Cubicle etiquette can be tricky. Cubicles exist in a strange limbo between actual offices and freestanding desks. Cubicle etiquette is all about treating your cubicle like a freestanding desk and your coworkers’ cubicles like offices.
Don’t let the walls around your desk lull you into a false sense of security. Assume that everyone in the office can hear and see everything that happens inside your cubicle. That means turning all your electronic devises to silent or vibrate mode before you even get into the office, because your coworkers don’t need to be notified of every text, email, and call you get. It also means that you should never use speakerphone in your cubicle unless absolutely necessary. Normal instinct will lead you to speak louder when you’re on speakerphone than when speaking directly into the receiver. Always try to speak as softly as you can without affecting your ability to be understood.
Never conduct a conversation you’re not comfortable having all your coworkers hear in your cubicle. Try not to eat particularly loud or odorous foods in your cubicle. Your coworkers may not enjoy the crunch of your apple or the stench of your anchovies. When decorating your cubicle, avoid anything that could possibly make anyone else in the office uncomfortable. Do not attend to any personal grooming matters that others might find offensive to watch in your cubicle. Turn off your ringer and let your phone go to voicemail when you’re away from your cubicle.
While when it comes to your cubicle it’s all about acting exactly like you would if the walls weren’t there, when it comes to your coworkers’ cubicles, it’s all about respecting the illusion of privacy that the walls create. If you see or overhear someone in another cubicle doing something or saying something that you suspect they’d be embarrassed to have you witness, pretend you witnessed nothing and never refer to it.
If a coworker is on the phone or looks particularly busy, never just wander into their cubicle unless you have a good reason. If they are on the phone, do not try to speak to them or gesture to them with hand signals. Either write them a quick note or return to your desk and send them an email. If a coworker is away from their cubicle, do not just assume that you can take something off their desk.
Office Etiquette Essentials
Grudges In The Cubicle
The Unwritten Rules of Civility