The 3 S’s of Open Office Etiquette – Business Etiquette

Office distractions fall under the following 3 S’s:


•Keep your voice low when talking to others.

•Ensure your mobile phone is on silent or on low volume.

•Avoid irritating ring tones e.g. a baby crying

•Don’t use the speakerphone/speaker dial when you have others around you.

•If you want to listen to music-use headphones-don’t hum to the tune.

•Be aware of distracting noises such as popping your chewing gum, slurping your coffee, chomping on food, constant clicking of a pen.

•Stop spreading gossip or even listening to it.

•Don’t discuss your break-up with your boyfriend or awful mother-in-law for all to hear.


•When entering a colleague’s work area-announce yourself and ask if you may “come in”.

•“Prairie Dogging” or peeking over the divider to chat to your colleague is unprofessional and a distraction to others around you. Don’t hang a tie, jacket, bag over the cubicle wall.

•Ensure your desk is respectfully decorated. Don’t display potentially offensive pictures/slogans/coffee mugs. Keep family pics to a minimum and leave the fluffy toys at home.

•Maintain your workspace neat and tidy-its an extension of your personal brand. The excuse of “I know where everything is”-does not cut it anymore.


•Keep fragrances to a minimum. Don’t be known as the “Aramis” guy or the “Red Door girl”.

•Practise great personal hygiene-especially if you are a smoker or suffer from excessive sweating.

•Avoid eating smelly foods at your desk e.g. slap chips, curry, garlic bread. Always keep breath mints on you.

•Beware of taking your shoes off under your desk-even though you may think that nobody can see you, -those around you will definitely smell sweaty feet.
At all times remember that when working in an open plan area you need to create a balance between being accessible to your colleagues and maintaining boundaries when you need to focus on work. It’s about treating others with the same respect and consideration you’d like to be treated with–this is a sure way to maintain a harmonious workspace.



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