There are certain habits that one has at home that should not be brought into Cube Land. We all have our habits and though we may disagree on what’s acceptable in our personal lives, the workplace is a different story as there are certain things that just do not belong in it at all. There is always the problem with the exposed belly for example (or the butt cleavage!). Then there are those things that I had thought were even more obvious but obviously they weren’t.
Smacking bubble gum
At one job in New York City I sat next to a woman who smacked her bubble gum all day long. It drove me out of my mind – but I kindly asked her to stop and she kindly did. Reading work-related forums I discovered that many office workers had the same problem with “smacker co-worker” but that the overall the smackers were not as receptive to their suggestions as my co-worker was. Bubble gum smacking is without a doubt not acceptable in the workplace:
- It is evidence of a lack of consideration for others
- It distracts or annoys those around the smacker, causing tension in the workplace
- It definitely will not impress anyone who’s on the other end of a nearby phone conversation
- It is unprofessional because it is something more closely associated with a careless attitude, such as that of teenagers. This does not fit well in adult settings, especially not in a work setting.
Talking over speaker phone
It doesn’t matter if it is for 30 seconds, it doesn’t matter what the reason is. When we’re sharing an open or semi-open space with other people we need to consider their space as much as we hope they will consider ours. The person sitting next to us might be in the middle of important work or maybe taking a minute to relax before starting on a major project or speaking on the phone themselves.
Having a conversation on speaker phone is inappropriate because:
- It is inconsiderate of others’ space and says that the person having the conversation on speaker puts his/her needs above his/her co-workers’
- It may cause others to start having conversations on speaker phone and then it will be chaos if everyone starts doing it
- The person on the other end of the line might say something embarrassing or that requires discretion
This was a major issue in my first job, when I shared my desk with a loud yacker. This particular specimen spent half her days on the phone talking about her newborn twins and laughing out loud as she leaned back on her chair. I hoped that her chair would flip backwards and that somehow she’d break her tongue.
Why this is bad:
- This too is inconsiderate
- The loud “yakker” will become undesirable company; if they’re this loud in an office, can you only imagine when this person is in a restaurant or a bar?! There goes their invitation to happy hour.
- This will eventually bring disconcerting personal affairs into the workplace
Public performance of personal hygiene
These days there are people from all over the place living everywhere and cultural clashes occur. Some things are ok in one place but highly offensive in others. I am only familiar with Anglo-Saxon, Latin and other Western European cultures so here I can only speak for them, where the following habits are not acceptable in public areas of the workplace (please comment if you’d like to add or protest something):
- Cleaning your teeth. This should be done solely in the bathroom. Sucking your teeth to clean them goes in this category too.
- Manually cleaning your nasal passages (picking your nose). This should never, under any circumstances be performed in front of others anywhere. This is highly offensive and will outcast the worker doing this. If you have to find 1 thing not to do, this is it.
- Filing your nails. Doing this at your desk will irritate co-workers, spread nail dust all over the place and make you look like you’ve got nothing to do.
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