Jun 24, 2012

Cubiculture Do's and Don'ts


Mergers and acquisitions necessitate real estate consolidation, reduce the corporate footprint, and well.....send people home to work "VO" (virtual office).  For those not so fortunate that remain in the lifeless walls of the cubicle under the parawedge louvres, this is for you.

The cubicle was invented by Robert Propst in 1968.  He worked for Herman Miller as a designer. The designs were  a "one size fits all" concept. Corporations have come a long way. We now have the higher walls for privacy, half walls for interaction, green products, noise barriers, etc.

Some companies have adopted the open concept where 2-4 workers may sit facing each other with no barriers. The idea is to facilitate an "honest" and more productive environment eliminating web browsing and conversations with the butcher, the baker, and the candle stick maker. This is a rational concept unless the four employees are comedians, deviants, or just plain disruptive. Which brings me to the point of the article.

With all of the advancements in office design, there continues to be noise, unpleasant and invasive odors, and conversations that you would rather not hear. Because the topic is popular, I will be brief and outline the do's and don'ts for sanity in cubiculture. There are so many; however, the ones below are basic and should be posted in your daily dwelling


Noise - Do Eliminate it - This includes much more than chatter. If you have faux nails, please do not hammer them on the computer keys or tablet. Food noise - If you must eat at your desk, cube, or open area, you are the only one enjoying the crunch. I sat next to a colleague that would bring a small bag of carrots to work and nibble on them from 8:00 to 5:00. She could get five bites from a 3" carrot. Do be respectful of your colleagues and talk in a voice that may require you to repeat what you just said.

Food and eating in your "area"- Don't. Everyone needs to break away from the grind. The steamer on the credenza is one way to stick to your rice diet; however, I am sure there are options for precooking. Don't Mike Tyson, Fry Daddy, or Betty Crocker in the cubicle.

Dress the part - Even if your cubicle is in the back where there is no traffic, don't wear the same thing you wear to the pool. Don't do the walk of shame and wear the same thing you did the day before....NEVER DO THIS. Don't mix seasons aka Uggs w/ shorts unless you work on set with the Dukes of Hazard. Your peers will respect you much more if you Do dress appropriately for your industry, use an effective antiperspirant, cover that cleavage or bulge! 

Share expectations - Do ask your colleagues to be mindful of their surroundings. This can be done with professionalism and candor. Refrain from rude tactics as I have. Remember the carrot eater? This drove me to putting a pink bunny on her desk asking her to close her mouth when eating. This didn't end in a positive working relationship.

Until we figure out the right balance and design for the perfect, productive, and professional office environment, consider the above suggestions.  
Hope





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