What NOT to Do in Your New Office

You got a promotion! For years, you drooled over the idea of being a boss, and now you finally are one. Congratulations!

Your advancement has brought you many gifts: a better salary, better benefits, a better title, and most importantly, a better workspace. Now, you have your very own office, in which you have the privacy to do anything you want ― almost. Your personal office may be separated from your subordinates, but that doesn’t mean your co-workers won’t notice when you are misusing company time and property.

Here are a few simple rules that will help make sure you, as a proud owner of a brand-new office space, don’t abuse your privileges.

Don’t Play Music

You might have walls surrounding your desk instead of carpet-covered cardboard, but that doesn’t mean every sound you make is silent to those outside your office. The vast majority of spaces are far from soundproof, so when you play music you can be sure the rest of the workplace can hear it. If you must have your tunes, you should stick to private listening devices, like earbuds or headphones.

Don’t Shout at Passers-by

Before your great ascension, when you wanted to speak with a co-worker, how did you get their attention? Most likely, you used a digital method ― email or IM ― or else walked calmly and quietly to their workspace to chat. Those practices work just as well now that you have a private space. Being a big boss doesn’t entitle you to be a lazy bum; shouting at those outside your door is disruptive and disrespectful.

Don’t Try to Smoke

You can close your door, you can shut your blinds, but you can’t disguise the noxious smell of cigarette smoke that leaches into the rest of the office. Smoking indoors is definitely illegal, and there is no way to hide it even when you have a private space. A better solution is to switch to e-cigarettes or a vaporizer if your state allows vaping indoors; otherwise, you should just head outside during your breaks like you always have.

Don’t Make Fragrant Foods

There are certain foods that should never find their way into the workplace: hard-boiled eggs, bacon, popcorn, seafood of any type, expensive cheese, cheap curry ― the list goes on. These foods stink so terribly that they kill productivity by sending workers fleeing for fresh air. Like tobacco cigarettes, there is no way to hide the stench of these foods from your fellow workers, even if you manage to keep your lunch concealed in your office instead of the break room or kitchen. It’s best to save fragrant foods for dinners at home and eat pleasantly neutral meals at work.

Don’t Be a Slob

Your office might be your private space, but it isn’t as private as your apartment or even your car. Your subordinates and your superiors both see the space, which means it can function as a reflection of your management style and work ability. If your workspace is perpetually messy ― desk dusted with papers, floor drowning in take-out boxes ― you don’t look good. You should devote a few minutes every day to straightening up so the cleaning crew can truly do their jobs.

Don’t Keep a Closet

It isn’t a bad idea to keep a spare suit (or at least a jacket and shirt) at the office in case of emergencies, but that isn’t a license for you to move your wardrobe into your workplace. Though it may be tempting to roll out of bed late and spend time at work changing into your suit, wearing inappropriate clothing for any amount of time is wrong in the workplace. Your office is a place for business, not a changing room.

Don’t Inflate Your Ego

When you are separated from other employees in your office, it is easy to start seeing yourself not merely as different but as better. After all, you were the one who earned the promotion; you are the one with the new private office. Doesn’t that mean the people outside your office are all underlings, subject to your every whim?

No, it doesn’t. Even though you may have a superior title, your co-workers still deserve your respect. You should think before you speak, apologize for any wrongs, and generally avoid acting like Michael Scott at all costs.

Don’t Withdraw Completely

Additionally, you shouldn’t allow your walls to create distance between you and the rest of the office. You are part of the team, which means you must actively contribute and communicate with other people. Though it is tempting to close the blinds, turn off the lights, and keep to yourself for the rest of your career, you should strive to leave your office and engage your fellow workers.

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