Marie's Answer: Noise in the office is a common complaint. Negotiating a solution can be tricky, but here are a few suggestions.
• When discussing the problem, don’t rant and rave about your raucous co-workers. Just focus on the business problem. Example: "Since we moved to this area, I find it very hard to concentrate because of the noise. I know that I would be more productive in quieter surroundings."
• Changing your location may be easier than changing their behavior. Background noise bothers some people more than others, so a less distractible co-worker might be willing to swap. Or your manager may be able to engineer a trade.
• If relocation is not an option, ask your boss to talk with the other department heads about toning down the yelling and speakerphones. These are habits that can be changed. As for the drama queen, politely request that she lower her voice.
If all else fails, try to preserve your sanity by using an iPod, headphones or a white-noise machine to screen out the chaos.