I work in an open office where over 30-40 are present at most of the office time. I have my cubicle next to the hiring team of our department.

As part of their work they have to converse with many potential new recruits.

But the problem is as the team consists of over 6 members and each of them talk almost through out the day for some reason or the other. Its making our office room quite noisy, adding to this most of them have their phones' loud speaker on during the call which plays even the caller tune before the caller picks his/her call.

This problem is making me quite distracted. I tried moving to other vacant cubicle within the office room but not much of improvement there as well.

Any suggestions to politely tell the hiring to be quite is welcomed. I'm pretty sure they know our company's policies as they are HRs ;)

  • Yes we have a scheduled quite hour in my company at some offices sadly not in my office room.
    – San_man
    May 15, 2016 at 12:05
  • @Jim G. I searched for a duplicate question before putting up the question. Sadly I found none.
    – San_man
    May 15, 2016 at 15:36

3 Answers 3


Your company has fallen for the trap of open plan offices. They have decided the ability to micro-control noise, lighting, temperature, and privacy would be sacrificed to either save money or to chase the dream of perfect collaboration.

The fact that their normal mode of doing their job (constant talking on their phones) interferes with your normal mode of doing your job is the problem. The question is why you are close enough to them if you don't have to work with them.

You should be place closer to those on your team, or to those doing similar work. That is the reason why open plan should be used. The fact that work area can be re-arranged; and that other structures besides rigid walls could be use for separation and privacy; was suppose to be a strength. Unfortunately many organizations don't move people when situations change.

You should suggest to your manager that moving will help you perform your job. Come up with multiple suggestions based either on environment or collaboration. You could also try other ways to block out their voices, but you shouldn't talk to your co-workers. They are doing their job. Even if they were to drop the worst of their habits: speaker phone; the issue would still remain.

  • Agreed, I have suggested a movement plan but looks like nothing gonna happen immediately.
    – San_man
    May 15, 2016 at 12:03
  • +1 I've never understood why the folks making the decisions think that not being able to hear yourself think or being afraid to talk in a normal tone of voice promotes collaboration. From what I can tell, it's all about the money and the completely-unsupported-by-science productivity/collaboration claims are just a smoke screen to hide that the money they save in the short term is more important to them than the difficult to quantify, but supported by science, longer term productivity and engagement costs. newyorker.com/business/currency/the-open-office-trap
    – ColleenV
    May 15, 2016 at 12:51

The first step would be to talk to your co-workers. If you don't feel confident speaking face to face, you can use a WhatsApp/Facebook group. Say something long these lines:

"Hey guys, I'm having trouble concentrating on work because of the noisy environment in the office. As I'm sure this is effecting others as well, Let's make an effort to talk softly and cut down on the noise."

Any half decent employee would respect your wishes and at least try. If this doesn't work, however, you should talk to the management. They don't want their employees' productivity to get effected, so they are bound to take some action.


Any suggestions to politely tell the hiring to be quite is welcomed. I'm pretty sure they know our company's policies as they are HRs ;)

Asking folks to be quiet in an open office space is unlikely to be effective.

You could talk to them and ask if they could do their job elsewhere or more quietly, but realistically much of their job probably involves talking. That's going to be hard to change.

Instead, consider methods that don't involve changing others. Read: Are there any strategies you can use to remain focused when working in a open plan environment?

If you have't already done so, talk to your boss. Explain how this impacts your productivity and ask if there is somewhere else you could work.

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