I’m one who believes in a casual dress code. Employees should have the right to express themselves at work. So I don’t pretend to be the etiquette police when it comes to the office. However, when you’re spending as many hours as you do with your coworkers, there are certain bits of good behavior you should consider.
It’s tempting to treat your cubicle like an extension of your living room, but you may be bothering the people around you. Let’s go over some of the basics.
- Food – It’s one thing to have some protein bars in your drawer, but a leftover piece of cake or other open food items are a problem. You don’t want a bug infestation or bad smells wafting from your desk. And if you brought tuna for lunch, try to take it over to the lunchroom or break lounge.
- Hygiene – Clipping your toe nails is one of those boring rudimentary tasks that might feel like something you can just while you’re working, but it’s generally not something people want to watch or hear.
- Ringtones – Is there anything more grating than when someone walk away and leaves their phone behind only to have it go off and subject everyone to an ear-piercing ringtone? Make sure your phone is on vibrate or off, especially during meetings, where distractions like this can cause real tension.
You’re not going to be perfect, and you’re not going to avoid annoying your coworkers or getting annoyed by them at some point, but you can keep it to a minimum. Next week we’ll talk about some things you can do to clean up your email act.
Michael Alter, payroll expert with an MBA from Harvard Business School, is a nationally recognized spokesperson providing thought-leadership and sensible advice to help accounting and payroll professionals build deeper more profitable relationships with clients. Alter, President of SurePayroll, writes the Trade Secrets column on INC.com and is frequently published in Bloomberg TV, the Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur Magazine.