Common Sense Cubicle Etiquette You Wish Your Co-Workers Knew About


"Sorry, I'm on a work call. ...anyway, did you sign us up for the hot yoga class tonight? It fills up so quickly."

“Sorry, I’m on a work call. …anyway, did you sign us up for the hot yoga class tonight? It fills up so quickly.”

If you’ve ever held a non-managerial office position, there’s a good chance you sat inside a 6×6′ piece of fabric-covered workplace real estate known as the cubicle. And even though cubicles are almost always part of a larger area, with plenty of nearby co-workers, some individuals truly believe that their cubes are private oasis where they can do whatever they want.

The fact that your desk chair rolls into your “wall” nearly every time you need to get up is bad enough. Your oh-so-close co-workers’ annoying habits are also multiplied tenfold by the fact that you
are nearly sitting on top of each other.

Here are seven rules that should be common sense for workers who sit in cubicles but, sadly, are not for many people.

1. “Knock” before entering. You wouldn’t barge into someone’s office without knocking on the door, would you? Knock on the side of someone’s cubicle wall or ask, “Got a sec?” Something along those lines.

2. Listen to music softly. Better yet, listen to music through headphones. Your colleagues may not love death metal or gangsta rap as much as you do.

3. Don’t bring your rambunctious child to work with you. Baby-sitters get sick and cancel at the last minute, and daycare centers have been known to close on certain occasions. We all understand. We also all get personal days for situations just like these. Use them.

4. Watch your mouth. Cussing up a storm so loudly that the entire office can hear you — and oh, they can — is not advisable. In fact, saying anything so loudly that everyone can hear you is annoying. Don’t yell over cubicle walls when you need to speak with a co-worker. Call the person, e-mail, or pay a personal visit.

5. Take personal phone calls outside. When you sit in cubicles, you don’t have to yell to be overheard. Yes, this means people can hear you when you’re on the phone. And your neighbors do not want to hear you argue with your husband, schedule your dermatologist appointment, or complain to your BFF.

6. Eat on your lunch break – in the break room or cafeteria. Everyone has different tastes. That’s a no-brainer. It also means that certain “delicious” foods smell horrific to other people. If you must enjoy seafood pasta or chicken teriyaki in the middle of the day, eat it at a restaurant or at least in the break room—not at your desk. And never, ever throw food containers in your trash can where food can rot and “aroma-tize” the entire office

7. Groom yourself in private. Brushing and flossing your teeth, clipping your nails…no. Just no. Good manners are all about putting other people’s needs ahead of your own. They are also about using common sense. Just because you aren’t embarrassed to do something in front of others — or within earshot — doesn’t mean you should. When you are at work, you are a professional. Act like one!

David Ching

Written by David Ching

David Ching works for EQA Office Furniture, an office furniture retailer in California selling desk chairs, office cubicles, desks and conference tables. Follow David on Google+.

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