What is it about the office cubicle?
For some people, it’s a sanctuary, a haven of productivity — or at least a good place to hang up that picture of the beach that motivates you to keep plugging away.
For others, it’s an excuse to behave badly. Maybe it’s because cubicles offer the illusion of privacy, but don’t actually have ceilings, or maybe it’s some sort of cabin fever. But whatever the reason, the cubicle environment can inspire some truly heinous crimes against general rules of office etiquette.
Here are a few of our (least) favorite cubicle crimes you might be committing right now, without even knowing it.
1. Acting Like Your Cubicle Is a Soundproof Zone.
People of the workplace, hear our cry: We can hear you. We really can. Your cell phone is not a magical cell phone that buffers sound. Your cubicle walls are not made of enchanted burlap. Everyone in the office can hear every word of your fight with your mom, and we are definitely judging you over it. The same goes for your music. We are proud of you for your excellent musical taste, but we still don’t want to hear it.
2. Eating a Stinky Lunch; Claiming It Is Not Stinky.
Here is a thing that has actually happened to us before in an office. A neighbor, who spent an hour every day leisurely consuming what had to be an unholy combination of fish paste, hard-boiled eggs, and gently used underpants, started complaining about our coworker’s penchant for split pea soup. Miraculously, we did not respond by throwing her over our desk, “Real Housewives” style. But that would have been an appropriate response.
Gossip is why the gods of the interwebs created instant messenger. I know, you thought it was a productivity tool. It is. Its existence means that you can catch up with your best friend in the next cubicle without yelling your news over our heads, which makes us more productive. Sure, there’s a chance you’re being monitored, but you can fix that by only saying totally delightful things about the boss in between slandering everyone else you know.
4. Using Email Badly.
Listen, we might not always have email to kick around. The least you can do is be nice to it during the last few years of its usefulness. The usual do’s and don’ts apply here: Do ask yourself if this email is really necessary. Do not write in all caps. Do not forward anything, ever, unless it’s work-related. Yes, that baby kitten is very cute. No, your coworkers don’t all have time to watch it fall off a shelf over and over again.
5. Doing Anything Inappropriate at Your Desk.
This includes sleeping, drinking alcohol, looking at verboten websites, and even singing. There are probably loads more than what we’ve listed here, so a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if the activity is better suited to a room in your home rather than your cubicle, and go from there.