Best Practices, Life, Rambles

The Office Space

Click, click, click. Tap. Tap. Ding. Humming of the AC. Someone getting coffee. White noise of the office space is sometimes interrupted by a cough or chatter of a colleague. One of the biggest challenges I have faced (or am facing) is adapting to the office environment. For someone that is easily distracted it is not the smoothest transition. Learning what is acceptable and expected is also part of the transition process.

My question for today, what is office etiquette? Office culture plays a role, but there are standards consistent with most offices. A quick web search reveals a few consistencies:

  • Given that it is flu season, stay home if you are sick!
  • Personal phone calls are just that, personal. Keep it brief and your volume to a minimum. (I will add that professional phone calls should also be at a respectable volume. Your office mates have work to do too and if you are too boisterous in your enthusiasm for professional phone interaction it is distracting.)
  • Eating at your desk, or even in communal space, was a topic addressed on several lists- so much so that it had sub-points.
    • Crunchy, splatter, slurp noise are not pleasant or mannerly. (I agree. Major pet peeve for me.)
    • Clean up after yourself. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, or crumbs on the table.
    • While you may be looking forward to leftover sea food, your office mates are not going to enjoy the smell nearly as much. (Avoid smelly foods in general.)
  • Reply All. Wonderful feature, but ask yourself if everyone really needs your response.
  • Calendar usage. Well, use it and don’t forget to communicate changes. Your colleagues have to plan their day too.

As I perused resources on the webernets I am reminded of my former classroom rules. I really only had one, but most administrators wanted to see three. I improvised.

  1. Be respectful.
  2. Be responsible.
  3. Be resourceful.

The same three things can apply to any office.

Be respectful to yourself, your company, and your colleagues. Dress professionally, keep positive, focus on your responsibilities. Be nice to your co-workers, respecting their space, their responsibilities, and their work.

Be responsible. Arrive on time. Set goals. Strive to reach them.

Be resourceful. Use the resources available to you. (I have to admit, I’m still trying to figure this one out. What is protocol and who are my resources?)

If you think about it, everything really fits in the respect category.  If you are being resourceful and responsible, that is respect. Mind rambles for thought . . .


Live life. Give joy. Be at peace.

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