Ever find that your workday does not go as smoothly as planned? No, we’re not talking about the emergency meeting called at 4:45 PM or your hard drive that crashed five minutes before a project deadline. We’re talking about those colleagues that drop by to chat about everything from their kid’s latest triumph in little league to the latest Hollywood scandal.
In a recent poll across the Nexxt Network of more than 15,000 niche career communities that asked, “What is the most time consuming distraction at work?” more than 42% of more than 8,700 business professionals, said that talkative colleagues are the biggest distraction in the workplace.
So, if so many professionals are affected by chatty colleagues, there has to be some solution to stay focused and productive.
For those of us who suffer, here’s the good news and bad news—there isn’t just one clear cut solution. Below you’ll find some easy ways to let a talkative coworker down easily and avoid other distractions at work. So take your pick and figure out what works best for your particular situation. And who knows, if a chatty colleague reads this they might take the hint and save you the effort by changing their ways on their own. So, feel free to share this article!
• Work on Flex Time – Consider arriving at work early or staying late to avoid distractions. Not only will you have some “quality time” to get organized and get things done, you can also avoid some traffic on your commute to and from work.
• Close Your Door or Hang a Sign - A closed door sends a signal. Don’t have a door? Hang a sign to let your colleagues know you prefer not to be disturbed.
• Grab Your Headphones - Sport your headphones (even if you’re not listening to any music). This is a good deterrent that shows coworkers that you’re making an attempt to not be distracted by blocking out anything else that’s going on in the office.
• Avoid Instant Messaging- Many offices use instant messaging in order to increase productivity in the workplace. However, instant messaging can become highly-distracting, especially when folks use this as a means to chat or gossip. Think of how many times your instant messages were personal or weren’t urgent. When you are under a deadline or have a lot of work to do, think about temporarily closing down your instant messaging. If it’s urgent, someone will know how to reach you.
• Forward Calls to Voice Mail- How many times have you been in the middle of a project and you get interrupted by a phone call? Even though it is important to be responsive, from time-to-time, it is acceptable to forward your calls directly to voice mail to avoid interruptions.
• Check Email Messages Less Frequently- Do you find yourself checking your email messages every few minutes or feel that you need to respond to an email message as soon as you receive it? To avoid unnecessary disruptions, consider checking emails every half-hour or hour and prioritize your responses based upon level of urgency.
• Be a Team Player - Being a team player is a great quality to have. So in order to stay productive ask for help. When you find yourself in a situation where you are going to be talking to a colleague that likes to chat, ask another co-worker to be on the lookout and politely request your assistance in order to eloquently end a conversation.
• Work from Home - Do you find that you are more productive when you work in the privacy of your own home? If you answered yes, then telecommuting or asking to work from home from time-to-time might be a good option for you. Working from home, but making yourself available via email or phone, is a great way to avoid the idle chatter you experience when you are in the office.
When dealing with talkative colleagues and avoiding disruptions, the most important thing is to stay professional. It’s easy to tell a friend or family member when they are being bothersome; however it can sometimes get more complicated in the workplace. For more career-related tips and resources, please visit our Career Resources
Content for this article provided by The Nexxt Network