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New Cubicles, New Rules

When going from a open office layout or blended layout to a new cubicle style office, there are certain things that will have to change in regard to office etiquette. The feel of an office that is filled with cubicles is much different than one that holds traditional offices or is an open plan, and there are pros and cons to switching to a cubicle layout.

Having some clear cut rules can help keep your office running smoothly and prevent office wars or worker dissatisfaction. The rules should be fair, and applied even-handedly, and exceptions built in with a deal of forethought in case certain workers need special accommodations due to medical reasons or disability. Here are just a few things you’ll wish to consider when setting up new cubicles.

  1. Set rules about food in cubicles. An outright ban might not be the answer (especially if you have a diabetic on your payroll) but keeping hot liquids, steaming or smelly foods in the break room is reasonable – make sure you DO have a good place for workers to relax and eat their meal.
  2. Set rules about music. Earbuds or headphones may be the best option, if some workers need music to settle their thoughts and others require silence. Remember, cubicle walls are thin and tempers can get short.
  3. Set rules about decor. You want your office space to look professional, but you also need each worker to have a sense of ownership of their space. Clearly define what is and is not OK in your office.
  4. Set rules about bothering people. This may seem ridiculous to have to mention, but some people honestly don’t get that certain people may actually need the majority of their work hours to be focused on work. You could hand out a simple poster-board sign for each employee that is green on one side and red on the other to indicate if they can or cannot be disturbed. Make sure everyone has important emails in case they need to convey information or ask a question and the party they need to speak with is busy.

It may take a little trial and error to find the right tone, but hopefully these initial rules will help those working in your new cubicles to find balance.



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