Having spent a few years in cubicles I’ve learned a few rules of etiquette that I’d like to pass on for the benefit of cubicle dwellers everywhere. I’m far from perfect and find myself breaking these rules more often than I’d like, so this is a reminder to me as well as a recommendation for others.
Rule #1 – Don’t ask unnecessary questions
Before distracting someone else with your question, what about a quick search on google, a brief perusal of some documentation or looking it up in a book? If you try to figure out the answer and still need to ask, you can email it to them. It’s much less intrusive and they can answer the question when it’s a good time for them. When you ask a question they have to stop what they’re doing, figure out what you’re asking and then attempt to answer it. When they’re done, they have to try to remember what they were doing. It can be quite time consuming, especially if they were right in the middle of a complicated task. If you make a habit of asking lots of questions, you will end up reducing everyone’s productivity and people will probably not be very anxious to help you with legitimate issues.
Rule #2 – Wear headphones if you want to listen to music
Everyone has their own musical tastes and there is no reason for one person to inflict their preferences on others. I’m not just talking about music from the speakers either. A ripe raspberry (often the result of musical fruit) can be odiferous and very distracting. Humming can also get on other people’s nerves, especially if it’s done off key. Try not to distract those who are trying to work, even if it’s a great tune.
Rule #3 – Talk softly when a friend is visiting
If someone has dropped by to say hello, be considerate of the other folks who don’t have any friends visiting them. They’re already not too keen on the idea that you have friends and they don’t, why antagonize them by being loud about it?