Understanding The Office Space: What You Can Do, What You Can't & What To Avoid At All Costs
It’s like a second home…right?
If you think about it, we spend more time awake in the office than we do at home. More or less, we’re consciously working for at least nine hours a day only to go home to have dinner, clean up and sleep. With that logic, shouldn’t we feel—and act—like the office is our second home?
What you can do
Use the comfort room
Offices tend to have communal comfort rooms, but it’s fine to do your business there. There’s no need to be shy or hold out until you get home. Just be careful to clean up after yourself and remember that someone else will use the toilet and/or sink after you—that means no mouth residue or wet seats.
Use the supplies
If you need a stapler, get one. If you need paperclips, they’re yours for the taking. Need a couple of pens? No worries. Don’t hesitate stocking up on things that you need on a daily basis. Just remember that you might have to note what you take from the stock room, as a free-for-all system depends on your office’s system.
Most employees are required to render at least 9 hours between clocking in and clocking out, but you should remember that you’re entitled to and should take breaks. There’s the standard lunch hour, but an afternoon mini-break is acceptable as well, as long as you can still finish your day’s tasks.
Decorate your desk
Your desk is your space and you’re allowed to make it look and feel like yours. Hang up a reasonably-sized poster, house a small plant, hang a photo and maybe bring in an action figure or two. As long as it isn’t distracting to your co-workers and too attention-grabbing, you should be good to go.
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What you can’t
Bring home office supplies
Don’t treat the office like your own personal National Bookstore. The supplies that are provided to you are not for your family’s use, so keep the items you take within the office’s vicinity.
Being friends with your officemates is a good—and even encouraged—thing, but the office is not your personal hangout space. If you want to chat with people and share a few laughs, you can do so but not at a volume that disturbs everyone else.
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Pass on your work to someone else
We all have a lot to do and we all need a little help now and again, but remember your job description. If it’s within your scope of responsibility and you have the time to finish it, don’t dump your work on someone else.
And what to avoid at all costs
Play loud music
You’re free to play music in the office, especially if you work better with it in the background. The thing is, your seatmate might prefer the silence. So plug in your earphones instead of taking advantage of your speakers—and while we’re at it, just remember: The office is not a karaoke bar.
Unwrap strong-smelling food
When the stomach calls, you can and should answer it. But if you’re craving for something more than chips and some peanuts, make sure you take your snack to the pantry.
No matter how close you get to your colleagues and how lax it is in the office, there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed. Remember, at its core, it’s still a professional space.