As much as we might love to have a private, quiet, corner office with a locking door, overlooking expansive views of the park or the ocean, most of us work in an office environment with significant shared space. It’s so easy to become relaxed over time with this shared space and fail to remember that we do interact with others, like it or not. Here are a few guidelines to help maintain civility and a respectful workplace.

  1. Refrain from wearing too much cologne or perfume. If everyone knows you’re “in the building” because of your Shalimar, it’s too strong.
  2. Last night’s pizza reheated in the microwave is going to smell like, well, last night’s pizza. Restrict food odors to a designated kitchen/dining area or refrain from eating smelly foods altogether.
  3. Keep the volume down. Other people in the office are concentrating on their own business. Listening to a one-sided conversation or loud music is inconsiderate to your associates. Put yourself in their shoes before turning up the boom box or carrying on private telephone conversations.
  4. Dress appropriately. Just because you may not be seeing clients that day, other colleagues in your office may be. Your attire reflects the respect the office in general has of any visiting clients. Don’t allow sloppiness to reflect poorly on the company as a whole.
  5. No bullying! If you need to correct a subordinate or lodge a complaint, do so in private. Belittling someone is public is unacceptable and mean-spirited.

By following these guidelines, an open plan work space can be a congenial productive environment to achieve all of your goals and ambitions!

This is part of a new series on etiquette in the workplace. Read previous posts here.