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Office Cube Etiquette: Be a Good Neighbor

written by: Eduard Ezeanu•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 10/1/2010

Being a good neighbor doesn’t apply only at home. When you work in a cubicle, you are surrounded by neighbors. Respecting the person near you at work is what contributes to a stimulating work environment and a positive atmosphere.

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    Office Cube Etiquette

    Cubicle Working in a cubicle means working alone and it means working with others at the same time. An office space with cubicles is an interactive space, where how one person works has an influence on how others work.

    This is where office cube etiquette comes in. The main point of etiquette in this environment is to care for your colleagues and build good relationships with them, while also taking care of your own needs and maintaining your productivity.

    Here are 6 basic principles of office cube etiquette to help you be a good neighbor.

    1. Say ‘hi’ to people. When you enter the office in the morning and you go to your cubicle, acknowledge the people you pass by saying ‘hi’ to them. Then when you leave, say ‘goodbye’. Even if you don’t know who they are, still salute them. Do this with a smile on your face, in a positive voice tone and it’s even better.

    2. Offer your help. Do small gestures such as asking the colleagues next to your cubicle if they want anything when you go out to buy something. This kind of a gesture tells your colleagues that you are willing to help them and they’re a simple way to get along with people in the workplace.

    3. Keep the music down. Many of us like to listen to music while we work. It’s perfectly OK, as long as you keep in mind that someone else is also working a few feet away and they may not share your taste in music. So, keep your music volume down or better yet, use a pair of headphones. Also, try not to listen to music throughout the entire workday.

    4. Keep your voice down. Some of us tend to talk in a really loud voice and most of us tend to do so when we get angry or excited. However, the people in the other cubicles don’t need to hear your phone conversations and they will often be bothered by hearing them. Try to catch yourself when you’re talking too loud and control your volume.

    5. Lend your resources. Sometimes, a colleague may ask for a stapler or a pen from you. Be willing to lend them what they need and you’ll put the relationships with those people on a positive path. This doesn’t mean that you have to lend them something when you need it at the same time – just when it’s also convenient for you.

    6. Avoid gossip. You can easily get caught up into office gossip. However, it is best if you avoid it. Many toxic people build relationships based on gossip and in the end all the gossip pointlessly ruins other relationships. If you have a problem with the behavior of someone, talk to them instead of gossiping with others about it.

    In your career, just like in the rest of your life, the kind of reputation and relationships you build with others can be a decisive factor in the kind of results you get. Office cube etiquette is a subtle yet effective tool to put your reputation and your office relationships on a positive path.

    Image credit: 5gig, nvivo.es / Flickr