Sometimes, the mechanics of workstation privacy aren’t as important as the social aspects. That’s the point Chris at the LockerGnome makes in his response to a question about cubicle etiquette. Loretta asks what she can do (other than screaming at or killing her coworkers) to gain some respect for her personal space at work. When everyone works together to create a polite and considerate atmosphere, even thin or low cubicle walls can be bearable. The basics are simple. Don’t barge in to someone else’s cube, keep your voice down, stay tidy, avoid smelly foods.
What Chris doesn’t address is how to help your coworkers follow these guidelines. Setting an example is a good start. But you may also find it necessary to have a few awkward but frank discussions with top offenders as well. Yes, that’s one key to workstation privacy. Simply say, “Hey, Fred. I like to make sure I keep in touch with my coworkers. But I’ve been having trouble staying focused on work lately when people drop by my cubicle to talk. Maybe we can catch up around the water cooler instead?”
How do you set good boundaries or teach coworkers good manners? Let us know in the comments.