Re: Cubicle Noise Canceling (WAS: A PDA in every pocket?)

Subject: Re: Cubicle Noise Canceling (WAS: A PDA in every pocket?)
From: Jenn Wilson <jenn -at- mylar -dot- outflux -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2005 13:17:51 -0700 (PDT)

Hi there --

Best of luck with this. Voices can be very difficult to tune out.

I've never worked in an environment where headphones are frowned upon, especially for an employee who doesn't spend much time on the phone and needs to concentrate.

If you're going to bring this up with your manager, you might consider framing it proactively and connecting it to a productivity metric -- something like, "In these past few months, the quiet environment helped me boost my productivity, and I'd really like to keep this up. My plan is to use headphones while I work. Do you have any other suggestions?"

I've been fortunate enough to have some very understanding managers. In my company's prior environment, our "cube farm" was horribly noisy, so I was able to work out an arrangement where I could work from home three or four days per month. It doesn't sound like much, but it made a nice difference for me. When I did use headphones at the office, I also set up a little mirror on my monitor, so I could tell when someone was walking up behind me.

If you've got the spare cash, you could invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. I tried some on at a store recently, and oh, how I covet them. I was quite surprised at how well they worked...

If the environment allows, you could also introduce some mild white noise at your desk -- say, a desktop fountain. Of course, your cube neighbors might curse you for inspiring extra bathroom breaks. :)


On Wed, 19 Oct 2005, Nuckols, Kenneth M wrote:

I lucked into a "real" office with a closeable door a few months ago
(had this arrangement since August) but I always knew it was a temporary
respite. In November a new manager (a recently-created position) will
begin work in the larger department in which our writing team is
embedded, and it will be back to cubicle land for me--right into an area
populated by commercial sales reps that do most of their work on the

What do most writers who have to compete with "animated" phone
conversations in the work environment do to compete with the noise? Are
headphones now generally considered "acceptable" accoutrements for the
writer in a cubicle environment? I'm hoping I'll be allowed to wear some
headphones so I can listen to "white noise" or "ambient" soundtracks to
drown the conversations, and if I get any resistance to my request it
would be nice to know what others are doing.


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Cubicle Noise Canceling (WAS: A PDA in every pocket?): From: Nuckols, Kenneth M

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