Getting back to the swing of things is pretty rough when I've been traveling so long over the past couple of weeks. In some ways, it's been a welcome break from being bombarded with triggers in my office environment; in others, as mentioned in my 4/30/13, 5/1/13, and 5/9/13 posts, the first two weeks was an even worse continuous trigger bombardment than I've ever had before. I had hoped that the hecticness of
playing catch-up from being away for so long would have distracted me enough that triggers wouldn't have bothered me, but I was wrong. As much as moving to my new desk location has helped somewhat, mainly since I don't hear my podmates reading out loud to themselves or tapping their fingers anymore, being adjacent to the reception area and package drop off exposed me to others. For instance, the receptionist always keeps a candy bowl filled on her desk (I know, since I'm one of the people who likes to dip into it), so now I constantly hear the crinkling of candy wrappers being opened. There's also the whistlers who pass by my area on their way up/downstairs or out the building.
Part of my problem is I've gotten lax with wearing my earplugs in my new location, mainly since I'm constantly getting up to go discuss issues with coworkers at their desks or calling reps/consultants to discuss projects. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle the situation. I don't want to go to HR without having a suggestion as to how to solve the issue, but I don't know what other solutions to offer. The only office with a door is literally 5 feet behind one of our I/T people who is a constant whistler. Even though the office is spread out across three floors in two buildings (two in one building, one in the other), there are
regular whistlers and people constantly opening soda cans in all three sections. I don't know if I'll ever find a place in the office where I won't be bombarded by triggers.
I'm not alone with this sentiment, and it's not just by other misophonia sufferers. While looking up additional articles to add to the SenseHaven.com "Other Resources" pages, I discovered a NY Times article about open office environments titled, "From Cubicles, Cry for Quiet Pierces Office Buzz" (dated 5/19/12). Although not about misophonia, I did think it an interesting article to share, especially since it talks about open office environments and how, "Headphones are the new wall." There was also a reference
to a study on the open office environment, but the link didn't work for me. I tried Googling the university that did the study and found another article called, "Want to Reduce Productivity? Go to an Open Office
Environment." It's so very tempting to share these articles with my office (we have an in-house intranet with a "Twitter like" feed on the homepage for stuff like this), especially since my firm is considering moving to a new "ideal workplace" facility around 2016 (the time of our 50th anniversary which, coincidentally, is also when our lease ends for our current location.) My problem is that I'm afraid of pissing off my coworkers with such an article, many of whom have been tolerant of my requests to stop trigger noises when I ask them. Most architectural/engineering design firms have an open office environment to facilitate communication and collaboration within the teams, which is especially important to my current firm. The fact that my firm celebrates architecture within the building itself by having exposed wooden/metal structure and infrastructure throughout the facilities means that there's not much sound dampening materials either. It's a really difficult environment for someone with misophonia...
I'm really going to have to figure out if there is any other ways I can help myself cope with the triggers in my office. One thing I've learned over the years when it comes with dealing with problems in the workplace... A person who complains about an issue is not as successful in obtaining help from others to address the problem as when the person is able to also bring solutions to the table as well.