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Noise Non-stop Talkers Atmosphere

There is a person in our office who is always talking out loud about the chores she is completing, whether she is filing papers, entering data on the computer, or rearranging her desk. It is a little distracting, and a little strange, and we are not sure if we should say something. What do you think?

When you have a co-worker who feels a need to provide a running commentary on her day's activities, there is no automatic step to take. Your actions will best be determined by what you are actually seeing and hearing from her.

On the one hand, if you have a generally friendly, communicative, and productive working relationship with her, you can tell her that this aspect of her behavior is a little distracting. There are some overly oral people who know that they can occasionally jump off the verbal deep end, and some constructive feedback can help them bring this under control. Her reaction to this feedback will tell you if any further action is needed.

At the same time, if your working relationship is not great, if you have any fears about approaching her, or if your productive feedback is not well received, then you should discuss the situation with your manager. Management is typically interested in taking action on any issues that may be distracting or disturbing to the employees, and it sounds like this is such an issue.

It is interesting to note that people can block out all sorts of background noise at work. With this in mind, since you describe her constant commentary as "a little distracting," perhaps you can do a little blocking out.

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Reader comments

Posted by Amy on 2011-11-28 06:51:56
I used to work with someone who prattled endlessly, and not about work. She also asked me a lot of questions about myself just to get me talking and keep things going. I finally told her that I needed to think about my work and her chatter was distracting. She apologized and kept quiet, though I could tell it was difficult for her. I have had other chatty coworkers who were completely hopeless, and I had to just walk away. They didn't even seem to notice my absence.