“In most digital workplaces, there’s an unwritten understanding that when someone has headphones on, they’re not to be disturbed.”
I never knew that, having worked in offices where people wear headphones, and having worn headphones while working in offices. Offices are social places, and I assume that if people are in the office, they’re ready to talk to other people if necessary.
I’ve often worn headphones when an office is quiet and boring, or when there’s lots of distracting noise. In neither case do I expect people to avoid bothering me if they need something. I know it might put some people off, but it’s usually the case, happily, that people will wave to attract my attention, and then we can talk. Similarly, if I need to talk to someone and they’re wearing headphones, I’ll try and discretely attract their attention — they might wave a kind of “hang on” or “two minutes” signal, which is fine — but I would be surprised if they were really angry. I’d wonder why they were in the office if they didn’t want to talk to anyone, ever.
So I can see an explicit sign (or something more) would be completely necessary. Was your previous sign, including the phrase “please don’t disturb”, more effective than your natty pink one? Because, I must admit, seeing it from another person’s point of view, the pink one wouldn’t entirely warn me off from trying to talk to you. It’s nicely nicely discreet and polite and charming but I think a successful sign would need to do two things:
First, it should be completely explicit. “meg is trying to concentrate” is lovely, but from the point of view of someone approaching you, who needs to ask you something, that vagueness isn’t going to trump their need in their mind (even if to you their need seems trivial). Be more obvious about your desire to really, REALLY not have anyone talk to you right now.
Second, you should let people know when they *can* disturb you. In a sociable environment it’s going to look pretty rude and grumpy to just say “I don’t want to talk to you.” And someone who wants to ask you something is going to be frustrated if they can’t do so and have no idea when you’ll accept their presence. So something that gives the times when you’re not contactable, or that suggests they email you, or that says to come back at 3pm (or whenever) when you’ll happily chat, would help.
I’m sure there’ll be some muppets who disturb you no matter what signs, soundproofing, headgear other offices or firearms you employ, but not relying on headphones, and making the sign clearer might help.
26 July 2010.
Among all the Twittering, blogging outrage over this, I’m wondering how this axing of the UKFC is related to, or compares to, the previous government’s plans to merge the UKFC and the BFI, saving money and losing some jobs in the process. The press, and those involved, seemed reasonably positive about this at the time, from what I can tell, and I don’t recall any huge outcry at the time…?
A couple of articles from last year:
I don’t know enough about either body, or their relationship, or their history, but it would be good to have more context and reflection about the run-up to the current decision. (I’m not saying you need to provide it, just that I’d like to read some somewhere :) .) Would this have happened under Labour too? How does “axing” the UKFC compare to merging it with the BFI? Given the merger thoughts, was this axing actually seen as inevitable by those in the know (rather than clueless outraged Twitterers)?
27 July 2010.
“I don’t know about clueless outraged Twitterers, Phil - I’m sure there were plenty of those, as normal but I do hope that referring to industry sources and newspaper articles explaining the news doesn’t fall in to that territory?!”
It can do, but I’m not saying it necessarily does here :)
It’s the “I’ve read an OUTRAGEOUS article and I’m going to post an outraged tweet about it, in the hope it outrages more people” knee-jerk reaction… without the tweeter knowing any background or context for the story. Which, perhaps, may be partly the fault of whatever news article they read not providing background. But it’s also the limited thought people often give to these things.
Hell, maybe I’m wrong about this and it’s really simple and it is an outrage and there’s not much more background to the story at all. I just get the feeling it’s not as simple as it first appears.
I saw ‘Toy Story 3’ this evening and, assuming the “extended peril” sequence is the one I’m thinking of, it lasts about three seconds and is immediately followed by Buzz doing very silly and funny things. And the “zombie” doll is… well, just a doll, with one half-closed eye.
I’m not dismissing Nora’s upset at all — as a kid I was terrified of the flying monkeys in ‘Wizard of Oz’ myself — but I think it’s a bit much to make sweeping statements about millions of American kids being inured to murdering zombie violence because of a brief image of a slightly eerie doll, especially when you haven’t seen it yourself. :)
31 July 2010.
The individual feeds aggregated…
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Email: phil [at] gyford [dot] com