Cubicle Etiquette


Cubicle Etiquette

How would you feel if you hear rumours being spread about you in the office – disappointed, annoyed? Neither you nor anyone else would like unnecessary banter concerning them to ruin their reputation. There is a saying: “Don’t waste your time with explanations. People only hear what they want to hear”. Despite this, it is important to behave and follow basic cubicle etiquette in order to maintain a harmonious environment at your workplace. Offices usually have a variety of people – loud, noisy, pro-active, lazy, shy, diligent and fun-loving! It is up to you to keep good relations with all of them. Observing silence and talking in low volumes is essential to keep a certain level of professionalism going. It is believed that the best ideas strike your mind when the atmosphere is peaceful and positive. You might be good at your work but if you lack the basic manners then your productivity is overshadowed. The cubicle etiquette is similar to Newton’s third law — every action has an equal and opposite reaction. If you want others to respect your privacy then you must do the same first. For instance, it is unethical to peep into your colleague’s computer or borrow water without their permission. Read on to know all the necessary rules to be followed.

Rules To Behave In A Cubicle

    • Avoid being too noisy at work. While opening snacks in plastic bags, try not to crush the plastic too much as this makes an irritating sound. If you get a phone call, all your colleagues need not know! Lower your decibel level.
    • Mobile phones: These are amongst one of the basic cubicle disciplines that all office goers need to learn about. No one needs to know what song you have chosen as your ringtone! If there are no walls that separate cubicles then the sound of your mobile tone can interrupt another person’s thoughts. It is suggested to either turn it off or put it on silent mode.
    • Keep strong scents for parties. It is true that everyone wants to smell good but your perfume or cologne should not be so strong that it causes a headache. Use milder aromas and limit the application. Also, try not to spray scented room fresheners as this can aggravate your colleague’s senses.
    • Stay away from discussing private lives. It is not mandatory to talk about relationships and shopping plans at work! But in case that can’t wait, do not shout or talk about confidential and personal matters too loudly. It not only annoys those who aren’t interested, it also directs unnecessary attention to your cubicle. Therefore, it is suggested to have private conversations in a conference room or outside the office premises.
    • Cleanliness talks a lot about your personality and sense of hygiene. Keep your cubicle tidy and well-maintained at all times. If not your own, do not litter another person’s cubicle either! Make use of the garbage cans placed nearest to you.
    • Do not eavesdrop. This is a bad habit that always causes problems! Also, how would you like it if someone stuck their ears in your conversation? Accidentally, if you come across their conversation then keep all the details to yourself. There is no gain in spreading rumours or news.
    • Decorating your cubicle can make work interesting. Decorate your area with items related to work. A single picture of family and friends can be added. It is advisable not to go overboard and make a collage of your life in office. Sensitive issues like religion, political affairs or pictures of calendar girls are a strict no-no, as it could offend someone.
    • Respect the privacy of anyone, starting from the lowest to highest rank. For instance, don’t enter a cubicle without knocking, permission or an invitation. It shows immature behavior. It is also terrible etiquette to poke your nose into your neighbours’ work and trying to find out their activities from the previous night.
    • If you have the liberty of listening to music then make sure the volume is low. A good option would be to invest in earphones and use them at work.
    • Smoking is injurious to your health and to the others around you; what’s more, it is bad cubicle etiquette to smoke! The smell of tobacco could be annoying and nauseating for some employees. It is suggested to smoke outside the office premises or during the lunch hour.
    • Bringing strong smelling foods in the cubicle should be avoided. The nose is a sensitive organ and the air carries aroma to different parts of the room. For example, food made with garlic is pungent and gives out a particular odour. You may open your box outside your cubicle, during the break. Also, learn not to spill any food at your work station or otherwise.
    • The cubicle is not your dressing room. Makeup and cosmetics can be saved for the washroom! This also includes flossing, the use of toothpicks and lip-gloss.

Cubicle etiquette is not a set of rigid rules proposed by the company; it is just the basic conduct and manners that need to be followed in a working atmosphere. Don’t be known as a clumsy, loud and gossiping employee. Learn to mind your own business while sitting in your cubicle. This way you won’t interrupt other colleagues. We’re not saying not to have conversations with your colleagues and expand your friend network but just keep in mind that everyone needs their space and privacy.