Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

Cubicle Etiquette

As much as we may fully dislike them, cubicles are part of the corporate world. If you are lucky enough to have your own office, and perhaps your own office plant, then kudos to you. However, the fact of the matter is that most office settings employ cubicles because they are cost effective and save companies a lot of room. Unfortunately, as Hanna pointed out earlier today, cubicles can be a pain and it takes some effort on your part not to completely lose it inside the confines of your grey, drab cube. At the same time, there are certain rules you should follow in order to keep up your cubicle etiquette. You know that co-worker that annoys you to no end? It’s likely they throw cubicle etiquette out the window. Don’t be that person and instead, take a look at some of these rules you should follow to ensure you are showing you have cubicle etiquette.

Treat Others’ Cubicles as a Home
You wouldn’t walk into someone’s home uninvited, would you? I certainly hope not. In the same light, do not walk into another person’s cubicle uninvited. Popping in on someone can be really annoying and you have no idea what kind of work they are doing. They may have been on a roll and you just goofed it up. Way to go. Avoid being the annoying person that pops in and out of the cubicles every day and keep your visits to a minimum. Of course, if this person is or has become your good friend then the same rule may not apply. For general co-workers though, don’t show up uninvited. It’s annoying and rude.

Phone Etiquette

If someone is on the phone, don’t think that walking up to them and signing what you want to say with your hands is a polite way to say what you want to say. Hello! This person is on the phone! Not only is this annoying but it is so rude. My mom used to try and talk to me while I was on the phone, and of course this is not at work, mind you, and I would absolutely hate it. First of all, you have no idea what the person is trying to sign to you and second of all, you lose concentration with the person you are on the phone with. Just avoid this altogether and your co-workers may like you a bit more.

Keep Personal Matters Personal
Please, trust me on this. No one in the office wants to hear about how your friend Sandy took a dive for the worst again and found herself back in rehab. Come on, this is a workplace setting! Keep your personal phone calls outside of the office. Cubicles are open and if you can hear what Bob next door is saying, he can hear what you’re talking about. You may have an open atmosphere in your office, but honestly, no one wants to hear what you have to say to your friends on the phone. They are trying to get their work done and you are simply bothering them. Save it for lunch or go outside.

Clean Cubicle
A clean, neat cubicle is a happy cubicle. You’re already confined to such a small space, so you might as well keep that space neat and tidy. Hanna discussed this earlier today and it rings true for cubicle etiquette, too. No one wants to see your cubicle space all messy and trashed. This space is a reflection of you. So show your best you and keep your cubicle neat.

Smelly Odors
I realize that if you are a culprit of this, then it is likely you don’t realize it. However, pungent, overpowering smells can really make someone’s day take a turn for the worst. The most prominent offender is the overdose on cologne and perfume. This is a life choice, really, and it’s so sad to say but if you are firsthand offender, then you are probably clueless. That’s because you have sprayed so much perfume or cologne on yourself for so long that you have become immune to the smell. Hint: your co-workers have not. Unless someone tells you straight up that you smell like an old lady’s parlor, you’re still clueless. That’s why you should follow the two spray rule. Please, please do not spray perfume or cologne more than twice on your body. It’s strong and just because you can’t smell it doesn’t mean others can’t either. Smelly foods are another one. Not everyone loves tuna. If you are eating something very strong smelling, then be courteous and eat it in the lunchroom.

Don’t Be a Complainer
Sure, everyone loves a good vent session here and there, but make sure you haven’t become the complainer of the office. No one wants to hear about how bad your life is every day. We have problems too! Try and stay positive. Yes, you are confined in a grey prison it may seem, but so is everyone else. Make the best of it and keep positive vibes flowing. Negative overkill can really start to make those fabric-covered walls close in on you.

Borrowing Office Supplies
If you have to borrow something from someone, ask first. Don’t just take it. I realize that cubicle’s offer access to everyone’s things easily but that does not mean you should just walk in and take what you need. If the person is gone and you desperately need the red stapler, then leave a note and return it promptly.

Keep Your Voice Low

Talking on the phone may be a regular thing for you at work. If so, make sure you are keeping your voice at an acceptable level. You are in a cubicle, not your own room, so everyone can hear what you are saying. It’s likely that not everyone wants to hear what you have to say, so be considerate and keep your voice down.

These may seem like common-sense rules, but if everyone already knew them then we wouldn’t have any of these problems, would we? Unfortunately, some of these things are not so obvious to some. Make sure you are up-to-date on your cubicle etiquette and be sure not to become a culprit of these offenses. Otherwise, you or your co-workers may lose it and employ a tip from Office Space. We all know the cubicle walls are breakable- but unfortunately they must stay intact until you get your own office.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Get Ahead

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter

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