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Which is why I just bought some of those Bose noise cancelling cans. Listen at a safe volume and block out noise. They're great.



That you have to block out noise by strapping things to your head for six hours a day is the problem that you are steadfastly not solving, though.

You can't get around needing to strap things to your head when you're operating a jackhammer. Nerd at a desk? At the least we should fight for a little dignity.


Agreed, I know that noise-cancelling headphones are a solution to noisy offices for some people, but for me at least it's almost as distracting to have something (anything) strapped to my head for hours on end. And yeah, no one should have to do that in the first place.

There is a huge overlap in my experience between people who like open offices because it's easy for them to socialize and ask questions, and people who like to pester their busy coworkers with questions they could have figured out themselves. Also people who get bored easily and like to pester coworkers because they need a break from whatever they've been working on for the last 15 minutes.

Basically whenever I hear someone say, "I love open offices because when I don't know how to do something, my coworkers are right there to help me", I can't help but think, "yeah, I bet you do, and I bet your coworkers are ready to claw their eyes out when you come around asking something because you couldn't be bothered to read a man page". Every time someone touts coworker accessibility for questions as a critical reason to have open offices, I can't help but wonder what the ratio is between the time they spend asking other people questions and the time they spend answering other people's questions, because it always sounds like it's pretty huge.


Same thing goes for availability over Slack, HipChat, etc.

"We should all be on the Slack/HipChat channel so we can get instant answers to all of our questions!" - the people who have lots of questions

"Great, all I need, another source of interruptions!" - the people who get asked lots of questions

(Guess which one I consider myself to be?)


Il take async communications over interuptrupts any day of the week. Just disable notifications and check it when you're not balls deep in something.


Additionally, it's not a universal work-around. Noise canceling gives a significant fraction of us nausea


Or some people are very sensitive to the (white?) noise that noise that NC headphones still generate.


>...noise cancelling cans...

Active noise cancelling systems generally only suppress continuous steady sounds, e.g. fan noise or motor hum. It actually makes conversations and other transient activities _more_ audible by reducing the background sound.


Depends on the model. QC20's from bose (in-ear noise canceling) are basically magic in that regard - turn them on, add relatively quiet music, and I might as well be deaf to everything, including conversation.

That does lead the the annoying problem that I have to have something stuck in my ear (vs on, which isn't quite as annoying) for 6ish hours a day. Also, they're expensive af, and require frequent charging since I never remember to turn off the noise cancelling when I'm done with them.


Solution: sit near your most monotonous colleagues.


They're expensive too. I know it's not a concern for some but it is for me.




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