Let’s not pull any punches here, no one wants to work near loud, disruptive, annoying, obnoxious coworkers – it’s hell.
Bit of an understatement, right?
But sometimes, it’s unavoidable.
I’ve been there myself, I know firsthand how annoying and distracting it can be trying to work near a loudmouth.
To help you manage loud and annoying coworkers in your workspace, here are my best tips for dealing with loud, disruptive coworkers.
How to Deal With Loud, Disruptive Coworkers – 11 Tips
1. Get to Know the Loud Coworker
If you can find a way to get to know your loud coworker, it’ll be easier to deal with them.
You might even find that they’re not as loud or annoying as you first thought, or that once you’re cordial with each other they take your feelings into account.
But even if you don’t become friends with them, getting to know them will help you understand why they act the way they do and make it easier to deal with them.
2. Don’t Raise Your Voice or Compete with Them
This one is tough, but try not to match their volume or get into a shouting match with them.
It’ll only escalate the situation and make it harder for you to concentrate and make progress with them in the future.
Instead, when talking to them keep your voice low.
If you’re struggling to hold conversations with other people, simply say something like, “Sorry, it’s hard to hear you with the background noise, I’ll have to get back to you.”
3. Ask Your Coworker if You Do Anything Disruptive or Annoying
This tip is a bit of a gamble, but it might be worth asking them if you do anything disruptive or annoying.
You never know, this might be what opens up their eyes to what you’re dealing with when they start to think about things that might be annoying.
Of course, there’s always the chance that they’ll list a few things that you do that annoy them – that’s typical of someone who is self-absorbed in their own world!
4. Bring up The Topic of How Distractions in The Office Are Annoying
If you want to take a more direct approach, you can bring up the topic of how distractions in the office are annoying.
This is best done in a group setting with other people who are annoyed by the loud coworker.
When bringing it up, try to be as objective as possible and avoid attacking the loud coworker directly.
For example, you could say something like “I find it difficult to concentrate when people are talking loudly nearby, has anyone else experienced this?”
5. If They Still Don’t Get It, Tell Them (nicely) They’re a Bit Loud Sometimes
If the loud coworker still doesn’t seem to be getting the message, you can always tell them (nicely) that they’re a bit loud sometimes.
You might want to avoid doing this if you think it’ll lead to an argument or escalate the situation, but if you think it’ll get through to them then go for it!
Something like, “I know you’re not trying to be loud, but sometimes it’s a bit much and it makes it difficult for me to concentrate” should do the trick.
6. Wear Headphones to Block out Their Noise
If all else fails, you can always wear headphones to try and block out their noise if this is allowed in your workplace.
This isn’t the most ideal solution as it means you’re not able to interact as well with your coworkers, but it’s better than nothing!
Plus, it’ll help you concentrate and get your work done.
Wearing headphones also sends a clear message to your loud coworker that they’re annoying (I hope), it might just be the sign that makes that lightbulb go off in their heads.
7. Find out If You Can Move Location
If you can’t seem to find a way to deal with the loudness, and it’s really affecting your work, see if you can move location.
This might not be possible for everyone, but if you can it’s definitely worth considering.
It could be that there’s a quiet room you can work in, or maybe you can move to a different area of the office.
This is one of those moments where working from home looks like a really attractive proposition, doesn’t it?!
8. Have a Word with Your Boss – or Theirs
If you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to be working, it might be time to have a word with your boss.
They need to be made aware of the situation and how it’s affecting you and your work.
If it’s affecting your productivity, it’s within your boss’s best interest to do something about it – plus they have a moral and professional duty to do so!
9. Bring the Issue up With the Rest of The Office
If you’re really struggling to deal with a loud coworker, and nothing else seems to be working, you could always bring the issue up with the rest of the office.
This is a bit of a last resort as it might make things awkward, but if you’re desperate it might be worth considering.
You could do this by sending out an email to everyone or even just speaking to people individually.
Someone else might be in a better position to say something, or this might get the issue raised in a meeting – anything that’s less confrontational than you approaching them could be more effective.
10. Train Yourself to Ignore Them
This isn’t an ideal solution, but if you’ve tried various things and there is no way of stopping a coworker from being loud and disruptive, you’ll have to create a little bubble for yourself and ignore them.
Some people are better at this than others. I became pretty good at it when I had to endure an annoying person sitting on the desk next to me at my last job.
I would literally just zone out and ignore them by focusing on what I was working on and not letting them annoy me.
It didn’t always work, but it certainly made enough of a difference as to where I wasn’t feeling my patience wearing thinner throughout the day.
11. If Absolutely Nothing Works, Consider Looking for A New Job
If you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to be working, it might be time to start looking for a new job.
This is obviously a big decision, but if your loud coworker is really affecting your work and your boss and peers will not do anything about it – then it might be the best thing for you in the long run.
You don’t want to stay somewhere where you’re not happy, and if this loud coworker is making you miserable then it’s time to start thinking about your options.
Image credits – Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.