How to Shut Your Noisy Co-Worker Up (Nicely)

How to Shut Your Noisy Co-Worker Up (Nicely)

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Although most of us would love to work in an isolated corner office or at a quiet desk free from distraction, the modern office environment leaves little room for privacy. While open office plans and thin cubicle walls may allow for more camaraderie and collaboration during the workday, it only takes one noisy employee to ruin everyone's focus.

When a loud co-worker is interfering with your capacity to meet deadlines or have a discreet talk with clients, it's time to speak up. Experts weigh in here on the best ways to approach the problem, and how to ensure your working relationship stays strong after things have quieted down.

Start by asking yourself how bad the problem really is, says Robyn Dizes, manager of Career Development Services at Peirce College in Philadelphia. It's important that your managers know you're a team player, and coexisting in the workplace with people who might occasionally be too loud is just part of the job.

"It's the workplace. Not everyone is going to talk and act the way you want them to," Dizes says. "We all have to live together in harmony, and more than likely you're going to have to find a way to compromise."

It's important to try to solve the problem yourself before taking your concerns to management, she explains, and how you approach the initial conversation is crucial.

It's best to start with a friendly but direct one-on-one chat, says Joe Utecht, crisis response manager with Ceridian LifeWorks. When you start the conversation, Utecht recommends favoring the word "I" over the word "you," so as not to seem accusatory.

"Say to them, 'I just want to mention this concern that I have had. I was speaking to someone on the phone the other day, and they could hear some background noise when we were talking, and I think that's coming through in my conversations. I just wanted to let you know."