Today most offices have an open environment where everyone is sitting next to someone. Most offices even have a divided space called an office cubicle for every individual to work without any distraction.
However, working in cubicles is quite tricky as sometimes colleagues barge in and interrupt your workflow. Cubicle etiquette is therefore essential to avoid such distractions and interruptions.
In order to build a good relationship and be part of a healthy and positive work environment at the office, you must follow some unwritten and untold rules and regulations.
Here are some essential and golden cubicle etiquette rules to maintain professionalism and peace at the workplace.
Always be respectful. This is something that we’ve been told since we were born, “do not walk into the room without permission” or “knock before going in”. It doesn't hurt to apply these rules in the workplace too.
Knock and then talk. You’ve to keep this thing in mind even before entering your colleague’s cubicle. Remember, if you do not respect other's privacy, no one will respect yours. Knock first, and ask if this is the right time to talk. Never interrupt people as you may end up disturbing their work.
Nothing is more annoying than someone shouting across the office room. It disturbs other employees, especially those who may be working on important tasks. So never do it. If you want to have a conversation with someone, walk over to them and talk.
The second most important rule is to put your phone in silent mode or set on a low volume as soon as you step into the office.
Loud ringtones can be annoying and disturbing to others around your cubicle. If you are worried about missing an important call if you set your phone on silent, you can lower your ring volume so that your colleagues won’t be bothered when your mobile is ringing. Maintaining silence at your workplace is very important as don't want to disturb your coworkers.
Avoid eating food like fish, or any other food items with a strong smell at your desk or using strong scents as some people can be sensitive to strong odors. So it’s advisable to avoid strong fragrances so that it doesn’t bother others around you, especially those allergic to strong smells. Instead, pick a soft and decent fragrance that locks the smell of your body and doesn't impact others around you.
Cubicles are allocated to you to do official work. If you want to perform any personal grooming activities like applying makeup, flossing your teeth, or putting on fragrance, go to the washroom instead of using your cubicle as the bathroom.
Also, avoid having lunch in the cubicle at all costs. Use the food court or office cafeteria to eat your lunch. Keep your desk clean and tidy by keeping your files and official documents in an organized way. Finally, avoid decorating your cubicle with photos of your favorite actors, offensive slogans, and posters. Remember the cubicle part of your office, not your home.
Hovering around the office or other’s desks is very annoying and can be disturbing to many people. Suppose the whole office is silent, and someone is walking with their heels or shoes making noise, won't you feel annoyed? So avoid doing any such things. Instead, head over to the restroom if you want a quick break or stand straight for a few minutes in your cubicle if you are tired of sitting and want to give your back some solid stretch.
Never take anything from your co-workers cubicle without asking them first. If the person is not there, then wait for them to come and if it is urgent, leave a note of things you borrowed and return them as soon as you finish the work. Even if your colleagues have told you that you don’t need to take permission before borrowing anything and are completely fine with it, you should not do that. Just because a stapler or pen is lying on their desk doesn't mean you can take it without asking.
No one in the office is interested to know what you are talking about over a phone call or with your colleague in person, so keep your conversation to yourself. Be mindful of your voice while speaking. Refrain talking about your personal issues at your cubicle.
Always try to keep conversations as short as possible while working because talking over the phone during office hours is not professional. Avoid using speakerphone as it can distract those working near you. Use a headphone instead and pay attention to your voice.
By prairie dog I mean don't peek over other’s cubicles to talk to them or see what they're doing as it's disrespectful and tends to make people uncomfortable. It’s outright rude and unprofessional, in my opinion.
Don't invade other’s personal space. Respect others’ privacy so that others respect yours too.
You may be someone who enjoys listening to your favourite tunes while working, but that doesn't mean you should sing along or put the song on a speaker. Of course,listening to music while working is not wrong, but make sure you use your headphones to do so.
Remember, a cubicle is part of the office, and others are working around you. So be mindful of the cubicle rules mentioned above to develop a work environment that's positive, healthy, and professional.