Inside: Cubicle etiquette you need to know when decorating your work space + printables.

If you have recently been welcomed into the wonderful world of office work, that’s awesome! I remember my first office job; my first thought as soon as I got to my cubicle was, “Okay, what can I do to fix this space?”. If you relate to this, then chances are you are in the right place.

I have so many awesome cubicle decor ideas, but before you even begin to start down that road, there are a few important things to go over. Cubicle etiquette is very much a thing, and you must abide by it if you want to have a healthy work environment!

Cubicle etiquette tips you need to know + printable. Photo of woman sitting in cubicle.

Most of the time, your place of work will let you know what is and is not allowed in the workplace, but I wanted to make a list of some things that they may have missed. Below I will walk you through everything you need to know about cubicle etiquette and how to decorate your space while respecting the place you work.

 Cubicle Etiquette 101

This first list is dedicated to how you should act within your workspace. The rules below will help you be the best coworker that you can be. After you have a good understanding of these, we will move on to cubicle decor etiquette. There is a lot to learn, but I know you can do this! Here is a printable PDF you can have on hand while settling.

1. Don’t Damage Your Space – This goes without saying(a lot of this might, but it’s still helpful to read them), but you can not do anything to your cubicle that will damage the space. That means to not add anything with screws, rearranging permanent furniture, and things of that sort.

2. Don’t Let Food Go Bad – You are allowed to keep food in your cubicle, but that food needs to be shelf stable. You don’t want to be known as the stinky cubicle; in fact, you can get in trouble for it! So I would only keep snacks that are in wrappers, like granola bars or non-perishables like that.

3. Don’t Be Too Loud – You have to keep in mind that you will be in an open workspace. It may feel like it’s your own little world, but in reality, your sound will carry. So be mindful of how loud you speak. If you come from a loud home as I do, I would recommend practicing a good indoor voice until you get the hang of it.

4. Don’t Light Candles – It might be really tempting to set your space with candles, but they are a fire hazard and cause air pollution. As sad as it is, if everybody got to light candles, the whole office would be smokey. It wouldn’t be a great time, so just don’t do it.

5. Don’t Use Strong Scents – Okay, so candles are out of the question, but what about plug-in scents and sprays? Those are a no-no as well! You don’t know what kind of allergies your coworkers have, and since you are in such close proximity, you may want to consider just picking very light mild scents.

6. Be Mindful Of Noise Pollution – When you are listening to music, make sure you have your headphones on. The same goes if you are watching a video while at work

7. Don’t Use Speakerphone – This one is a follow-up to the idea above. If you are working with a client or talking to someone on the phone, don’t use the speakerphone. Believe it or not, people can absolutely hear you talking, and it can disrupt their work.

8. Don’t Look Over Into Other People’s WorkSpaces – I think as you spend more time in the office, you will understand why this is an unspoken rule. Your cubicle is your own little safe space, and when people come and peer into yours without permission, it doesn’t feel great. Respect people’s boundaries, even when they are 4-foot tall foam walls.

Cubicle decor etiquette. Photo of cubicle with streamers.

Cubicle Decor Etiquette

Decorating your cubicle is such a fun part of working in an office. You get to make that grey space your own! If you are anything like me, you probably already have a Pinterest board worth of ideas on improving it(I have more ideas surrounding that here), but there are some guidelines you must follow. Let’s discuss it.

9. Keep It Respectful – Stay away from really graphic photos or any kind of inappropriate art. It can be easy to accidentally offend someone walking by with art that we don’t realize is inappropriate. Everyone has different standards, so as a good rule of thumb, keep it PG-13.

10. Don’t Do Anything Permanent – This means no painting the walls or permanently altering your space on that kind of level at all. You may not be in this cubicle forever, and you don’t want to have to pay for any damages.

11. Don’t Use Anything That Can Be A Hazard – This means avoid using things like space heaters, candles, wax melters, or anything that can be hazardous to you and the people around you.

12. Keep Your Space Tidy – Keeping your desk tidy is a very important part of cubicle etiquette. You don’t want everyone to see your mess. What’s more, you are not going to feel ready to work if your workspace is not clean and clear. Clean space, clean mind.

13. Don’t Get Into Politics with Your Decor – Just don’t do it.

14. Only Use Appropriate Work Photos of Friends and Family – If you like to party on the weekends, that’s great. Just make sure you keep your personal photos professional.

More Office Decor Etiquette. Photo of person in office with plants and decor.

More Office Decor Etiquette

15. Use Motivational Quotes To Get You Through – Using motivational quotes will help improve your work day!

16. Don’t Use Any Decor That Will Pop Over the Top Of Your Cubicle – So you should avoid any tall decor. No fake trees or anything like that.

17. Don’t Add Real Plants That Will Cause Water Damage – Speaking of fake trees, you should really only have fake plants in the office. They will have a hard time surviving without sunlight, and on top of that, the water that is needed for care can cause water damage.

18. Only Add Low Lighting – You may be tempted to add more of your own lighting to your space; just make sure that you are adding low lighting, like twinkle lights.

19. Don’t Replace Company Property – As ugly as the baseline computer monitor is, you can’t replace company property.

20. Don’t Let Your Decor Affect Your Coworkers – If one of your coworkers comes to you with a complaint, hear them out.

21. Have Fun Decorating!

Being welcomed into an office can be a wonderful fresh start in your life, but there is still a lot to learn. With proper care, you will have an awesome experience working in the corporate world. You will learn(like I did), that there are so many ways that you can make your 40 hours more enjoyable, and that starts with your cubicle!

I have so many other amazing ideas you can use as inspiration as you make your little office corner feel like your home away from home. Now that you understand the dos and don’ts of cubicle etiquette, I think you are ready to jump into the fun stuff!

This is the best place to start, but there is plenty more where this came from!

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