I work in a big, open-plan office. One of my colleagues on my floor likes to work with the radio on and most people seem to agree. I dislike the radio (radio specifically, rather than music) for all sorts of reasons which we won't go in to, but the end result is that it interrupts my attention and concentration a lot.

The office is a big space and I never paid it much attention. Whenever it bothered me, I'd just put on some headphones and listen to music, which is allowed.

Following a recent desk reshuffle, I'm now sat next to the radio: I can no longer ignore it, and I find it a constant annoyance. I know it's being a killjoy, and I've suggested - politely, and hopefully with a bit of self-deprecating humour - several times that perhaps it doesn't need to be on all the time. I've been ignored or voted down: everyone else likes the radio. I've also suggested we have an office playlist on Spotify or somesuch, which would suit me fine, but not everyone is comfortable using those technologies.

It can't be moved because the colleague who likes the radio most and whose radio it is sits behind me. They don't want to move the radio away from their desk.

Colleagues have suggested I wear my earphones more often. So I've tried this now for a while and, frankly, it's making my ears really sore. I also can't hear when people want my attention. It's getting a bit miserable.

What else can I do to get people to turn the radio off?


2 Answers 2


Earphones are a bandaid. This problem seems to require more than a bandaid.

If your work is being affected by the radio, this is something you should adress with your manager. Radios in offices are fine, but they shouldn't be allowed to harm productivity.

Trying to convince your colleagues to turn it off is going to cost a lot of effort, seeing as they seem to be in a big majority. So going to your manager to get them to turn it off, is very likely going to ruin your relationship with your coworkers.

Instead, why not suggest that you sit elsewhere in the big office, further away from the radio, so that headphones are sufficient? Given the fact that there was a recent reshuffle, this shouldn't be too hard to accomplish, and it might be the solution that hurts nobody.


What else can I do to get people to turn the radio off?


There is nothing to be done here if a vast majority of the office likes the radio on. You're in the minority here, and I would urge you not to make a stink over something most of the office wants and likes.

I would suggest you wear headphones that go over your ears versus ear buds. These do not make your ears sore and do a better job of knocking down external noise even if you don't listen to music.

  • 1
    I agree headphones are a good solution, but it seems to me the onus of wearing them should be on the people that WANT the music, not the ones who don't. I wear a very good set of over-the-ear noise canceling headphones most of the day every day and they are good a filtering out things like air conditioning, computer hums, etc., but only muffle voices and, I assume, music.
    – bluegreen
    Nov 13, 2017 at 17:59
  • @bluegreen Agreed, but based on this question, the culture allows for and accepts this. The OP would look like a giant JeRk if they took away something most others like.
    – user1856
    Nov 13, 2017 at 18:01
  • 3
    You are right the description implies the culture allows them to do what they are doing, but technically, the question was "How to get them to turn the radio off?". My suggestion makes it go away, but not turn it off. On the flip side, its kind of a jerky move to force everyone in the office to listen to your taste in music :)
    – bluegreen
    Nov 13, 2017 at 18:10
  • There are many avenues that could be suggested in regards to finding a way to turn the radio down, however they would all result in the OP coming accross as rather petty. I would suggest perhaps addressing your desk position, or where you work from with a manager; as a potential avenue for respite.
    – JoeTomks
    Nov 15, 2017 at 13:14

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