Cubicle Etiquette Matters! How to Avoid Making the Top Four Blunders

By Robert Half on August 2, 2017 at 2:00pm

Today’s workplace is so prone to etiquette blunders that Miss Manners herself has tackled the topic. When it comes to cubicle etiquette, most people could use a refresher course on what to avoid when working in close quarters.

What are some of the biggest office faux pas? We’ve listed the top four:

1. LOL! If you’re having a slow day, you could be laughing out loud at YouTube videos, Buzzfeed posts, or posts on your Facebook newsfeed. While a positive attitude can foster productivity, the sound of giggling, videos or music can become disruptive. Tell your cube mates to let you know if your ruckus is getting out of hand. You may find that the best thing to do is head to the break room or save the funny stuff for after work. Speaking of indoor voices, many people may not realize how loudly they talk on the phone either. Don’t be that coworker, the one who unknowingly shares TMI each time he gets on his cell. Since your phone voice may carry further than you think, make it a habit to take your phone calls in a private place. 

2. Beep Boop! Does your cubicle sound like the Starship Enterprise on red alert or R2-D2 beeping and whistling at C-3PO? Chat notifications beep. Recorded messages and dial tones issue forth from your speakerphone. Silence those gadgets so your cubicle mates can concentrate on their work.

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3. Did you see…? Sometimes people take crowdsourcing too far when they gather at cubicles to chat during work hours. A little small talk is great for building camaraderie, but cubicle etiquette requires that loud or long conversations should be held elsewhere. If you’re bothered by someone else’s conversation, politely let coworkers know their review of last night’s episode of The Walking Dead is distracting (not to mention full of spoilers!). Suggest a private office or space that would make a better place to converse.

4. Don’t comment. Remember that certain discussions are better suited for personal time than work time. In general, politics and religion are two topics that most people agree shouldn’t be discussed at work. This also applies to anything else that’s controversial and might make your coworkers uncomfortable. If you and a colleague love debating politics, enjoy those debates away from the office. It’s cubicle etiquette, after all.

You're not alone if you made a blunder at the office. Check out our OfficeTeam survey of senior managers who were asked to recount their most embarrassing moments at work:

This post has been updated to reflect more current information.

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