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Space invading colleague

(42 Posts)
HotNatured Fri 24-Mar-17 12:58:55

Fully prepared to be told IABU, first world problems, etc.

Work in an open plan office, the general vibe is a serious but pleasant environment. I'm v happy here...

Apart from the fact that it seems impossible for one of my colleagues to take a call without pacing around on his headset (he's a v senior, well respected guy). He always comes in my general direction and literally paces around my desk and up and down the area near my desk while he's on a call. I don't even sit particularly near his desk so I have no idea why he uses my area as his pacing ground.

It's driving me to distraction.

I've taken to passively aggressively looking at him as if to say "really?".... but he doesn't take the hint. It doesn't help that he's a v 'right on' cool guy and therefore his convos are quite grating. When I've got PMT I feel like dragging him back to his seat by the scruff of his neck. Non PMT days aren't much better.

Fully prepared to be handed a grip.

MuggaTea Fri 24-Mar-17 13:01:25

can you manage a well timed loud coughing fit? or type very loudly ?

ohfourfoxache Fri 24-Mar-17 13:02:09


SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Fri 24-Mar-17 13:02:12

Get up and stand in his way, every time?

If that doesn't work, invest in a water pistol, or bear traps.

Seriously, though, I can see why this irritates you so much - could you ask him to stop, or move furniture so he can't pace there any more?

mumonashoestring Fri 24-Mar-17 13:05:37

Nope, YANBU - the only reason open plan work spaces work is that people are considerate of each other. That means no sardines on toast or clipping your toenails at your desk, keeping speakerphone use to a minimum, and not regularly imposing yourself on other peoples space. I don't know where the 'pacing when on the phone' thing comes from, DH does it and it drives me crackers, but it's really not reasonable behaviour in a busy open plan office. Can you stay calm enough to talk to him about it without threatening to insert the headset somewhere?

BorpBorpBorp Fri 24-Mar-17 13:06:58

I would* email him along the lines of "I've noticed that when you take a call, you often pace around very near my desk. I find it distracting and invasive, and I would be grateful if you could not do this in future." Then, next time he does it (because he will keep doing it), interrupt him on his call to tell him to give you some space.

*actually I might not be brave enough to do this, but it's what I think you should do.

thatorchidmoment Fri 24-Mar-17 13:08:07

Put a yoga mat down in 'your' space and practice three-legged downward dog when he starts his calls. Extra points if you manage to accidentally wallop him with upswinging leg.

You're welcome.

pseudonymity Fri 24-Mar-17 13:09:14

Does he pace near anyone else too? If so you could raise it together. I think you should address this and keep your cool. It's really passive aggressive.

ButtercupChain Fri 24-Mar-17 13:09:20

Could it be as simple as just asking him to stop???


He probably just doesn't realise how annoying he is being.

DH had a horrible habit that he had acquired late last year for some reason, of flicking his flip flops up and down on his foot (iyswim,) when he was watching telly. After a few weeks of glaring at him and feeling my hair stick up on the back of my neck, I asked him to PLEASE STOP, coz it's driving me batty.

He didn't realise he was doing it, he said sorry, and he stopped. He does it occasionally, without realising it, but when I say 'OY! Mr-flick-a-shoe!' he stops.

RTKangaMummy Fri 24-Mar-17 13:13:29

Do you have a window near you?

Is there anything to see out of window or is it just brick wall?

Is water cooler near you?

Is your area a quiet area of office, as in is there just you whereas elsewhere there are other people on their headsets or phones?

monkey1978 Fri 24-Mar-17 13:13:32

My boyfriend does this at home, constantly paces when he is on the phone. I don't even think he realises he is doing it most of the time, well in fact I know he doesn't.
He would probably struggle to stop because its the lack of realisation of what he is actually doing!
I hope it isn't the same with your boss.

Rainydayspending Fri 24-Mar-17 13:13:35

I think a 'I'm sure you're not aware of this, otherwise you'd do your nervous pacing elsewhere, but your telephone habit is disruptive to my work'.
He's probably hoping to piss enough people off to get an office, manspreading in a different way.

RTKangaMummy Fri 24-Mar-17 13:14:19

Do you have largest expanse of floor around your desk?

floraeasy Fri 24-Mar-17 13:21:13

Eat a big bag of the loudest crunchiest crisps you can. Make it difficult for him to hear and he'll move away.

MargoChanning Fri 24-Mar-17 13:22:06

Break wind.

pigsDOfly Fri 24-Mar-17 13:23:01

Sounds like he's watched too many TV programmes/films in which the 'hero' paces the floor during tense telephone conversations and he thinks it makes him look cutting edge and cool.

Agree with pp, email to let him know his antics are annoying and disruptive.

Morphene Fri 24-Mar-17 13:23:42

I like to think I would get up and start pacing around either mirroring or following him. Copying arm gestures would also be cool.

In reality I would email asking him to consider not pacing around near me while I'm trying to work.

BettyBaggins Fri 24-Mar-17 13:24:32

As Muggatea says have a coughing fit or make a phone call yourself, any noise that makes it hard for him to hear!

Allthebestnamesareused Fri 24-Mar-17 13:27:13

For a moment I was going to ask if it was my husband but I am fairly certain he won't qualify as being right on and cool.

He does this at home when taking work calls. Eg if I am in the kitchen watching tv and he takes the call I go into the living room and watch in there and then he comes in there. If I go back he comes back in - just wandering around. Now I have pointed it out he confines himself to one place!

Ifailed Fri 24-Mar-17 13:27:56

return the favour, stand behind him whilst having a loud conversation on your phone with a friend about something suitably cringeworthy, piles for example.

amusedbush Fri 24-Mar-17 13:33:00

I suggest a well timed fart. That'll move him sharpish.

TimTamTerrier Fri 24-Mar-17 13:37:59

I just sniggered at 'bear traps'. grin Some people do seem to be able to think better if they are in motion while they're on the phone. My H often does this when he's working from home. But there's no reason why he needs to pace near you, just ask him to pace elsewhere or at least spread his pacing evenly around the office so that you only get one in five calls or so.

TheSnorkMaidenReturns Fri 24-Mar-17 13:38:25

My husband does this. He can sit down at a desk quite happily but standing is impossible. He must pace. I share your pain, but at least I can tell my husband to stop being so fucking annoying, and not have to be vaguely professional about it.

SapphireStrange Fri 24-Mar-17 13:41:01

Just say firmly and calmly that it is distracting when he paces and talks right by your desk.

MusicToMyEars800 Fri 24-Mar-17 13:42:26

thatorchidmoment grin your post made me laugh and I think it could work

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