10 Rules to Survive Working in a Cubicle

1) What happens in your cubicle doesn’t stay in your cubicle! – DON’T USE SPEAKERPHONE

Everyone hears everything and you are always on display. You have to learn how to get along with your neighbors. Being liked shouldn’t be underestimated! Social capital is just as important as your ability to do the job. Coaching tip- Don’t yell or talk over cubicles. The quickest way to lose the respect of your co-workers is by being too loud, too casual and disrespectful.

2) Do not clip, bite, file or paint your nails in the office. – DON’T BE GROSS

After surveying 100 executives I was shocked to find that almost all of them had experienced someone clipping their nails in the office. Don’t be that guy! Coaching tip- All personal hygiene should be done at home with the exception of blowing your nose– you can do that, but be discreet. If you have to do it a lot, you may be too sick to work.

3) The bathroom is not a boardroom. – DON’T WORK IN THE BATHROOM

There is only one type of business that should be conducted in the bathroom. Allow everyone his or her privacy and personal space. Don’t follow someone in there to give them a status update on your project. Don’t try to network and introduce yourself at the urinal. Coaching tip– Keep it brief. Stick to chitchat and don’t hang out in there.

4) Your cubicle is not an extension of your house. – DON’T MOVE IN

I understand that you want to decorate and put up pictures and a poster and a calendar because you want to make it your own but resist that urge. Your cubicle is not your living room– it’s a workplace, so keep it uncluttered. Coaching tip- If the CEO walked by your cubicle, would you be proud of your space? Does it emanate professionalism?

5) “Hello… hello. Can you hear me?” – DON’T USE YOUR CELL PHONE

If you are on your cell phone at work you aren’t working. Don’t tempt yourself. Never bring it to a meeting and never ever check Facebook while you are at work. Coaching tip– If you are tempted, leave it in your car or in your desk drawer. The only acceptable ringer is silent. If you can’t resist the urge to check your phone, TURN IT OFF.

6) Just because there isn’t a door doesn’t mean you shouldn’t knock! – DON’T BARGE IN

Everyone is busy and everyone has work to do. Respect everyone’s space and time. If you want to network with someone, be respectful and ask when they might be available. Then set a meeting and have an agenda. Coaching tip- Act as if you are going to your neighbor’s house. Knock and ask, “Do you have a moment?”

7) “I am sitting right next to you!” – DON’T IGNORE PEOPLE

If you call someone, leave a voicemail. If someone emails you, email them back. Email should not be your only form of communication, especially if they sit right next to you. Make sure you speak to people face to face and learn everyone’s names. Coaching tip- Once you hit send, that email could go anywhere. Make sure it’s formal and professional.

8) Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. – DON’T MICROWAVE FISH

If you heat something up or burn popcorn everyone is going to smell it. Is that what you want to be known for? If someone brings something in for everyone, don’t take more than your fair share and whatever your do, don’t steal anything from the fridge! I don’t care how long it’s been there, or how hungry you are– DON’T DO IT! Coaching tip- Respect the communal space, clean up after yourself and make contributions.

9) “Every time I try to print something the printer is out of paper!” – DON’T BE A JERK

Nothing worse than going to print something and there isn’t any paper in the printer or you go to get a paperclip and someone took them off your desk. Coaching tip- A good team player sets everyone up for success. Even though it’s a public space and it’s just a stapler, you can’t take stuff off someone else’s desk without asking.

10) Your body language and tone of voice says a lot about you. – DON’T GOSSIP

This is not “The Hunger Games,” or reality TV. You will not succeed, win favor or impress anyone by being mean, negative or judgmental. Being liked and respected comes from a genuine interest and sincere concern for others. If you are only interested in people when it’s convenient for you or when you want something, it’s difficult to build trust. Coaching tip- Falling asleep in meetings, avoiding eye contact when talking to someone and wearing your headphones in the hallway are all ways of saying “I don’t care about you.”

-Do you need help adjusting to your new job? Call Shift 215-901-3088- 

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