(p. A4) Many people returning to offices are starting to wonder how they ever managed to be productive in a place with so many distractions. On top of standard interruptions to the workday that have long existed—say, small talk while making a fresh cup of coffee—there are now new temptations and annoyances (depending on whom you ask) spawned by staggered schedules, hybrid work, and the pandemic-induced realization that socializing can be exhausting.
. . .
Valerie Warshaw, 40, an interior designer with an architecture firm in Richmond, Va., also has trouble focusing with people chatting near her desk, but for different reasons.
“I get distracted just from hearing other people’s conversation and then I’m like, ‘Ooh! I want to chime in on that,’ ” she said. “The group that I’m in is very social.”
. . .
Her noise-canceling AirPods can help but have a downside: she gets startled when people come up behind her desk without warning. Ms. Warshaw has learned the best way to get anything done is to barricade herself in a conference room.
“People don’t disturb you because they think you’re on a call,” she said.
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(Note: the online version of the story was updated December 17, 2021, and has the title “Working From Work Is Harder Than It Sounds.”)