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Rein in chattiness

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

Socializing in the workplace should be accepted—and encouraged. It’s good for morale and teamwork. That said, when you have a co-worker whose chattiness is affecting productivity, nip it in the bud with this advice:

Meet privately. Say: “I’ve noticed you spending a great deal of time chatting with co-workers. I encourage socializing and want you to have friendships here at work, but I am concerned it’s hurting your performance and/or distracting others.”

Offer specific evidence. If chatty employees’ performance isn’t up to par, explain how they could improve if they focused more on the work and less on socializing.

Ask employees to be more mindful. Some employees don’t realize how much time they spend on non-work-related activities. Ask them to monitor how much time they devote to socializing. That awareness alone may change the behavior.

Assign more work. If their work is stellar, and they still have time to gab all day, you need to offer more work or more challenging assignments. Say: “You are doing a great job. We obviously can make better use of your time. I’d like you to take on …”

— Adapted from “How to Manage an Overly Chatty Employee,” Alison Green, The Biz Journals, www.bizjournals.com.

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