Dealing with Noisy NeighborsIt's hard to be focused in productive in offices today. Not only do you have to overcome the intellectual coffin that is the modern cubicle, you have to deal with the strange and unruly natives who occupy the adjacent spaces.  If you've ever sat next to Bill from Sales while he makes call after back-slapping, glad-handing call, you know what I'm talking about.

Fortunately, there are ways to deal with loud cubemates. Among my favorites:

  • Headphones: Listening to music is a great way to drown out the outside world. Not only does it mask the office chaos, some studies show it increases productivity and concentration.
  • Ear Plugs: And you thought they were just for cross country plane rides with seemingly possessed children. Ear plugs are a great way to turn down the volume on the office bustle.
  • Talk About It: Have an open and honest discussion about the noise level with your neighbor. They may not even be aware they talk so loudly. Once they are, conscientious people will alter their behavior for the greater good of the workspace.
  • Involve Your Boss: Explain to your supervisor how your current environment is really killing your productivity. You may be able to move to another cube, work from home, or find some other creative solution.

Even though Robert Propst rues the day he unleashed them upon us, cubicles - and their occupants - are here to stay.  Hopefully, these tips will help you navigate the distractions and concentrate on what matters most.

-- Chad Broadus