Guest Author - Dianne Walker
In most work environments, your cubicle is your home away from home. You spend the better part of your productive hours sitting in this space – often times a few mere feet from your peer over the wall. Just like having a bad roommate, there is nothing worse than a co-worker with bad habits – especially if your work area is right in their line of fire. When the closeness starts too get annoying, perhaps it’s a great time to practice a little cubicle etiquette.
1 - “Aunt Sally did what with Uncle Fred?” Cubicles don’t block noise, nor do they block your conversation while engaging in personal phone calls. What makes you think that the entire office wants to hear the sordid “goings on” in your family? Do you really want your co-workers in your personal business? Making a personal call from your cube is like holding your hand in front of your face and asking, “Can they still see me?” Of course they can see and hear you. Wait until lunch time to make your calls. If it’s urgent, step away from your desk to a private area.
2 - “I’m sorry – WHAT DID YOU SAY?” If you’re hard of hearing, you may want to invest in a hearing device or turn up the volume on your phone. The one thing that you don’t need to do is to turn up the volume of your voice. Sounds travel through open space – the open space above and around your cubicle. If your caller can’t hear you, call them back from a different phone.
3 – “Check out this perfume from the dollar store.” What may smell good to you may or may not smell good to those sitting around you. Unfortunately, they don’t have a choice on where to sit. Keep in mind you may be surrounded by people with allergies and breathing problems, don’t add to their misery by drenching yourself in perfumes and colognes – regardless of how great you think they smell.
4 – “See how this beef cake calendar spices up the area?” While you may like the calendar of men showing off their pecs, your officemates may not. Believe it or not, some may even find it offensive. Also while there is no accounting for taste, or lack of in some instances, remember that you are in a professional environment. Keep the provocative pictures at home where you can drool in private. If in doubt, keep it out
While most of us may spend half of our waking hours in the workplace, it’s still not home. It’s an office - a place where business is conducted on a daily basis. But you’re human right? You need to relax at some point during the day – right? Relaxing is o.k. making your co-workers miserable is not. Practicing cubicle etiquette is the first step to fostering a work environment for everyone to enjoy.