I share a very small office with a coworker and good friend. We are separated only by a partition. She has a very loud voice and when I’m on the phone, my callers can hear her. We’ve talked about it and she is always sorry and says she’ll try to do better. But it keeps happening. What can I do?
A.Good for you for talking to her about it instead of suffering in silence, so to speak. Looks like you’ll need to do it again. Acknowledge that you know she’s sorry and that she’s trying, but tell her that her best efforts aren’t solving this very real business problem. Get her on your problem-solving team. Ask her to help you brainstorm practical solutions to minimize the sound of her voice to you and your callers. Don’t let it end with her promise to try. She did. It didn’t work. You may need to look at ways to rearrange the desks in your workspaces so that you are facing opposite directions and the noise is directed outward. Depending on office policy, maybe you could place attractive – and sound-absorbing – wall hangings on either side of your partition. If all else fails, develop a friendly signal between you when you’re on the phone. Toss a paper streamer or a piece of (soft) candy over the partition so she knows when she really needs to keep it down.