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Too loud co-worker

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Question: We have three offices in our building and each office has a secretary.  One of our secretaries is a wonderful person but is too loud.  When I am around her, her laughter is so loud it hurts my ears.  It is disruptive to those working nearby and actually embarrassing when visitors are in the office.   Her immediate supervisor has skirted around the issue without addressing it directly, so she really has no idea what the problem actually is.  How can I help her and ease the pain on our eardrums?  -- Anonymous


I think the best way is the honest way - but be tackful! If you don't have it in you to do that -you may want to have Human Resources talk to her.

You didn't say when she seemed to be the loudest. Is it always or just when she has "visitors"? We had a similar situation in our office and were able to quiet it down immensely, by breaking up the group that we always referred to as "party central". You can't believe the difference it made, just by moving one person to another floor! If that's not an option in your office, someone (probably her supervisor)needs to go one-on-one with her and let her know her volume level is disturbing to other workers. Maybe she isn't aware of the issue.

Is it just loud laughter or is the coworker always loud? Many years ago I worked with a man who spoke & laughed at ear-shattering volume. He did not think he was loud, and it turned out that he had an unacknolwedged hearing problem. Could that be a possibility with your coworker?

Has anyone asked if this person has a hearing impairment? I wear 2 hearing aids, and yes, I am loud. I try not to be loud but I need to hear what I am saying. Some people shush me occasionally and that is ok with me. Be compassionate toward this person, she may not be able to help it.

First of all, I agree with the other postings and that is to make sure this person does not, perhaps unknowingly, have a hearing issue.

Absent that, I would address this person in a way that will let them know that the position they hold may contain some confidential information and it is therefore important that they hold their conversations down as to not disclose this confidential information. If this person is a secretary, I am sure this will apply.

And in addition to that, I would let this person know that the office is a place for professionalism and speaking loudly does not fall within this definition and that they will need to make an effort to bring their voice level back to that of a professional. This will then make it a performance issue that needs improvement over time.

I've had a couple on incident at work and wasn't sure how to address them, I decided to approach the person and asked them how did they feel about constructive critizism, once they told me they were okay with the helpful information, I talked to them regarding the information and they were very grateful, they never wanted to do anything that made the company look bad.

This approach should also be handle based on the age of the person, the younger generation isn't as open when you are offering them help. Also, maybe there is a friend of the individual that could approach them with the information.

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