July 13, 2011

Annoying Office Issues


My office shares a common wall with a small conference room.

Until recently, this wasn't a big problem, as the conference room was used only sparingly and often by me.  But lately, we've had a flurry of hiring activity that left us with lots more people, and contractors permanently occupying one of our other conference rooms.  And so there are many more meetings next door, and unfortunately, many which involve conference calls - some of which are very loud.

The worst part of it is that when these offices were constructed, they apparently neglected to insulate the walls between the offices, so I can hear pretty much everything that is said in a loud voice.

I've spoken with the people in charge of office maintenance, asking that they put up some sort of sound insulation, but they indicate that "there's nothing we can do".  Translated, that means that they don't consider it worth spending money to fix the problem.  Oh well.

Although I try not to listen, I've already overheard a few embarrassing phone calls. And the conference calls with customers can be particularly annoying.

So I printed the picture above and posted it on the conference room wall.  Perhaps that will help.

This article originally appeared in my blog: All Things Quality
My name is Joe Strazzere and I'm currently a Director of Quality Assurance.
I like to lead, to test, and occasionally to write about leading and testing.
Find me at http://strazzere.blogspot.com/.


  1. I empathize. When one is trying to concentrate (which is what we do all day, isn't it?), it's especially difficult when distracting noises abound. I finally gave in and got headphones. I avoided this for a long time, so that people wouldn't have to call my name over and over, with the appearance that I was ignoring them. However, the noisy distractions became too much ...so headphones it is.

  2. Thanks, Laura.

    I've long believed that the most effective thing you can do toward increasing productivity for a knowledge worker is to provide a distraction-free environment.

    Open/shared office spaces, cubicles, and noisy offices all detract from concentrating and being "in the zone" (at least for me).

  3. I can related it with workstation noise, and the solution; indeed headphone. Let us know if poster helps, we may also try that.

  4. Thanks, Tarun.

    I will let you know if the poster had the desired effect or not.

  5. So far - still hearing more than I'd like to hear through the wall I share with the conference room.

    I have ways to minimize the distraction like not being in my office too much, putting on headphones, etc.

    Still, I'd be a happier (and likely more productive?) camper if the company would cough up just a few dollars to put up some sound insulation. Doesn't look like that's in the cards, though. Oh well.