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Cubicle Etiquette 101

The cubicle is most famously known as the white-collared worker’s 3-walled prison from nine to five Mondays through Saturdays.

This is emphasized even more so with the coming out of Dilbert, Scott Adams’ hilarious comic strip on the tales and woes that revolve around the office, and of course, the cubicle.

Most stories in that comic strip revolve around people and the cubicle. While mishaps do happen sometimes, we ourselves need to be considerate of the people around us. We are after all crammed into that huge room divided into many a cubicle with many a people doing their rounds for food on their table.

There is practically a culture that revolves around the cubicle, a cult, even, and where the rest of them like to gather and do cult-like things is by the water cooler.

Anyway. I digress. You need to be able to practice respect towards each other. Hence I present to you, cubicle etiquette 101.

First, speak softly when you’re on the phone. Remember that there are other people who need utmost focus and concentration on their responsibilities. Don’t do anything that will distract your colleagues or soundproof your cubicle as necessary. Also, do not put your phone on speaker mode. It’s unnecessary and rude.

Turn on your answering machine when you’re out of your cubicle. Don’t bother your colleagues with unnecessary chores by letting them field your calls for you. A machine exists for that purpose. Use it.

Minimize personal calls. No one needs to know this or that about your life. They’ve got work to do. So limit them to your lunch break period.

Don’t interrupt people who are taking calls.

When it comes to things concerning the confidential, you should know better than to discuss it in your cubicle. People are going to hear you.

There are some ill-wishing people who could plant your cubicle with listening devices and such. Not pretty. Trust me. If there is such a thing called a board room in your office, use it. Not your cubicle. Never your cubicle.

When you’re having your lunch outside your cubicle, bring your cellphone with you, or turn it off, or keep it in silent mode. Don’t unnecessarily distract your colleagues. Don’t leave your cellphone in the hands and obligations of your officemates.

Remember the board room? Use it. It’s a specifically enclosed area, not like your cubicle, to accomodate meetings that would otherwise distract other people, like, if they were held, say, in your cubicle.

Pretend the cubicle has a door. You wouldn’t want people barging in on you now do you. Don’t interrupt people who are looking busy, but if they are pretending to look busy, that’s a whole other matter to discuss.

Wear earplugs. Just mind your own business, to put it more directly. Other noise coming from other cubicles is to be regarded as just that, noise. Not gossip. Not something to share. And definitely not something to waste your time on.

Lay off the excessively odorous perfumes and fragrances. Some people can be allergic. You don’t want mucus spewing all over the place. Sometimes, no matter how great you think your aftershave or perfume is, it just plain stinks to others. So be considerate on this matter.

There are tons more rules and regulations to follow but in the cubicle the key is respect and consideration for others. Keep that in mind and you’ll definitely live in cubicle harmony.

James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert
articles about cubicles.