Apr 27 '16 at 15:25
  • @AmyBlankenship If your work environment isn't allowing you to work, your manager should care. The problem isn't people talking all day, individual coworkers being distracting and not responding to attempts to talk about the behavior. Step one is to always work it out with the coworker individually. That was tried and got nowhere. The next step is to talk to your supervisor. Apr 27 '16 at 15:28
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    Managers should care, but IME most don't like being put in a position where they have to ask employees to change what they're doing. This especially applies in a government situation. Likely the result is they don't do anything, but they now think of the person who asked for change as a complainer. Apr 27 '16 at 15:44
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    @AmyBlankenship The options available are "talk to your coworker", "talk to your manager", "do nothing", or "quit", as far as I can tell. Option 1 has been tried and failed. I think that the next step is to put the ball in the manager's court. If that doesn't go anywhere, then my recommendation would be to look for a new work environment that's a better fit for you, since your manager has proven that they aren't willing or able to provide a positive environment for their staff. Such a reason is a good reason to look for a new job, while "my coworker is annoying" isn't as good of a reason. Apr 27 '16 at 15:53
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    Other options are get a privacy screen and headphones, because that's what most people wind up doing in workspaces without doors. The bottom line is you're unlikely to find a job where people don't do these things unless you work from home most of the time, so you need to develop coping skills. Apr 27 '16 at 16:16

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