The oppressive quietness in our office has now created a situation which is sort of the opposite of that Kit-Kat advert:
We have to go outside the office (into the library!) if we want to have a conversation of any length. Some people (like me) don’t even say goodbye anymore when they go home for the day if our manager’s in the office, because it would break the silence and seem too obtrusive. I have very little idea of how my colleagues at the other side of the room are, because I don’t talk to them anymore unless we happen to be on the desk together (and I suspect talking there would be frowned upon as well, if it was noticed). We work in almost-silence. A lot of the time, all you can hear is the noise of people typing.
I like peace and quiet, but this is getting ridiculous. And, as I said, it is oppressive – because it is forced upon us. In theory, we are allowed to talk quietly, but we were doing this, and then told (via our poor supervisors) that we needed to be quieter. So now, we mostly don’t speak to one another unless it’s necessary. There is very little social “chit-chat”, which I suppose is what our managers want. It seems sad, though, that what was once a friendly place to work has become so repressed and seemingly unfriendly. We have to tell new people that it’s not that we don’t like them – we’re just not allowed to chat!
I’m not sure what the point of making people work in near-silence is. I suppose we should be working harder if we’re not spending time talking, but I’m not sure this actually works in practice. Also, one wastes more time going outside to talk to people, or emailing them when they sit across the room, than it would have taken just to have a conversation!