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Resolving issues with annoying co-workers

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in Your Office Coach

Question: “I sit next to a woman who spends a good portion of her day typing e-mails to friends and co-workers.  Sometimes these messages are a page long. This person and I have a history of communication issues. Our supervisor even said that our problems have been a distraction for the team. The relationship seems somewhat better now, so I don’t want to rock the boat. But she keeps typing, typing, typing, and it’s getting a little irritating.  How do I handle the sound of this typing all day long, especially when I’m trying to concentrate on my work?” —  Tired of the Sound

Marie’s Answer: If your colleague was playing music or talking on a speakerphone, you might have a legitimate complaint. However, computer typing is normal office background noise.  

I suspect that the real problem is not the typing, but your feelings about this woman. Because of past conflicts, you’re primed to be annoyed by almost anything she does. So consider this question: If a friend was typing reports in the next cubicle, would you find that equally irritating?  If not, then you need to work on your attitude.

And by the way, if you’re concentrating on your own work, how do you know what she’s writing?  

For some Office Coach advice on resolving coworker issues, check out The Best Way to Complain About Coworkers.

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