It’s the golden rule of life—treat others as you want to be treated. Well, the same goes for your behavior in the office. Whether you work in a cubicle or in an open workspace, follow these basic etiquette rules to treat your coworkers with the respect that’s expected in a business setting.
Avoid using products and eating food with a strong scent.
Whether it’s a good smell or a bad smell, strong odors can have some seriously negative effects on the people around you. Although you may think that leftover tuna smells great, your coworker may want to throw up at the slightest whiff of fish. And while that new cologne or lotion may smell like heaven on earth to you, your neighbor may be susceptible to headaches from strong perfumes. Do them all a favor and keep smelly foods confined to the breakroom while using lotions that have little to no scent.
Do not pop up over your cubicle wall unannounced.
Do you want to scare the living daylights out of your coworker? Because that’s how you scare the living daylights out of your coworker. Waltzing right up to someone who is focused on their work can startle them, and it can totally derail their train of thought too. Rather than barging in without warning, take an extra two seconds to knock on your coworker’s cubicle wall or on a nearby filing cabinet to alert them to your presence. Not only will this prevent you from giving them a fright, but it will also give them the opportunity to turn you down if they’re too busy to talk at that time.
Keep your workspace tidy.
It’s easy to let paperwork pile up when we’re hard at work, but your messy desk may be negatively affecting nearby coworkers, especially if you’re in an open concept workspace. Try to keep your desk as tidy as you would if you were expecting visitors into your home at any moment. Coats, sweaters and purses should be placed in a wardrobe cabinet, while paperwork and files should be neatly tucked away in a filing drawer.
Watch the volume on your headphones.
Whether you’re listening to podcasts or music, make sure you use headphones and that the volume isn’t so loud that all of your neighbors can hear your Justin Beiber obsession. The people around you are trying to concentrate on their work, and that’s tough to do with the constant distraction of top 40 hits.
Speak clearly but softly.
It’s more than okay to collaborate with your neighbors, but take a quick look at the coworkers around you before launching yourself into a deep, loud conversation. If someone nearby is on the phone or clearly trying to focus on his or her work, turn your voice down to a whisper or take your conversation somewhere else.
What did we miss? Share your personal rules for cubicle etiquette in the comments below!