God, he has been talking loudly on his phone for 20 minutes now. How can I concentrate on my task in this noise? This is a familiar monologue often heard both in traditional offices and in coworking spaces. The unfortunate truth is that there are always the obnoxious people who do not care about the public work environment and believe that the whole space is theirs and theirs only.
Dealing with these people has two different approaches. One is to try to solve the problem and rid the whole place of the extra noise. This approach might even earn you a few pats on the back and the appreciation of your other coworkers. The other method is to try to adapt to the situation and take some measures to be able to focus on your word despite the noise.
The community approach to dealing with noisy coworkers
Try to talk it out
Sometimes honesty is really the best policy. The person talking too loudly and disrupting the space’s workflow might not even be aware of doing something wrong. On these occasions, a gentle reminder can do the trick. But these matters should be handled delicately and discreetly because you don’t want to create unwanted tension in the workplace.
Therefore, to avoid the awkwardness, you might want to invite the loud person for coffee in the coworking cafeteria and gently inform them that they are disrupting your work. Just remember this crucial point: you must keep calm and be as gentle and positive as possible.
Talk to the coworking space manager
Sometimes, all the positive attitudes in the world cannot keep the situation from accelerating. On these occasions, you need to elicit the help of a person with authority. This person could easily be the manager or supervisor in the coworking space. The person in charge can exert the power necessary to keep the place as quiet and peaceful as possible.
Talk to the manager privately and ask him/her to do the same with the noisy person. The key in these matters is to do everything as peacefully as possible and explain the situation. You can start by clarifying the coworking space’s rules and mentioning that there are special spaces you can use while talking on the phone.
Sometimes an alliance with the other coworkers is the answer to our problems. You can arrange a meeting with the manager of the coworking space and all the other regular clients to address the issue. In this meeting, you can talk about the most significant problems you are facing and suggest a solution. The most practical solution is to allocate a specific section of the coworking space to people who need to work in complete quiet. In the other areas, people can be free to talk and make a moderate amount of noise. But the quiet zone can be for workers who need concentration.
Set some rules
This step also involves cooperation with the manager of the coworking space. You can set an individual meeting with the manager to go over the rules of the coworking space and revise them if necessary. These rules must include keeping quiet in the communal working spaces. You can also set a rule against talking on the phone in the office area. These rules can indirectly show the loud person that he/she is disrupting the workplace and should respect the other members of the coworking space too.
You can design posters and banners to put up in the different areas of the coworking space. These posters can remind people that this is a public area and should not be treated like a home or a private office. Having these posters all around can remind people to keep their phone conversations out of the office area.
One of the best ways of dealing with a loud coworker is to look like you are busy working! If the loud person frequently engages you in conversation and tries to attract your attention by relaying the latest news or gossip, just ignore it.
After some time, the person will probably get the clues and stop talking to you. Using this technique, you can kill two birds with one stone. First, you will not be considered part of the guilty, noise-making party. And second, you will stop the person from distracting you and your coworkers.
Remember that you do not need to be harsh or loud. Adding extra noise to the environment does not help anybody, especially your concentration. Instead, you can just keep your eyes glued to the screen and your hands flying on the keyboard to show that this is not the time for a friendly little chat, and you have your break time for that.
The private approach to dealing with noisy coworkers
Invest in noise-canceling headphones
Sometimes the level of the noise and the number of the noise makers is just too high for you to be able to make a change. In these situations, the best way to cope with a noisy workplace is to adapt before you die. Noise-canceling technology has grown a lot in the last few years. You can buy a pair of noise-canceling headphones or earplugs to get rid of all the unwanted noise in your workplace. What’s more, if you are capable of listening to music and focusing at the same time, these headphones can make your life so much easier.
Invest in a private room
Coworking spaces usually give you the option of working in a shared office space and a private office. These private offices come with a valuable bonus called a door which you can close whenever you want to work in peace and quiet.
You might have to pay an extra amount for the private room, but eventually, the increased productivity you will experience is completely worth it. What’s more, whenever you feel the public room is quiet enough and the isolation is bothering you, you can always switch back to the shared space.
Move your desk
One of the best points about a coworking space is that your desk is not fixed, and you can move desks whenever you want. Moving desks always gives you the chance to meet new people and form new connections. But it also allows you to get away from the connections you do not enjoy working in close proximity to.
If you want to find a place that suits your needs and desires the best, you can make sure that you arrive at the coworking space earlier than others in the morning to find a seat that suits you best. And whenever you see that your energy and concentration are waning, just find another free desk and settle down.
Working n proximity to a group of strangers with different behaviors can become annoying at times. It usually takes a long time to get used to the people around you and their personalities. This issue might even become more significant in a coworking space where people come and go all the time.
Dealing with the problem of noisy coworkers has two main approaches. You can take control of the situation from a managerial standpoint and try to fix the problem for everybody in the office. One of the best ways to deal with noisy coworkers is to establish some rules against speaking loudly when everybody else is busy working.
The other method of managing loud people at the office is to adapt yourself to the noise and take yourself away from the situation. You can do this by using some headphones or moving to a remote corner where you are not exposed to unwanted noise. At the end of the day, adapting to a work environment is one of the most critical skills anybody professional must learn during their career.