We've both started at this company a few weeks ago. They got a mechanical keyboard on day two or so and it's very distracting. I can hear it over music on earphones.

Ideally I'd like them to use a different keyboard that is not loud.

How can I approach this? Speak to them? Speak to our manager?

  • 2
    Always talk to the person and then if nothing happens escalate. Who am I kidding it's a guy with a mechanical keyboard 99% chance you'll have to go to your manager anyway and hope like hell he's willing to fix the issue.
    – Snowlockk
    Jun 27, 2017 at 8:03
  • 1
    You would hope someone would ask if a keyboard is too noisy before using it. I did not bring my cherry mx blue to work because coworkers indicated it would be too loud
    – Houbie
    Jun 27, 2017 at 9:04
  • 1
    If I were you I would buy noise cancelling headphones. Jun 27, 2017 at 9:57
  • 3
    Simple solution is to be as old as me and already be used to teams of developers hammering away on IBM Model M keyboards :) Jun 27, 2017 at 12:47
  • 1
    I'd ask him if he's using o-rings at the very least. It might be relatively simple fix.
    – Sirisian
    Jun 27, 2017 at 12:57

3 Answers 3


Noise complaints in an office are very common.

I'd tread lightly if I were you. If the person is using a mechanical keyboard, and there is a medical reason for it, you can get into trouble quickly.

Offices have noise, be they ringing phones, conversations, et cetera. I wear earplugs, and sometimes sunglasses for the light, which makes me uncomfortable.

This is not something for management, but for you to address. Get earplugs, earbuds, or noise cancelling headphones. But it is up to you to do something for yourself. You cannot expect the world to accommodate you.

  • 3
    +1 You can't expect an office to be like a library - working produces noise and typing noise is one those. There are valid noise sources to complain about in an office but typing?
    – motosubatsu
    Jun 27, 2017 at 13:16
  • You mean there are people who don't appreciate the music click-clack of a mechanical keyboard? Jun 27, 2017 at 15:21
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    @SaggingRufus I remember when it was electric, or even manual typewriters. somehow, we managed Jun 27, 2017 at 15:36

Trust me I'm a manager and I have received many noise complains including loud speaking on phone, music, phone rings... I would pay attention to that if as manager I find it hurting to team performance, I have even asked staff not to type aggressive on their keyboard! after all I don't know how reasonable is your manager but that would ruin your relationship.

Assuming that's not an option for you, and if you are not certain how the person would react or it may turn this it to an argument or big fight, you can write them an email explaining this.

And if you want to be very friendly with them, get them a drink or food or snack by surprise! this would break the notion that are you in for a fight.

I would personally try to listen to soft music with headphone not to bother about the keyboard or noises from environment. although it can be distracting.

Last word: being able to work in any environment is a must in current age.

  • 3
    I understand the context in which you made the statement, but I strongly discourage writing that email. It usually creates bigger problems than it solves. 1. You have to try hard to write it without offending the colleague because it is impossible to communicate body language in email. 2. You are unlikely to get point no. 1 100% right. 3. It leaves a permanent written record, and you never know how, when and by whom it would be used for what purpose. Hence, if you have to use email to communicate problems, do it only for serious issues and only as a last resort.
    – Masked Man
    Jun 27, 2017 at 11:21

There are also mechanical keyboards that have some dampers to make lesser noise. I would go to my colleague directly and tell him about my problem (it´s important that is your problem, not his). I would then ask him kindly if he would be willing to switch to a more silent model if I paid for it. This may not seem fair at first, but in the end it is a small price to pay for a quiet and peaceful working environment. Also, you should get better Headphones!

If that does not work, go to the management and tell them that your performance is impaired by the noise (don´t blame your colleague!) They should take it serious. Studies show that noise does not only hurt performance but can also cause health problems. So if management does not care, this is a sure sign to look for another employer!

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