Office Etiquette? 20-40-60 answers
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Question: I work in a small-ish office space with really great people, but one or two people have some very rude habits like making phone calls on speaker phone (even when they have their own office and could shut the door), shouting a running commentary of their email Inbox/phone calls to everyone (“Uh oh! I just got an e-mail from so-and-so!”; “Guess who’s calling me now?”; “Oh no! My Inbox is full, everyone!”) and lurking around my desk because it’s in the general open area (everyone else has an office) to have long conversations or to mindlessly chit-chat with me when I’m clearly working.
There are other things, but these are my big irritants. I don’t want to be rude and I certainly am not high enough on the ladder to send out a memo or something (not to mention, that’s really not done here and one of the prime offenders is my immediate supervisor).
Do I a) keep my headphones in, grit my teeth and bare it, b) jokingly and casually hint that it’s rude, or c) come right out and tell people they’re driving me nuts? It’s a very relaxed, friendly office and we all have a great time, but I just can not comprehend that people think some of this behavior is appropriate.
Callie’s answer: I can definitely relate to this question, but there are still other offenders higher on the totum pole than you. One option would be to say “hold on a second” and finish your work that you were working on, then “sorry I had to finish that piece, what were you saying?”
The second option is to just keep your head phones in and don’t worry too much about it. Do try to engage in the office banter, when appropriate. You don’t want to be the one who is anti-social or a stick in the mud! Or you could always quit! HA! Good luck!
Lillie-Beth’s answer: It’s hard for people to know that they’re bothering you if you don’t tell them. No one is a mind-reader; you’ll have to be direct with a friendly smile. Most people I know would be apologetic and accommodating (and horrified) if they knew their behaviors were irritating. It sounds like you’re on good terms with everyone as it is.
You can nicely tell your co-workers, privately, something like, “When you do XXX, I have a hard time concentrating. Do you mind shutting the door when you take a call/being a little quieter when discussing your e-mails?” Or you could say, “I’m really swamped right now; let’s talk later.” Don’t embarrass the offender but keep your conversation low-key.
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