Most office settings today have cubicles instead of the open concept or individual offices of years ago. The cubicle culture adds a unique dimension to the concept of etiquette in office culture today. Although, the walls do not reach the ceiling and there are no doors there is no reason to assume that you can invade a person’s individual work area. Many people become very sensitive when you enter their space without asking their permission. By the same token, if you are in a cubicle you cannot have an expectation of complete privacy. Whether in a private office, a cubicle or an open concept office, these office etiquette rules should be followed in every workplace.
Be punctual-coming to work late or returning from lunch late will have an impact on your co-workers. They may be picking up the slack for your tardiness.
Dress appropriate-wearing revealing, dirty, ripped or smelly clothing gives the impression that you have neither pride in yourself, nor pride in your job. Your co-workers will certainly see you in a less than appealing light and therefore believe that your work is subpar also.
Perfume-should be light and inoffensive. The person in the next cubicle could be allergic to strong scents or have asthma which will affect their breathing. That is not to say you shouldn’t wear perfume, but that you should be aware that if the scent is strong you should wear less.
Noise-Talking over the walls of a cubicle should be done quietly. Other people in nearby cubicles may not be taking part in your conversation, but they surely hear you. You should keep in mind that making loud noises or talking loudly can be very distracting when you are working.
Impromptu Meetings- should be held in meeting rooms and not gathered around a cubicle. Not only is that distracting to other workers, but you may be overheard talking about matters that do not include other employees.
Computer Reading-just because you can see over the cubicle walls doesn’t mean that you should be reading what is on your neighbor’s computer. They may be working on something sensitive so make it a point to look away from their computer screen.
Borrowing – should not be done without the permission of the owner. When a person has a stapler on their desk it is not public property. It is always proper to ask permission before borrowing anything from another employee.
Private Space– your cubicle may be your space at work but you should remember that you are in an office. It is offensive to others if your space is messy and crowded with personal belongings. There are occasions when coworkers have to visit your cubicle or have occasion to pass it. Remember this is not a room in your home but part of a larger office. As such it should be kept neat and professional.
There are no hard and fast rules to etiquette, but a general rule is if it is annoying or offensive to you then you can rest assured someone else will feel the same way. Being part of an office your cubicle or work space should be a comfortable space that is conducive to doing your job well. If you just follow a few simple rules of etiquette your coworkers will appreciate your effort.