I've got a co-worker in our group that sits one section over from the rest of the group. We're in an open office (ugh, I know) and so it is easy to have quick 1:1 conversations (work, and non-work related). But at the same time voices travel and people nearby can catch most of what we say.

The separate co-worker often likes to jump in at the tail-end of a conversation and wants to be included. This is often after the conversation has run its course and a decision has been made.

How do I politely say what I want to say: "We got this. I don't want to replay the whole conversation for you when it doesn't involve you." Or is this just another bad part of working in an open-office?

I do want to say that when I do want their input/opinion, I'm sure to include them and they contributes valuably.

  • 1
    So on work time you have quick 1:1 non-work related conversation that carries to next section and are encumbered by a coworker wants to be involved. Here is an idea don't have non-work conversations and take them in the cube at a level that does not carry to the next section. Even if you don't have a cube you can cover your mouth across a desk and have a private conversation.
    – paparazzo
    Jul 2, 2016 at 3:55
  • "We got this. I don't want to replay the whole conversation for you when it doesn't involve you." Sounds polite enough to me.
    – gnasher729
    Jul 2, 2016 at 11:48

3 Answers 3


Actually this is fairly normal, if you're going to have a conversation loud enough for others to hear, you're actually disturbing them and shouldn't mind if they butt in a bit.

If you dislike it, lower your voices a bit and let your neighbours concentrate on their work instead of your conversation. It's a better solution than being rude to them or trying to get rid of them.


"We were talking about unbirfating the tertiary Demi-Oracle, and decided to quux the luudi." Or something else that helps him learn who works on which parts of the system and maybe understand the direction that has been set. He doesn't need a full recap; one paragraph is plenty.


This calls for you to be more courteous with the nature of your office. You have an exclusive right to communicate with respect to other office users and neither exercise your right by infringing on others, try a more discrete approach to both include and exclude required and non required opinions respectively and more so when its non-work related. Arrange a meeting over breaks or after work when every he has left, i believe you will never have to deal with this co-worker

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