From loud yappers to pen tappers, and from burps to water slurps, nothing should be pardoned at work. Read more on how to deal with annoying people at work, especially those slurping at work and disturbing the formal environment.
Question: Hey Jane, I happen to have a colleague of mine who always, and I mean ALWAYS, goes Ahhhh after he sips his water. I think he must have descended from the worst part of hell. Every time this guy happens to sip his water, he happens to announce it to the office that he has satiated his thirst. Being a health freak he happens to drink water every 15-20 minutes, but with every darned sip, he slurps so loudly and then let goes a sigh like, ''Aaaahhh" which happens to irritate us to the core. Being in the creative field, I, along with 2 other colleagues find it extremely distracting. We thought of talking to him about it but I am not sure how to broach the subject. Oh Jane, every morning, I pray that he doesn't make it to work. We have been keeping up with this disturbance for the past 3 weeks, but no longer can we take his sighs. Plus, we are not allowed earphones, else I would have bought a good pair of noise cancellation earphones. Whenever I hear him open his bottle, I shut my ears or just leave the room. I can't keep doing it all the time. He doesn’t seem to understand that slurping at work is not acceptable. Really need some guidance on how to tackle this issue.
Answer: Dear reader, I can completely understand the scenario you so vividly described. From big-time yappers to pen tappers, I’ve come across complaints of all kind. Most people with such habits don’t realize that it causes inconvenience and irritation to people around them. They are unable to register that what they are doing is wrong or unacceptable. It comes naturally to them. But that doesn’t mean we need to up with such behavior. An effort has to be made to make them realize their faults.
The situation that you mention is a tricky one. You can’t leave the room or take a break every 15 minutes. So as a concerned HR, I suggest you report it to your immediate senior. Usually, they can come up with a way to let your employee (who happens to descend from hell) realize that such actions can disturb the office decorum.
There’s also a different way to tackle this situation. If you aren’t the only one getting distracted then you could take 2-3 of your colleagues sitting next to you and come up with a small act. What you need to do is slurp your water making the same noise your annoying colleague makes. Then let one of your hand-in-glove colleagues reprimand you or make fun of the way you have water. Be sure that when this takes place, the resident from hell is able to hear the drama clearly. This way, your message will be subtly put across. I have found this one of the most effective ways of telling people not to do something: always make someone else do it and tell them loud enough for the real culprit to hear you. Therefore allowing you not to directly deal with the person at fault but the message will also be loud and clear that slurping at work is not tolerable.