AFP – Many offices are now open-plan, which means that staff have to share their workspace. But this situation can hinder their ability to focus on work, especially when surrounded by ‘loud labourers’, who use all kinds of ploys to draw attention to the fact that they’re working.
“Loud labourers” are those workers who contribute, consciously or unconsciously, to the theatre of productivity.
They overplay their productivity by bashing away loudly at their computer keyboards, responding within seconds to the slightest email, or complaining loud and clear that they’re just so busy.
They also attend all the meetings and like to pace the office with a noisy, determined step.
And therein lies the problem with ‘loud labourers’.
They are often a nuisance to those around them, as revealed by a recent survey from the job search site Monster. Two-thirds of employees believe that working alongside ‘loud labourers’ has a negative impact on their ability to focus on work, and 44 per cent said it decreased their productivity.
But that’s not the only drawback. Productivity theatrics contribute to comparisons between colleagues, undermining team cohesion and creating a poor working atmosphere.
Some 53 per cent of working people surveyed by Monster believe that ‘loud labourers’ negatively impact office culture, while 42 per cent say they even affect morale.
THE NEED TO FEEL SECURE
In this context, many working people are reluctant to work directly with ‘loud labourers’.
They are afraid of failing to assert themselves when faced with these particularly demonstrative personalities, and of not reaping the rewards of their work. A quarter of employees say they would talk to their line manager if they were teamed up with a “loud labourer.”
A similar proportion of respondents would do nothing. Some might find it tempting to stand back and let their domineering colleague do all the work. But this strategy doesn’t always bear fruit.
There’s no need to flirt with insubordination to avoid bragging about your own commitment or accomplishments. Moreover, there are plenty of other ways to highlight your commitment to work and office life without going to extremes, such as “dual promotion.”
Although loud labourers often manage to fool their superiors, they find it difficult to do so in the long term. Playing the overworked employee requires a lot of energy. You have to be on your toes to stay in your role and not be relegated to the background by a particularly motivated new recruit.
This fear of being found out can become a source of stress and anxiety, leading to burnout.
So why do loud labourers feel the need to behave in this way? Is it a question of personality?
To a certain extent, yes. Some people like to put themselves forward in a professional context to look good to their colleagues or get promoted.
But the company also has a role to play. It has a duty to create a climate of trust in which employees don’t feel they have to outdo each other to be appreciated.
The more secure they feel, the less likely they are to feel the need to be loud labourers.