Be considerate of another person's physical space. Proximity can breed contempt rather than teamwork when you persist in invading your cubicle neighbors.
- Respect boundaries. To give fellow cube dwellers a sense of control over their space, knock on the wall (alright, the foam partition) and ask permission to enter before barging into someone else's domain.
- Don't loiter. Being in an open environment does not give you the right to disturb others when they are trying to work.
- Don't barge in and interrupt while the cube dweller is on the phone.
- Don't hover waiting your turn while the cube dweller is on the telephone.
- Don't help yourself to anything in a co-worker's cubicle, even if you consider it company or community property.
Odors know no boundaries and can be more intrusive and repulsive than even the peskiest co-worker.
- Avoid eating smelly foods at your desk.
- Don't microwave your meals because heated foods tend to smell and penetrate the environment more.
- Throw out your trash, especially if it contains anything that can fester and rot. Aside from the odor, it can also attract all manner of vermin.
- Practice good hygiene. Bathe, wear deodorant, use mouthwash and wear clean clothes.
- Nix the perfume, cologne, scented body lotions and after shave.
Sounds amplify after bouncing off cubicle walls. Your conversation, laughter and music can interfere with someone else trying to work. Background noise, especially if it is not business-related, presents a very unprofessional image to anyone phoning or visiting your office.
- Use an 'indoor' voice. Keep conversations and laughter muted.
- Keep personal conversations to a minimum, and watch what you say. Foul, racist or bigoted language and remarks are unacceptable in any work environment.
- Confidential topics should be discussed in private.
- Don't use a speaker phone
- Program voice mail to pick up your calls - and by the second ring - if you're not around.
- Turn off your cell phone and beeper if you don't need them. Otherwise, keep them within easy reach.
- Wear earphones if you must listen to that talk radio or rock music station. Better still, turn it off.
- Don't eavesdrop.
- Practice selective hearing. Just because you were able to hear a conversation four cubicles away does not mean you have a right to comment on it.
- Avoid gossip because it can spread like wildfire in an office where co-workers are privy to one another's conversations.
Keep your cubicle décor decorous. Remember it is a work space and there should be enough space left for you to work efficiently. And, your prized possessions may be someone else's eyesore.
- Clean your desk...of stacks of paperwork, litter, and dirt.
- Learn to file...and do so regularly...especially if those files are shared.
- Tame the jungle. If you love being surrounded by greenery, keep plants to a minimum, keep them healthy and keep them within your own cubicle.
- Be selective in displaying photos and children's art. Edit your collection and frame it properly.
Exercising even a bit of politeness in an office environment can pay big dividends in productivity, profitability and personal relationships.