86

What is a polite way to ask people to 'go talk somewhere else'? "Please, can you take this conversation to a conference room?" will usually get the job done. The best solution in truth is to use noise canceling headphones. I like it quiet when I work, and will avoid appearing like the bad guy as best I can. If they are talking at a volume above what ...


74

I work in an open office setting where all of my co-workers just do it at their desk. It's a prescribed medication, you aren't doing anything wrong and there is no need to hide it. If someone asks what it is, you can either tell them (if you feel comfortable doing so) or just say "it's my medication" and leave it at that. You may want to check with your ...


67

Be direct, but blame only yourself Try wording it like this: Hi, I'm having a hard time concentrating. Would you mind talking somewhere else? I actually do this several times a day. We have QA folks, management, junior programmers, and none of them realize the value of a distraction-free work environment for deep thinking tasks such as refactoring or ...


54

I'm afraid the options are limited and the limitations depends on your physical work environment and what the company you work for are willing to do. I'd say the solutions I've seen are a combination of these: Create a "Do not disturb" time. The idea is to set aside a certain time, like 14:00 - 17:00, where no interruptions are allowed. Phones are turned ...


38

That's one typical problem with open office culture. Someone's communication is someone else's distraction. So, let's analyze the situation: Someone requested you to change the level of your voice, and you were actually able to do that. That indicates, you could have started and continued in that tone itself which would not have caused any problems. In ...


29

Get a desk lamp. Get one with a swing arm/adjustable that can direct the light toward your desk surface, rather than spread the light over others' work surfaces. Something like this might work: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0744984HF/ (Personally, unless you are a mushroom, I don't understand the attraction of dark office spaces. I like lots of light - ...


27

We have mostly open seating too. I share your pain. You didn't mention visual distraction, but that can be a big contributor too. If you have any leeway at all over this, getting any sort of visual barrier can help immensely. You might not realize how much people walking by in your peripheral vision can distract you until you cut it off. The biggest ...


18

Logically speaking, if anyone in your team has an extreme allergy to nuts (or seafood, or anything else that's relatively common), it would be in their best interests to make this known among the people they're in regular contact with. However, if in doubt, you can open with Does anyone mind if I chew nuts around here? I'm happy to share.... (adjust the ...


18

Noise cancellation headphones like Bose QC-3 or QC-15 are statistics-based and work well for constant droning kind of noises (airplane engines, wind, street noise, etc). You will still hear conversations with them if they happen anywhere around you. If you really want silence, you can go with shooting ear-muffs that they use on gun ranges. You can usually ...


18

Assuming you mean open plan... There's a few reasons for it. Communication The first reason for me would be communication, the lack of walls and the increased open space means that colleagues (specifically in tech) are able to ask for help without having to leave their office and knock elsewhere. On top of this it's supposed to increase teamwork and the ...


18

The meta question here would be "what's a good place to do something private at work". Could be meds, could be a personal phone call, could be attending to a bodily need, could be doing your yoga. The answer depends on what you have available. Options are Grab a conference or meeting room. Some work places have "phone booths" which are specifically ...


16

One thing no one else seems to mention when discussing the issue of noise in an open office environment is: Management chose to put you into a sub-optimal situation. They are therefore choosing less productivity. Therefore the first thing to do is to stop worrying about the fact that you could do more under better circumstances. When circumstances aren't ...


15

It is not -- Cost. Employee compensation is far more than office rental costs Yes it is, in ~90% of the cases. The thing is you get a monthly bill for office space. Wasted time due to sub optimal work conditions is hard to track and to account for. Misbeliefs that open-space offices are more efficient. There are people that are more efficient in an ...


14

You need to ask that the lights be turned on. It's affecting your health. People will grumble, but this is a work environment, and people work with the lights on. Not saying people won't grumble. You should bring it up with your management and ask that 'reasonable accommodations' be made.


13

Is it acceptable to eat nuts in an open-plan office? I would answer this with a question. Is it acceptable to eat at your desk at all, do you see other folks doing this? If so, then yes in general it should be fine. If not, I would probably refrain from eating at my desk at all. These "open office" plans are open to issues that come from folks that eat ...


13

You might want to start by treating them as co-workers and peers rather than someone you need to "take on" or "cope with". Just treat them as you would anyone else. Be friendly and helpful. Respect them and expect respect in return. And stop worrying about whatever games they play. Do your work and let their managers/supervisors worry about how much work ...


12

How do I tactfully ask a colleague to not take extended phone calls in our open plan office? You don't, you either tackle the problem directly, or you mind your own business and let those who's job it is to enforce the no calls in open areas policies enforce them. Or you complain to those whose role it is to enforce the rules. If you tackle it directly ...


11

Biology rules in this case. You can always get a heater or put on more clothes if you are too cold, but the options are limited if you're too hot, and that's how you can begin to approach it. I'm sorry, Dave, but it's just too hot in here for us. I'm sorry if you're uncomfortable, but you can put on a jacket or sweater while we can't do anything to cool ...


11

@Borgh I work with a few really nosy people. Like they'll stand behind you without you knowing and read your email over your shoulder. – PascLeRasc 1 min ago This complicates matters. I assume that they are also the people who will happily dive into the depths of your personal health problems? i'd suggest getting one of those nondescript containers with ...


9

It's a job for HR. As this sounds like a widespread practice, not limited to one or two people, I'd suggest it's a job for HR to alert people and create and communicate a policy to the staff in general. So I'd suggest discretely contacting HR and asking of they could e.g. email all staff (which would be anonymous from your point of view) requesting them to ...


8

I've raised this issue with my manager and he agrees that it's a problem and he'll raise with the CEO. This is the correct thing to do. There's an issue, you raise it with your manager. That's all you should do. There are now three possibilities: There's a general agreement that this team is too loud. Words are had, things improve. There's no agreement ...


8

I work in a cubical work space and as far as people taking med's most just have them in their desk and take them when they need them. No one complains and its never been something people scoff over so I would say its fine to just take your med's at your desk. That said I am also diabetic and I take insulin shots so I often take my syringe and bottles into ...


7

Cost. Employee compensation is far more than office rental costs The problem is that your employee headcount can be scaled up and down easily, but your office space can not. Our company employee count is steadily growing over the past few years. Unfortunately our buildings stay the same. So it gets more and more crowded. Offices planned for two people get ...


6

I have a nice set of custom in-ear headphones. Noise isolation without resorting to full-on noise-cancellation. The visual of employees wearing big headphones when visitors/clients come through is not a good thing (in some organizations). To keep focus, I work in 25-minute blocks using a modified Pomodoro technique. It's an easy way to keep focus on ...


6

I am working in a company that moved 3 times. We had 2 different setup : 5-6 people per office. This seems to work fine. It was a team per office (SW team in one office, HW team in another, etc). all in one big office (current setup). This setup is bad (in my opinion). The sales people are very noisy. People are walking by. Distraction all over. Try to ...


6

When I'm working at a client's office and a group discussion happens near my work area I simply stand up and say (with a big smile) "Gentlemen, go away, go away! I'm trying to put bugs in here." while simultaneously make shooing away motions with my hands.


5

In general terms I would say yes it's acceptable, what I would potentially do though is before you open up the packet/tub/whatever of nuts is ask the people in your immediate vicinity if any of them have a severe allergy if you want to err on the safe side.


5

Get a white noise generator. generally a static sound that can be a bit annoying for 10 min or so but after you will rarely notice it being there but will definitely notice when it is not. I have worked in places that have them and those that do not and definitely prefer to work where they are using them. It works great because it tricks your mind into ...


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