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8 Ways to Mind Your Office Manners

8 Ways to Mind Your Office Manners

Allison Ford | Divine Caroline

4. Mind Your Cell Phone Manners
If you need to take or make an extended call on your cell phone, either step outside or go to a quiet area so that your coworkers aren’t distracted by the conversation. Also make sure to keep your phone’s ringer set to quiet or vibrate. Nothing’s more annoying than having to listen to someone’s phone play a “Love Shack” ringtone over and over because she’s in a meeting and can’t answer it.

5. Stay Home If You’re Ill
Everyone appreciates dedication, but if you can’t make it through the day without coughing, wheezing, sneezing, or retching, just stay home. Not only can it be distracting to spend all day listening to the sounds of illness, but no matter how much Lysol you spray around your desk, you’re bound to leave some germs around, and your coworkers don’t want to get sick. Not everyone has the ability to take time off for each little sniffle, but when you feel genuinely rotten, do everyone a favor and take a sick day.

6. Be Brief in the Bathroom
While few people would object to their coworkers’ flossing after meals or touching up makeup before leaving for the day, the bathroom is not a place to hang out in interminably. It’s not a place in which to have private conversations with another coworker, engage in plucking, tweezing, or other kinds of personal grooming, or make personal phone calls.

7. Try Not to Interrupt
It’s great to be friendly with your coworkers, but everyone has a job to do, so it can be irritating to be <a href=“”" target="_blank">" target="_blank">constantly pinged with email forwards, bombarded by personal conversations, invited to look at pictures of someone’s new baby, or deal with other non-business-related interruptions. People do tend to naturally socialize at certain times of the day—like first thing in the morning, during lunch, and at the end of the day—so try to bond with your team during these moments when people are most likely to be up for a conversation. Constant interruptions can make your coworkers view your adorable-animal videos as mere annoyances.

8. Deodorize
I once worked in an office where the kitchen featured a large sign warning, “DO NOT REHEAT FISH IN MICROWAVE.” Apparently, people were tired of experiencing the accumulated smells of a floor’s worth of lunches. Odor travels in an office, and your coworkers will appreciate any efforts not to overwhelm them with any of your personal scents. If you fancy a midday workout, make sure to freshen up before you return to your desk—and dousing yourself in perfume or cologne won’t cut it, since many people are more bothered by those scents than they are by gym funk. You may enjoy keeping fragrant flowers at your desk, but your neighbor with allergies could find them a nuisance. And while what you bring for lunch is a personal decision, know that if you insist on microwaving swordfish fillets, chicken curry, or last night’s liver and onions, you may not receive many invitations to dine with your coworkers in the break room.

The office isn’t so different from any other public space—if you exercise respect and discretion, there’s no reason why everyone can’t get along just fine. As long as you refrain from discussing last night’s party at your desk, your coworker will be more likely to keep her cell phone quiet—in theory, that is. There will probably always be one person who scratches inappropriately and can’t remember to get his dishes out of the sink, but as long as you follow these words of advice, at least it won’t be you.

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