A talkative coworker can often be hamper work progress. Jane Harper advices how one can deal with such disturbance. She feels that the best thing to do is to confront them.
Hey Jane, I work in the ‘data analysis’ team at my office. I am someone who does not like to talk while working. Unfortunately, there are three colleagues who have loud voices and they keep talking on full volume. Sometimes, they come to my desk and start talking about random things. I get very annoyed and lose track of my work. This is something I cannot afford as I have to deal with numbers. I cannot be rude and ask them to go away. Plus I think that they may not appreciate such behaviour. So how do I go about avoiding them?
Also, my work station is not alongside the others. But even then, those colleagues talk so loudly that I can hear them inside. This seems to be an increasing problem. A few of the members in my team also find it disturbing. I had goofed up in-between because they were joking around near my desk. But luckily, I was able to rectify my error because I am in the habit of double checking. What do we do?
Hello Ms. Hapless! I am happy you did not ask them to go away because they could have complained about it stating that you were rude. These issues are faced by a lot of people and I often give them the same advice I am about to give you.
Look Busy! Whenever you see them approaching, you can act as if you are discussing numbers on the phone or talking to your team-mate. The minute they realise that you won’t be paying much heed to them, they will take a u-turn and won’t disturb you.
Let’s discuss this another time! If you are busy working on something important, you can always excuse yourself saying that the boss needs the work to be done urgently. You can even say that you will be getting back to them after some time because you cannot afford to get distracted.
What I mentioned above are temporary solutions to the ever-lasting problem. For a permanent solution, you could confront them that your work is being compromised. It is always better to come out with the truth. They may feel bad, but at least they will not be bothering you and you can work in peace. Apart from that, this is what I usually do when I don’t want to be disturbed. Put on your headphones or earphones while sitting at your desk. You don’t need to play any music. You can keep it in your ears so that when you see someone approaching you can either talk into it as if you are on a call or can even hum a tune.
A sure way to avoid such scenarios is to go and approach the HR as a team. Explain to your HR that the work is being compromised. The HR will surely consider your issue because they cannot let the organization’s work suffer. They might solve the issue by sending a general mail where they request others not to talk unnecessarily during work hours.
Q&A with Jane: The brutal and straightforward answers to HR-related queries and concerns. Send in your queries with the subject line ‘Ask JANE HARPER’ at firstname.lastname@example.org