How to Behave at the Office without Bothering the Others

If there was a textbook on how to behave at the office, it would probably have addendum’s every day. We are not going to debate now whether it’s good or not to have an open office, nor the advantages and disadvantages of each – we are just going to “analyse” the scenario needed for survival.

How to Behave at the Office

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Of course you don’t need this at your office; the stuff enumerated below is a pamphlet and should be treated as such. Or not.

What can you do, so you don’t bother your co-workers, especially in an open space:

  • first, be quiet. Treat your colleagues as if they are working  and need to concentrate on their job;
  • don’t engage into calls, video-calls on speaker. If you need to do it, use the conference rooms (if there are enough) or use head-phones. NOT the speaker. You can set a meeting with the other colleagues, without bothering everyone else. The same goes for two persons engaged in a dialogue and the other 15 in “copy” for being nearby;
  • if you are sick, but still at the office (though I don’t understand why aren’t you at home), don’t sneeze/cough on everyone like spreading blessings. It’s contagious and you’ll start a domino show. The cold/flu is contagious, not the blessing, no worries here;
  • I am a fan of the “work buzz”, it gives me a feeling of a “lively” office, but this doesn’t mean listening to music at an unreasonable volume. The most hatred music style for you might be someone else’s favorite. You can all choose a broadcast that has a neutral music, accepted by everyone;
  • a pleasant environment is something every employee desires, but the stadium like noises when scoring at fuss-ball, well, they are not as enjoyable;
  • when you walk up to someone to interrupt, ask first if they have time for you. Maybe they are busy and also have something to do, but they simply can’t tell you to your face. It’s hard when you don’t have door knob (or a door) to hang the “Do not disturb” sign on;
  • DON’t make a constant disturbance for the whole building out of your mobile. I don’t mean necessarily the ring tone or the tons of notifications set on high volume, while you can set it on a lower volume or vibrate mode, but especially to that awful tune you chose. It doesn’t matter if it’s personal or company phone, it’s still annoying;
  • use a lower tone of voice. The calling “Girlllfriendddd” can set hysteria among 30 people around you;
  • even if you find relaxing to use your pen as metronome, or doing some clapping push-ups, for the others it isn’t;
  • if someone (or more than one), tells you that they are annoyed by you, better take into consideration the feedback and act on it;
  • you’d better not stink. Wow, that sounds bad. I know it’s a sensitive subject, rarely approached, but try not to carry onions under your armpits;
  • let’s stay within smell theme – minced meat stuffed cabbage or boiled eggs and smoked fish on a bed of garlic served on the keyboard, aren’t highly appreciated;
  • learn to do your job ignoring outside distraction, it helps a lot to focus on your tasks;
  • respect other colleagues’ privacy. If someone speaks on the phone in a lower voice, don’t lean over their desk to listen to a private conversation;
  • Be patient.

When you are in a public transport vehicle, you are bothered by some of the aspects mentioned above, but chances are, you are bothered by the same little things at the office.

Generally speaking, living in a community involves peaceful cohabitation with the others. It’s like living in a block of flats. If you don’t like it, you can move to a house, in a remote area.

The recommendations listed above don’t apply for managers, of course. You can’t be a manager and tell other they can’t smoke, while gesturing with a lit cigarette in your hand.

Good luck cohabiting!

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