Cubicle Etiquette, Prairie Dogging and the Malodourous Lunch!

golf cubeAre the “cube mates” driving you, or someone you know, crazy?? If so, then share this serious (although somewhat humorous when you stop to think about it) advice for not tearing your hair out by the end of the day.

Because those in cubes are so visible, there is a subconscious assumption that the person is always available. Following are some guidelines for our workday life in the cubicle world:

Give Cube Mates a sense of control over their own space Knock on cube walls before speaking, even if they are only the symbolic foam partitions.  Ask permission to enter.  Avoid hovering if they’re on the phone.  “Don, we’re in close quarters, but would you mind giving me privacy when I’m on the phone? Thanks.”

Respect time and space, a.k.a. NO loitering:  Avoid conversation free-floating among people who are trying to make phone calls, read or write important documents and concentrate on their work.  Distractions can cause tremendous frustration to those who need quiet while working.  “Mary, I’m working on something right now that demands my full concentration. Thanks.”

Odors know no boundaries.  What smells good to you can turn someone else’s stomach. If you eat at your desk, take the empty containers to the trash immediately. Other annoyances that can bring on grievances are: shoes (keep them ON, please);  strong perfume (sneeze, wheeze…my sinuses just went shut); or other things that are pleasing to us but not so tolerable for the cube mates.

Be more aware of what you say and how loud you are.  Personal tiffs, weird bodily functions, clipping or tapping nails, gum popping, the radio, and particularly loud phone conversations carry over cubicle walls with a much greater noise level than we think.  Assume everyone within a four-cube radius can hear you so always avoid shouting over walls for any reason.  Take sensitive matters to a closed-door room.  Also, vibrating cell phones on your desk can jump around and be very disturbing (that includes when in meetings and during meals as well). Can you alternate lunch hours with those around you to have some quiet time?

 Avoid “Prairie Dogging”.  Heads popping up over cube walls is greatly frowned upon by those who need the privacy and respect of working in their own space uninterrupted.  “Bob, I know it’s easiest for you to talk over the wall, but would you do me a favor and come around? Thanks”

Home Sweet Home (uh, Cube):  Tastefully “framed” photos, nice plants, and meaningful knickknacks can show class. This does not include the traveling trophy I saw with only the back half of the horse on the stand (use your imagination…smile).  Everything gives an impression to others. What are your thoughts?

Stay tuned for upcoming posts!  By Rita Rocker, Transformation Academy, LLC,

At What Cost

The cost of your marketing efforts depends on many factors, including such considerations as:

  • How established is your business or have you positioned yourself successfully? (If no one has heard of your business yet, you should probably spend more.)
  • What industry are you in and what are your priority products or services? (You should have a sense of how much your competitors are spending.)
  • How much can you really afford? (Don’t spend yourself into a hole, especially today, when there are so many cheap and highly effective Web options to help you promote your business.)

After you’ve gathered all the business variables and arrived at an annual figure for marketing costs, don’t forget about other marketing-related expenses, such as market research, attending functions and trade shows, training yourself and others, and hiring experts to help you with special projects, such as improving your Web site and beefing up its content. And always allow a bit extra for the unexpected under the Contingency line item.  Learn more about marketing cost in the book “Small Business Guide to Marketing Basics

What is the Value Statement?

The best way to describe the value statement is by using the metaphor of a building’s foundation. The foundation of a home is usually made of some sturdy material like concrete blocks, no matter what home owners might do to the rest of their structure, paint, redecorate, remove a wall, add a room or an entire floor, rarely does one replace the foundation of the home. Values are like a home’s foundation. They are what exist in the company. The value statement is actually a series of words with definitions representing the organization’s core beliefs. They represent how the organization operates—how team members act with one another. Simply stated, again by the authors of Executive Directors Guide: the Guide for Successful Nonprofit Management, “Values are our beliefs in action—they guide our behavior as we take action to realize our vision and purpose (mission).”

The value statement answers the question:

  • What do we stand for?

Look at this example of a value statement from the Heinz Company: Passion: to be passionate about winning and about our brands, products and people, thereby delivering superior value to our shareholders. Risk Tolerance: to create a culture where entrepreneurship and prudent risk taking are encouraged and rewarded. Excellence: to be the best in quality and in everything we do. Motivation: to celebrate success, recognizing and rewarding the achievements of individuals and teams. Innovation: to innovate in everything, from products to processes. Empowerment: to empower our talented people to take the initiative and to do what’s right. Respect: to act with integrity and respect towards all. Typically organizations will highlight 4 to 8 values that they want to set as the standard of behavior. Each of the value words that Heinz uses above could have several definitions; they defined each the way they want their team members to understand them in their workplace. Remember, your organization determines what it values and the definition of each value.

Those definitions are what you want to highlight for your team and stakeholders. My book, “A Small Business Guide to Developing Mission, Vision, Vision, and Value Statements”