Whispering Workmates: Polite cubicle volume

by epi on May 31, 2012

Q: Our work spaces are open cubes, so there’s little privacy.  One of my co-workers will often whisper when speaking to other people.  Do you think this is rude?  I understand everyone needs to have private conversations, but there are many places nearby where these types of conversations can take place.

A: In deference to the whisperer, my first thought is: Is he or she really whispering, or just trying to talk quietly in order to avoid disturbing others?  Your situation may simply be a matter of misperception.  If your co-worker truly is whispering, then this is indeed a form of rudeness.  By its very nature, whispering is exclusionary and should never be done by anyone in an office setting.  If people have something private to discuss, they should either hold their tête-a-tête in a private office or conference room, or get together after work.

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