In the office world, it isn’t unusual to overhear conversations. Often even with a closed office door, sound travels and can be distracting.
A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, discovered that hearing just one side of a conversation is much more distracting than hearing both sides and reduces our attention in other tasks, according to this article in Science Daily (worth reading how the scientists conducted the actual experiment).
Additionally, it isn’t just distracting to those eavesdropping, but to those trying not to listen.
So what’s a poor office worker supposed to do? When it is appropriate, take the conversation outside or to a different room, particularly if it is personal. If you are lucky enough to have an office door, close it. Above all else, consider your volume.
A little respect for those around you can go a long way. Who knows? Maybe by seeing your example, your co-workers will follow suite.