With a bunch people crammed into a small space, the office situation canAngry coworkers yellingbe filled with distractions.  While you might be blessed with a good crop of coworkers, nothing can be worse than sharing such a small space with somebody that you can’t stand; it’s disruptive, and makes it almost impossible for you to focus on the task of hand.  If you’ve got a problem with a coworker, I recently came across an article that shares some tips on how to deal with an annoying person in the office:

1. Set a good example: Before you try to blame somebody, find out how you can set a good example yourself; if you need to do something that could be distracting, move it to a private area of the office.  When any co-worker starts noisily engaging you, suggest moving the conversation to a private area.  This behavior could encourage more disruptive colleagues to improve.

2. Find your silence: One of the best way to deal with the distractions in your work is to mask them.  Bring a pair of headphones or earbuds to the office and listen to music or white noise while you work.  This will shut out the noise while signaling to a chatty coworker that you aren’t free to talk.  If you don’t have any distractions at home, you may want to consider working from home as often as possible.  You could even sync your telecommuting schedule so that you’re only in the office when the problem coworker is out.

3. Observe others: Before you take the situation any further with a disruptive person, look at how others in the office react to them.  Are you the only one who is bothered by this person, or do others seem to be annoyed by them as well?  If somebody is creating a distraction for multiple employees, management will likely want to hear about this.

4. Speak to the employee: Sometimes, the direct approach is the best.  While this won’t work with everybody, just ask the person to stop.  This could mean asking them to be quiet when you’re on a phone call, or saying “I need to get to work now” when they get too much.  To avoid embarrassment, speak in a voice that can only be heard by yourself and the other person.

5. Talk to your supervisor: When all else fails, talk to your supervisor about the person.  Focus on how the behavior is affecting your work performance, and avoid anything that could make this issue seem personal.  Ask your supervisor how you should proceed, especially if the other employee has a different supervisor.