The “loud laborers”, these office colleagues who weigh on our productivity and our morale

The “loud laborers”, these office colleagues who weigh on our productivity and our morale

Most offices are now configured in open space, which requires employees to share their workspace. But this situation often impairs the ability to concentrate, especially when surrounded by “loud laborers”. The latter use numerous stratagems to show that, yes, they work a lot.

The English expression “loud labourers” can be literally translated as “noisy workers”. It refers to employees who contribute, consciously or not, to the theater of productivity. They overplay their productivity by typing very hard on their computer keyboard, responding within a second to the slightest email or even complaining loudly about the fact that they are “underwater”. They also attend all the meetings and like to pace around the open space with a determined and noisy step.

Because that’s the whole problem with the “loud laborers”. They are often a nuisance to those around them, as a recent survey by job search site Monster reveals. Two thirds of employees believe that their colleagues who pretend to be “work animals” have a negative impact on their ability to concentrate, and 44% on their productivity.

But that’s not the only drawback. Productivity theater contributes to comparison between colleagues, which undermines team cohesion and creates a bad work atmosphere. Some 53% of workers surveyed by Monster believe that “loud laborers” compromise company culture, while 42% say they even affect their morale.

It’s not easy being a “loud plowman”

In this context, a large number of workers do not wish to work directly with “loud laborers”. They are afraid of not succeeding in imposing themselves in the face of these particularly demonstrative personalities and of not reaping the laurels of their work. Thus, a quarter of employees say that they would contact their supervisor if the latter put them in a team with a “loud laborer”.

A similar proportion of respondents would opt for another tactic: standing back and letting their cocky colleague do all the work. But this strategy does not always bear fruit. You don’t have to fall into insubordination if you don’t want to overplay your involvement in the office. There are multiple ways to show your professional value without going to extremes, like “double promotion”.

Although “loud laborers” often manage to create illusions among their superiors, they have difficulty doing so in the long term. For good reason, playing the overworked employee requires a lot of energy. You have to be on the alert to stay in your role and not be relegated to the background by a particularly motivated new recruit. This fear of being exposed can become a source of stress and anxiety, which can lead to overwork.

But then, why do the “loud laborers” feel the need to do too much? Is it a question of personality? To a certain extent, yes. Some individuals like to put themselves forward in the professional context, in order to be well regarded by their colleagues or to obtain a promotion. But the company also has its role to play. It must establish a climate of trust where workers will not feel obliged to compete to be appreciated at their true value. The more secure they feel, the less they will want to become “loud laborers”.