Re: Quiet workplace

Subject: Re: Quiet workplace
From: "Chuck Martin" <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>
To: techwr-l
Date: Mon, 1 Mar 2004 15:41:56 -0800

"Anonymous" <anonfwd -at- raycomm -dot- com> wrote in message news:230543 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> In my current job I find myself in a rather noisy part of the office,
> sandwiched between a common area, a high-traffic corridor, and the
> mail-sorting area. I'm finding it increasingly difficult to
> concentrate on my work, and I'm feeling stressed by the mechanical
> noises and casual conversations going on around me. My manager seems
> satisfied with my performance, but I know I could do better, both in
> terms of quality and quantity. Apart from the noise and from being
> somewhat underpaid, I enjoy my job and the people I work with very
> much.
> So far my complaints to my manager and the manager of HR have fallen
> on deaf ears, so to speak. I'm the only writer at my company, so it's
> possible they don't understand what writers need. Or maybe I'm
> atypical in my need for quiet. Before I make a formal request for a
> quieter location, I'd like to gather some information about the
> conditions other technical writers work in. Am I alone in needing a
> relatively quiet place to work? How have others (especially lone
> writers like me) succeeded in negotiating for a quiet workspace? When
> applying for a new job, how do writers assess the suitability of their
> future working environment?

First of all. Moving costs money. It costs the time of the IT people who
have to get connections set up in a new workspace. It costs your time, time
taken away from productivity. If your manager is satisfied with yoru work,
he or she may not think the investment is worth any improvement. If you
could find a way to document how the quality and/or quality of your work
would increase by getting into a quieter environment and quantify your
results with dollars (do you know the fully-loaded cost of an hour of yoru
time?), you cna have a much better chance.

You're not "alone" in wanting quiet space. But just as many people work
effectively in boistrous environments. For me, I've found that I can really
focus in on what I'm doing and mentally tune out noise, to the point where
someone might have to call my name 2 or 3 times and where my peripheral
vision ceases to exist and someone could be standing right next to me and I
woulnd't notice.

There are times when I crank up the tunes (through earphones of course) and
let the beat push me even faster through my work.

If your manager worked before with a TW like me, that is bothered almost not
at all by surrounding cacaphony, they they may not believe that others, such
as you, might work more effectively in a different environment.

Are you on *very* good terms with your IT person? If so, you may be able to
pull off a "stealth" move. If there's a free space that isn't slated for
anyone else, isn't "above" your position, and doens't take you away from
where you need to be, you might be able to work with your IT person to
simply move, doing most of the work yourself on your own time. If your
company culture doesn't have a problem with that, then the cost to the
company would be minimal.

If you have an otherwise good relationship with yoru manager and the company
culture allows it, you could also pull of something similar. Identify where
you want to go, then tell your manager "I see such-and-such a workspace is
over and I think it's just perfect for me. I want to work with [IT person}
tomorrow night to move into that space. Are you OK with that?" Don't even
mention noise.

Chuck Martin
User Assistance & Experience Engineer
twriter "at" sonic "dot" net

"I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. The day
may come when the courage of Men fail, when we forsake our friends and
break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day! This day, we fight!"
- Aragorn

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you."
- Gandalf

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