My Co-Workers Talk Too Much!
Featured Guest Blogger: Anthony Fasano, P.E., LEED AP, ACC
Civil Engineer, Author, Coach and Speaker
Author of Engineer Your Own Success: 7 Key Elements to Creating an Extraordinary Engineering Career (Available in May 2011)
Anthony is also the author of a FREE e-mail service for engineers called A Daily Boost from Your Professional Partner. Click here to read about this service.
You are in your office trying to complete a set of civil engineering plans or wrap up a civil engineering project proposal that has to be submitted that afternoon, but there is this one co-worker who is always coming into your office and talking to you, and not about work-related issues. Most of the time they gossip about co-workers or talk about their personal issues, a recent vacation, the game last night, or even complain about their job to you. Yes I know, camaraderie and friendship are both important aspects of teamwork and morale, but when is enough, enough; and gossiping while in the office about co-workers, how unprofessional?
I see a few options for dealing with a chatty co-worker:
Close Your Door: You can always close your door (assuming you have one). That usually helps you to stay focused on the task at hand and increase productivity. However, you risk people getting upset with you for shutting them out and disconnecting yourself from the office. You may also get a few eyebrows raised as to why your door is closed often, especially from upper level managers.
Temporarily Relocate: When I was working as a civil engineer and had to read a report or review a set of plans, I would utilize a conference room, simply to get away from distractions. Not only does this save you from the gossiping co-workers, but it also gets you away from the phone and the computer.
Ask Nicely: Another option is to ask your chatty co-worker to leave, in a nice way of course. Maybe say something like, “John, I am sorry but I really have to get this report done in the next few hours, I will stop by when I am finished.”
Can you recommend any other options?
The reason I raise this topic is because I have heard many professionals complain about working late hours, only to see them chatting a good portion of their day away. Again, I am all for building strong relationships with your co-workers and I do think you should take some time to get to know them, but where do we draw the line?
How do you maintain personal relationships with your co-workers without letting it affect your productivity?