Ask the Insider columnist Ashley Lutz answers all your work-related questions, including the awkward, sensitive, and real-world ones. Have a question? Email [email protected]
I work at an ad agency. Our company is great to work for, except for the office plan. We work in an open-office environment with no “quiet spaces” or refuge from the constant conversations, thumping bass of the ever-on music, or barking dogs (yes, we even have dogs, I really shouldn’t complain.) My headphones don’t block the noise well enough and I don’t want to spend upwards of $200 on a decent noise-cancelling pair, nor do I think that it is reasonable that I should have to. The other offices around the country are much calmer and quieter.
The constant noise in my office makes it very difficult for me to concentrate. My job requires a lot of writing, which I prefer to do in very quiet places. I am the only person in my role and department in my company and I do not expect things to change simply on my account since everyone else (30 or so employees) seems to tolerate the environment without issue. I love my job and want to do it well but I cannot hear myself think! What would you do?
Hating My Noisy Office
Open offices are great for cutting costs, fostering communication, and keeping everyone connected. But my inbox shows that many professionals are frustrated with the host of distractions that come along with this arrangment.
Common complaints include loud eating sounds, overpowering perfume, fear of catching illness, and some unsavoury hygiene habits that distract from work.
Your best bet here is to buy those noise-cancelling headphones. From my research, these start at about $50. This pair of Sony headphones with great reviews costs $127.
Yes, it is an expensive investment, but spending less than $150 to significantly improve your mood and concentration at work is worth it.
Short of moving to a new office or getting a new job, you aren’t going to escape the noise. I’d also recommend against complaining about this to the higher-ups. It seems that everyone else is happy with this office environment, and taking away the music and dogs could make them resent you.
Buying headphones is an easy solution that will pay dividends for your productivity and mental health.
Ashley Lutz is a senior editor at Business Insider answering all your questions about the workplace. Send your queries to [email protected] for publication on Business Insider. Requests for anonymity will be granted, and questions may be edited.
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