6 Essential Rules of Workplace Etiquette
by Jeff Carmack
Unless you’re a wildly successful blogger (or maybe Seth MacFarlane) and can work at home you go to an office every day. And if you’re like most office drones you work in a cubicle (sometimes referred to as a cube or, more accurately, sensory deprivation chamber).
If you work in a cube you can’t exactly sit around in your underwear—unless you look like Scarlett Johansson. And if you do in fact look like SJ, chances are you aren’t working in an office.
My point is, if you do work in an office, there are some unwritten rules of etiquette you should follow if you don’t want your co-workers to Super Glue your phone to your desk or spike your kombucha the week before your mandatory piss test.
Etiquette—especially in an office setting—is more than knowing which fork to use. In the workplace, good manners set you apart as a professional: lacking good manners may suggest that you’re not ready for prime time…and that you’re also kind of a dick.
To get along in the workplace remember these basic rules:
- Respect co-workers’ privacy—Don’t interrupt people without a good reason. Don’t eavesdrop on—or insert yourself into—their conversations, and for sure do not get into other peoples’ bidness. Yeah, your co-worker totally got robbed paying that much for his house (in that neighborhood?) but he doesn’t need to hear it from you, Mr. Smarty-Fuck.
- Watch your volume—You’re sharing a workplace, so make an effort to keep your voice down to avoid disturbing others. Sure you’re happy that your rash went away but your co-workers don’t want to hear the details.
- Cell phones—Speaking of keeping your voice down, this rule is especially important when you’re on your mobile phone. When talking on a cell phone many people use a volume that is more appropriate for tin cans on a string; this is not good when you’re discussing how many Dos Equis (or strippers…or both) you pounded last weekend. Remember what your mom told you and use your “inside voice.
- Turn your ringer off, maybe—In addition to keeping your voice down, either keep your phone with you when you leave your veal pen or TURN OFF YOUR RINGER. If your neighbors have to listen to that fucking Carly Jepsen ringtone one more time don’t be surprised if your Android do-dad accidentally falls into the recycling bin.
- Clean up—Keeping your desk or workspace clean and uncluttered and projects a professional image and shows that you’re able to organize your work and your attitude. If nothing else, it will make it easier to find your car keys for a quick escape at 5 o’clock.
- Food—Just like keeping your voice and your ringtone to yourself try to do the same with food smells. To you it’s Vegan Delight; to the guy next door it’s compost. You don’t have to give up eating what you love just be mindful of those around you who have to smell it.
Following these suggestions doesn’t guarantee you a corner office—in fact, it might not even win you an invitation to happy hour with your co-workers. But if you do fail your piss test, you’ll have no one but yourself to blame.