Cube And Cubicle Etiquette

If your work area is a cubeor cubicle there are certain etiquette protocols that will likely make you life easier to handle. Several strategies to help you survive life in this goldfish bowl.

If your work area is a cube, you can likely hear your next-door neighbour lie to his creditors, tell his wife that he's working late and close and important deal. Here are a few strategies to help you survive life in this goldfish bowl:

Speak softly

Be aware that your voice projects. A loud voice makes working conditions difficult for your co-workers. It's distracting and makes concentrating on the task at hand very difficult, and should they also be engaged in a telephone discussion may very well overwhelm the voice in their telephone.

Do not use a speaker phone

This would make things even worse, because the person next door is not only distracted by your voice, but your party's voice, too.

Confidential matters

Do not discuss confidential matters in your cubicle. Cubicles offer very little privacy, so you should not discuss confidential matters there. Your board room is an excellent place to hold meetings where confidential information will be exchanged. If you need to discuss the issue on the telephone, find out if you can borrow a phone in someone else's office to conduct this discussion.

Keep your personal cellular phone off. You are on the phone, and engaged in a long but hopefully profitable consultation with a client. Your cellular phone starts ringing. Because you are engaged, it will take longer for you to answer the call. In the meantime your phone will create more noise and distract other employees.

Take your cellular phone to lunch

When you go to lunch, take your cellular phone with you. This is to ensure that should your phone ring, you are at hand to answer it. Leaving it behind is unfair, especially if it's on, as the noise may prove distracting. Also, a cellular phone is very valuable, and you should not leave it lying about. It is your responsibility to look after it, not pass the buck to your neighbor.

Turn your answering machine on

When you leave your desk, set your answering machine on. Your neighbor should not have to field your calls, or try to work while your telephone rings constantly, unattended.

Keep your personal calls to a minimum

It's best if your receive personal calls at lunch or during your breaks, and no more. Your private life is your own, and you should not inflict it on your neighbors.

Do not interrupt someone who is on the telephone

You should refrain from using sign language to interrupt someone who is on the phone. It is better that you wait until the call is finished, before you approach the person and tell them whatever it is that you'd like to discuss.

Use your conference room for meetings

Space is at premium in open plan office arrangement, so it's best that you meet your clients at a conference room, rather than at your desk. First of all, you want your client to be bale to relax, and to have the opportunity to provide them with excellent service without interruptions from your phone, colleagues or the activities taking place around you. Also, your neighbor is in fact, in her office, and should have the privacy to conduct business without worrying about a non-employee listening in on what she says.

Do not use screen savers which make noise

One man's music is another man's noise, so it's very important that you allow others to work in a quiet area.


The cubicle next to yours is someone else's office. Would you barge into a colleague's office without knocking and being told to come in? The cubicle is your colleague's office space, so respect it. Respect other people's space when they look busy. When your colleague looks busy, pretend that the office door is closed, and they are in a meeting with the company president. So there should be no interruptions until you pick up the signal that they may be wiling to talk. On the other hand, don't make eye contact with someone when you don't want to be interrupted.

Hear no evil

Should you happen to overhear private or confidential conversations, pretend that you never heard it all. More importantly, don't repeat what you heard to others.

Beware of smells

Don't wear too much perfume or aftershave: you may think that it smells wonderfully, while your neighbor chokes on it! Keep snacking to a minimum. Would you walk into someone else's office, pull out a chair and start snacking? Absolutely not! The same principle applies to cubicles. Yes, you are in your side of the room, however, the partition offers very little privacy, so your neighbor will be forced to listen to all the crunchy noises your apple makes, or worse, have the aroma of your fries wafting in her direction while she tries to get some work done.

Be careful of the impression you make

Your cubicle gives your colleagues and people around you an impression of the person you are. Recognize that, and make sure that it does present a good impression. That means that it should be keep tidy and clean, with documents filed in their proper places.

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