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Office Etiquette

Posted on July 28, 2006

By Colleen A. Rickenbacher, CMP, CSEP

Many people are now working from a home or satellite office but the majority of workers are still in the traditional office that they drive or ride a mode of transportation to and from each working day. With that comes the challenge of being the perfect co-worker or a friendly neighbor in the next cubicle. Office invasion or bad office habits can wear you down day after day and year after year. Since we tend to spend more time in the office with co-workers than with our families, we need to make it a happy and enjoyable environment. It really can be a lot easier to work side-by-side with just a little office etiquette. 

I interviewed a lot of office workers and these were top office “complaints” that could be easily fixed to provide a much better working environment for everyone:

  1. Respect your neighbor’s space and privacy. Don’t be hanging out at their door or peering over the top of their cubicle. This is their workspace and should be treated as such. Avoid strolling into their office and stepping behind their computer to see what they may be working on or typing. Leave the pens, stapler, paper clips and any other materials on their desk. If you need office supplies I am sure you can order them and get your own. Or even worse, just coming into their office and sitting down with a cup of coffee and staying. 
  2. Start on time: Arrive on time. But arrive on time and ready for work. It doesn’t mean you can come in on time and then spend the next 15-30 minutes eating breakfast and chatting about the television show from the night before.
  3. Use a conference room for a conference call. Do you think that is why they call them “conference” calls? Don’t be screaming into a phone next door to people that are trying to conduct business in the offices.
  4. Don’t yell to your neighbor or even worse a neighbor about three doors down. Either get up and walk to their office (look at this as your daily exercise) or e-mail or call them on the phone to ask a question or what they plan to do for lunch.
  5. Don’t complain and don’t gossip. Both get old real fast and you have too much time on your hands to do both or either. Find a solution or find another job. Voice your opinions but have a solution to the challenge so people will listen to you. 

Pay attention to your office environment, your neighbors and how you can make your day in the office enjoyable but yet completing tasks and handling business.

Colleen A. Rickenbacher, CMP, CSEP

Author of Be On Your Best Business Behavior



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Tawni. Wilkins

Thank you so much for this information, I have entered my first office job and I am petrifies. Especially because I have worked in the lumber trades my whole life! Much different, your suggestions were just perfect and helpful. Tawni

Faye Acklin

Etiquette and formality is really important when you're exposed with people who are professionals. They are of the high-class people. The tips you've stated are true in an office environment and anyone should concern themselves with all of them. =)

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