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My supervisor rather often (every 1-2 days) comes to my (shared) office to discuss results with me, and these discussions can last up to 1h each. Recently my co-worker has addressed that these discussions are distracting her a lot and she can't concentrate.
I'm fully understanding of how this is annoying for her, but I am a bit of a loss about what I can to do help her with this, or whether she has just to accept this.

  • Discussing in a meeting room / empty office is not an option typically since we are working at the PC where we need specific software installed.
  • Toning down our voices is not an option or going to help.
  • Moving discussions to my supervisor's office is done whenever possible, but he is also sharing with a co-worker on his rank level and thus we all agree that my office is preferable when both spaces are occupied.

I have tried explaining that I am not in a situation that I can change much as far as I can tell (and the points above concerned) and ultimately my colleague has already / will soon ask for a transfer to another office (on friendly terms with me I hope).

I want to be as conducive to a good work environment to everyone who is sharing the office space with me (surely someone else would move in with me eventually, space is limited). So ...

  • What else could I do to avoid the disturbance to my co-workers?
  • Does my co-worker rather need to accept the discussions every now and then as they are part of the workplace routine?

I have not yet addressed this to my supervisor, since I can't place / evaluate the issue yet (thus seeking help here). Since I am profiting a lot from our discussions (we are getting good work done and I am hoping to be able to benefit from it for my own career), I fear that bringing it up might reduce our interaction.

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I think that in the future, you will need to address this issue anyway. You cannot expect people to work in a noisy environment.

A couple of things you can do

  • Get laptops with the software
  • Get meeting rooms with the specific software installed
  • Go to the office of your boss, which is most likely isolated.

But most important, talk about it. Talk to your boss, have a team meeting addressing the issue and how it can be resolved. You cannot expect your collegue to solve her issue with the noise, the noise itself should be addressed

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    Of course you can expect people to work with noise. It has been noisy in every office I have ever worked in. The colleague needs to accept that noise is the price of doing business and learn to cope. – HLGEM Apr 25 '17 at 13:44
  • If licensing of the software is an issue, then the laptops don't necessarily need to have it installed, if you can RDP back to your desktop from a meeting room. – mike_dowler Apr 26 '17 at 7:28
  • @HLGEM However, there will always be people who cannot cope with noise that easy, and their opinion should be taken into account. – Houbie Apr 26 '17 at 7:43
  • No it should not. It is their problem not yours. Noise is a fact of life in office work. The onus is on the individual to learn to cope. Now for noise that is excessive or completely unrelated to work, the coworker might have a point, but she should shut up about the noise from ordinary work-related discussions and teh people involved have no obligation to comprise their work to indulge her whims. – HLGEM Apr 26 '17 at 13:28
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My supervisor rather often (every 1-2 days) comes to my (shared) office to discuss results with me, and these discussions can last up to 1h each. Recently my co-worker has addressed that these discussions are distracting her a lot and she can't concentrate.

Ultimately the only thing you need to do is raise this with your supervisor - it's then up to him to fix the issue. You don't need to go straight to him with a solution (though if you can think of one to suggest, there's nothing wrong with that.)

In terms of another suggestion of a solution though, could you alter your lunch breaks to have this meeting while she's at lunch?

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    In terms of another suggestion of a solution though, could you alter your lunch breaks to have this meeting while she's at lunch ... +1 – Sebastien DErrico Apr 25 '17 at 15:46

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