When one mentions that they work in a cubicle environment many things jump to mind (in addition to the inevitable sudden urge to play a game of Whack-a-Mole):
- Ugh that sucks.
- Is your building loud?
- High walls or low walls?
- How do you have private conversations?
- Is your office really like a Dilbert cartoon?
- Have you thought about going postal?
But inevitably, the conversation will turn toward etiquette.
Wikipedia, my son’s second go to resource for all things after first reviewing what Homer Simpson would say, defines etiquette as:
A code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group.
Thus, cubicle etiquette is basically: How should those in 6×8 polyester covered worker-jails behave so as to not piss off everyone else.
The interwebs are full of “Top 10 Rules for the Cubicle” suggestions. Many of which include things like use your library voice, stay home with the sniffles, befriend your neighbors – and other things Miss Manners would say.
To which I say – Whatever (always liked that word).
I generally find top 10 rules too structured, so, in no particular order, let’s look at just a few real-world cubicle rules to help us all get along.
Don’t be smelly.
That goes for you and your food. Every office has that one person who is lax when it comes to body hygiene. That’s fine if you live in a cultures that embraces such a personal presence, but the cube-culture does not. Shower, soap, deodorant – repeat. Daily.
When it comes to your food, two words: Fish & Microwave. Peanut Butter & Chocolate, Jack & Coke, Steak & the Grill, Saturdays & Sundays– all matches made in heaven. Fish & Microwave…not so much. Go to Subway instead (and no don’t order tuna fish).
Relative to work-related calls, if you are on a conference call with 3 other people within a 100 ft radius, get a room. We do not all want to listen to your conversation. On any call, conference or otherwise, no speakerphones allowed. We do not care to hear your conversation in full-duplex glory.
When it comes to personal calls, get a room. We don’t care what your wife wants you to pick up from the store or the glorious place you are going to for vacation while we sit in our drab gray cell.
No phone calls in the bathroom…ever…for any reason. By the way, this includes reaching up to your permanently affixed because-you-think-it-makes-you-look-cool Bluetooth headset and saying, “Hey do you mind if I put you on hold for a sec? I have something to do.”
Phone calls. Part deux .
If I’m on the phone don’t come stand behind me and act like your need is so freaking urgent it warrants interrupting my call. You will get an evil Get-the-F-Out-of-My-Line-of-Site look. Send me an email…I may reply.
I don’t want to buy wrapping paper, raffle tickets, candy bars with mystery nuts jammed into them, etc.
Bottom line, if it isn’t a chocolate chip cookie that I can eat right now, go away. If it is a chocolate chip cookie bring two.
Working in a cubicle environment is not unlike a zoo where monkeys throw their bodily functions between cages or in this case over the 5’ 6” wall. With a little common sense we can all get along, show up and do our jobs to the fullest.
Or as Homer Simpson summed it up, “Lisa, if you don’t like your job, you don’t strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed.”
What cubicle commandments would you add?