Etiquette For Office Cubicles

Etiquette for office cubicles

According to the American Time Use Survey, the average American spends nearly nine hours a day at work, which means his or her office space easily qualifies as a home away from home.

And because today’s offices are often in the form of cubicles or open configurations, it’s important that our behavior and habits in these spaces are healthy ones, supporting a friendly yet professional work environment.

Table of Contents

Don’t Barge In

Don’t barge into cubicles. Knock on the inside of the cubicle wall and even say “knock, knock” or “Is this is a good time to interrupt?”

It’s a simple way to prevent surprising an individual who may be deep in thought and also gives the cube dweller the opportunity to decline a conversation if the timing is inconvenient.

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Do Be Mindful Of Sound

Speaker phones pick up unintended noises and broadcast beyond the walls of your cubicle, thus interrupting and annoying your co-workers. If you love talking hands-free, use a headset. Voices carry so easily in cubicle settings and if you know you tend to have a louder-than-normal voice, pay attention to your volume in the office.

Don’t Yell Across The Cubicles

Standing at your desk and yelling for a co-worker located a few cubes away is a sure-fire way to annoy and interrupt your fellow employees. Get up and take a short walk in order to connect with someone else. You’ll earn a few steps on your fitness tracker and your coworkers won’t be rolling their eyes.

It’s more than okay to collaborate with your neighbors, but take a quick look at the coworkers around you before launching yourself into a deep, loud conversation. If someone nearby is on the phone or clearly trying to focus on his or her work, turn your voice down to a whisper or take your conversation somewhere else.

Do Respect Others’ Workspaces

Avoid popping into others’ cubicles and parking yourself in an open seat. Don’t interpret an “open door” policy as a “no door” choice. Cubicles have made it easy to walk by someone, interrupt them, and start chatting. Don’t interrupt them if they seem busy. Prior to starting a conversation, take a second to ask them if now is a good time to talk. Remember that in the modern workplace, distractions kill productivity more than anything else.

Waltzing right up to someone who is focused on their work can startle them, and it can totally derail their train of thought too. Rather than barging in without warning, take an extra two seconds to knock on your coworker’s cubicle wall or on a nearby filing cabinet to alert them to your presence. Not only will this prevent you from giving them a fright, but it will also give them the opportunity to turn you down if they’re too busy to talk at that time.

Do Keep The Smells To A Minimum

Whether it’s a good smell or a bad smell, strong odors can have some seriously negative effects on the people around you. Although you may think that leftover tuna smells great, your coworker may want to throw up at the slightest whiff of fish. And while that new cologne or lotion may smell like heaven on earth to you, your neighbor may be susceptible to headaches from strong perfumes. Do them all a favor and keep smelly foods confined to the breakroom while using lotions that have little to no scent.


It’s the golden rule of life—treat others as you want to be treated. Well, the same goes for your behavior in the office. Whether you work in a cubicle or in an open workspace, follow these basic etiquette rules to treat your coworkers with the respect that’s expected in a business setting. If you want to improve your office space with new cubicles, contact us immediately. Our expert team is standing by to help you.