Q: When my company redesigned its building, I was moved from an office to a cubicle. My noisy neighbors are making it hard to concentrate. When I complained to my boss, she said, “We’re all in the same boat.” Isn’t there something I can say or do about the racket?
A: Giving up an office for a cubicle is tough. In time, you’ll probably start tune out surrounding noise, but if the problem continues to bug you, have a word with your noisiest coworkers. State your request is a calm, direct, and tactful way: “Hey, Stacy, I’m having trouble concentrating on this proposal. I’m sure you don’t realize it, but your phone conversations are really loud. Could you keep it down a bit? I’d really appreciate it.” A few other things to try: Plug in an air filter to create your own white noise; wear earplugs or ear phones; or ask if there’s a conference room you can use when quiet concentration is a must-have.