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Submitted by williamelledgepe on


Should I allow a personal radio to be played at a low volume in a cubicle environment?

I can't believe this situation, but it is one I inherited. Some people complain about not having quiet and others complain if they can't have music. I want to abolish the radios. If someone really has to listen they should be using earphones.

Has anyone else dealt with this (other than in movies or Dilbert comics)? Any advice on how to announce no more radios? Anyone believe I should allow the use of radios to continue? Should I distribute red staplers?

Association_Manager's picture

I believe there's a rule of etiquette that says some people's desire for their peace not to be disturbed outweighs the preference of others to disturb their peace. That phrasing is completely wrong, but I think the principle is true: when unnecessary things annoy others, they need to stop. If people need to listen to music, they need to use headphones.

 If you're in an environment where there is a lot of phone work or any visitors at all, music playing doesn't give a professional impression (I know I'd hate for people I'm on a conference call with to hear Katy Perry, or even Enya, playing in the background). And it certainly hurts concentration, both for the listener and for those around them. 

I don't have any wisdom on how to roll this change out, but I'm on your side. It's not at all an unreasonable request, and it's your call as the manager. Good luck!

katehorstman's picture
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BLUF: I suggest announcing in your staff meeting that radios are not allowed in the office. It can be as simple as a bullet point or you could take questions on it. After the announcement, use feedback to deal with any issues that arise.

I vote that the radios should be discontinued. Radios in a cubical environment force people to listen to what others choose. This is basically inflicting your preference on other people, which is rude. It is not professional to force another person to listen to music of your choice. I totally agree with the previous response- Enya might not be everyone’s taste.

In fact, I would even argue that listening to earphones is a bit like trying to multitask (which is impossible- see link to shownotes). And that earphones can cause issues with people not being able to hear situational things like phones ringing.