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Chatty Cathy

Dear Sugar
I work in a very small office. There are only seven employees including myself. I am the the hiring supervisor. Three of the women that I sit by are extremely chatty to the point of irritation. I re-wrote the employee manual specifically pointing out the topics of appropriate conversation and cell phone use, but my effort was ignored.

When these women talk in the office, it distracts everyone from their work. I don't want to fire them as when they are working they do a great job, but it's becoming a burden for everyone else in the company. Do you have any pointers for how to eliminate this chattiness? Maddened Millie

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Maddened Millie
Mindless chatting in the office is distracting and quite irritating so I understand your frustration with your co-workers. Since you are these women's supervisor, I think talking to them as soon as possible is the right way to go about handling the situation before it gets out of control.

If they are unaware that their chatting is disturbing to others, they won't know to pipe down. Simply let them know that while socializing in the office is acceptable, they are at work to get their job done without distracting other employees from the task at hand.

If you are uncomfortable talking to these women one on one, another option would be to send out a company wide e-mail reminding everyone to be respectful of their co-workers and to keep conversation to a minimum in shared office space. I am sure that after you talk with them, the office will be much a more productive working environment.

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Join The Conversation
cubadog cubadog 9 years
I cannot believe your a manager. Put on your manager pants and tell them to stop chatting because it is disruptive. It is not that big of deal. They keep doing it because your not being a manager and telling them to stop. I am not saying to do it an a way that is rude but be a grown-up and do your job.
colormesticky colormesticky 9 years
Just tell them to talk quietly because they're a distraction. If they still get their work done then that's great, just tell them to stop talking so loudly that they prevent others from doing the same. Inside voices, ladies!
lolak lolak 9 years
Yeah I totally agree that it has to be dealt with, I'm just saying that maybe shutting them up or telling them they will be written up for it isn't the best way to go. Think of how the situation will work for you and EVERYONE else better, maybe get them all involved and create a closer circle instead of trying to keep them seperately. I just think that joining them will be so much more pleasant than being the threatning boss. Make it work for you too, they will respect you so much more for being human and you won't have to worry about having an unnecesary bad day at work. There are not that many people in there to say it's an unfixable problem.
Padraigin Padraigin 9 years
Three women are distracting the other four in the office. It needs to be dealt with. If all the women were chatting and friendly and the like, that would be a different story, but when it's the minority disturbing the majority, it needs to be addressed.
honey31 honey31 9 years
You are so right lola_k
Daisy6264 Daisy6264 9 years
I agree with lola_k.
lolak lolak 9 years
I don't know about this, If they are chatty and their job are not being affected by this then what is the problem? If they all get along then it's so much better than having a room full of people in which no one can stand eachother, which seems like you will turn it into one of these rooms if you don't handle it correctly. I'm not trying to be an antagonist but I'm seriously asking this question innocently... Are you sure that what irritates you is the fact that they don't really talk to you? I'm just asking, don't think i'm trying to accuse you of anything. Just think of how much worse this situation can actually be. I'm thinking this way too cause I supervise a group of 5 people too and I love the fact that we all get along and talk about everything, it feels like working with family and it makes going to work so much better.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
personally, i would just wait until the next time the stated chatting it up and say from my seat "gwen britney, christina; too much talkie. you can take lunch together but now i need you to get back to your projects". and see how it goes. if you make it sort of light maybe they will get the message and not mind (friendly work place it nice). if it continues you will have to write them up, each separately and privately. harsh perhaps but you know what they say; business is business and fuckin's for fun. 2007?
herbiefrog herbiefrog 9 years
what makes you think... that because you are their boss... that that makes you responsible for how they live theior lives? you are all human the same duh ?
rubialala rubialala 9 years
If you talk to them, though, like all of these good people have suggested, and it still doesn't stop, then they need to be F-I-R-E-D. No way can you keep that around. Also, it will set an example for the standard required in the office for existing and future employees.
missnomi missnomi 9 years
difficult this. I agree with tina-marie that since you are their boss it's up to you to act like it, but I know that especially with females it can be so tricky... maybe it's an idea to engage in some sort of workshop together in which a third party can kindly point out the rules?
Miggs0708 Miggs0708 9 years
I have been in the situation and I have found an e-mail reminding works best - especially if you send it to your department and then copy the higher-ups like your boss.
tina_marie tina_marie 9 years
While I'm sure you don't want to alienate your co-workers, you are the boss and you have to act like the boss - not their friend. Just tell them you've had complaints about them being too loud and they need to tone it down.
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